As technology improves and smart gadgets are becoming an integral part of our lives, smart locks are getting increasingly popular. If you’ve lost or misplaced your keys before, or ever had to change your locks, the appeal of a keyless entry system is clear. However, if you can’t decide whether switching to a smart lock on your rental property is a smart move, here are some benefits and drawbacks to help you make an informed decision.
What Is a Smart Lock?
The entire idea of a smart lock (just like every smart home device) is to make your life easier. A smart lock is a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled smart home device that lets you lock or unlock your door without a physical key. Depending on the make and model and its different features, a smart lock can be opened by waving your smartphone in front of it, using your fingerprint, tapping a control in an app, or even with your voice. They come in all shapes and sizes and their availability is quickly growing, so if you make up your mind, you’ll likely find one that’s right for you no matter your doorstep dilemma.
There are basically two types of smart locks:
- Those that can retrofit your existing deadbolt for an extra digital touch. You only need a screwdriver to put them in place and connect them to your wireless communication protocol such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and you’re good to go.
- And those that completely replace your traditional deadbolt locks. These are also easy to install, and you’ll most likely need an app to operate them.
What Are The Benefits of a Smart Lock?
No more physical keys
This means no more fishing around for keys in front of the door, copying keys and distributing them to everyone who needs one, or hiding them underneath the doormat or a potted plant. With most smart lock systems, you can forget about your keys entirely, which makes life easier. Some tenants appreciate this convenience.
Less risk of lockout
If your tenant doesn’t have a key, they can’t lose it and lock themselves out of the property. Instead, once you provide them with access to your smart lock, they can easily enter or leave the property as they please. In emergencies, most systems have some form of a backup system—with certain models, you may need to keep a physical key for such incidents.
Most smart home locks have apps that allow you and your tenant to control the lock remotely from a mobile device. Digital keys can also be given out to friends, family, or maintenance vendors. This means that if you or your tenant need to let somebody in, you don’t necessarily have to meet them to give them a key or to let them in. You can even restrict what times someone is allowed to enter the home with a digital key (for instance, only between 2pm and 4pm on Friday) and digital keys can also be deactivated to prevent further entry.
No more changing locks
A unit turnover can be a pretty costly process as it is, let alone if you have to change the locks every time a tenant vacates your property. Keyless entry systems don’t have to be swapped, instead, you can just quickly reset the code or revoke access and save time and money.
By providing your tenant with a keyless entry system, you better protect them, their personal belongings, and your property. However, you also protect yourself. Wi-Fi connectivity lets you view entry and exit logs, so you can check who is entering and leaving your property, and when, anytime you’d like. If a rental home is equipped with an automated security system, your tenant and you can receive notifications when a door opens or closes. In case a resident ever claims you didn’t tend to a certain issue, you’ll have the record of when vendors visited your building or specific unit. You can also receive alerts if someone tries to break in or tampers with the smart lock.
What Are Some Common Concerns?
While changing your locks is relatively inexpensive, upgrading to a keyless entry system can set you back a few hundred dollars. Pricing also becomes higher depending on how sophisticated the system is.
Although a smart lock can be a great choice, no safety mechanism is perfect. If for instance your phone gets stolen, somebody might be able to compromise the smart lock by changing your settings. However, most manufacturers are adding sophisticated verification controls by requiring fingerprints, complicated passcodes, or facial recognition to improve security. Setting up two-factor authentication on your smartphone and not having the app installed on only one device can be useful.
What happens if there’s no internet?
Several smart lock models also come with a traditional key port, so you can use it as a standard lock if needed, or have some sort of a backup system. Furthermore, Bluetooth connectivity will still work when you’re or your tenant’s phone is within range. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one concerned by this, so your smart lock will always come with a backup solution.
Do smart locks work with every door?
Before buying a smart lock, try locking and unlocking your door manually. It should be easy and smooth. If you need to push or pull on your door to properly lock it, a smart lock may not work for your door. This is something that’s easy to fix, but make sure your door is ready for a smart lock before buying one.
What happens if your device runs out of battery, or you forget your smartphone?
Batteries sometimes run out—although your smart lock will most likely alert you if the batteries are running out well in advance. If this happens and your tenant doesn’t have access to the backup key, they might end up getting locked out. If they forget their smartphone, they might face some hassle to gain access to your property. If you prepare for these situations, there should be no problems.
Managing a rental property on your own can be overwhelming. If you think you need help, Hales is here to step in. We understand how important your investment is to you, so we take care of your property as if it was our own.
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