By NRLA – National Residential Landlords Association – Spring 2021
Written by Zoe Dare Hall
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for landlords to adopt digital technology in the form of apps and online platforms to manage their properties. Here, the NRLA look at the benefits of doing so.
When Nicola Hammond, an HR Manager from Nottingham, was made redundant last year, she decided to invest her savings and pay-out in buy-to-let properties. She bought a two-bedroom house in Blyth on the Northumberland coast at auction and has since acquired three more similar houses nearby.
“With the help of my brother, who is a trained plumber and electrician, we’ve camped in the properties while working 14-hour days on refurbishments and repairs”, says Nicola. “But I was struggling to manage everything on spreadsheets and calendars. I’m a remote landlord, so the thought of taking my laptop everywhere wasn’t convenient. I really wanted an app that would let me do everything from my phone.”
The question is, where do you start? The digital age has hit the letting industry head-on with an explosion of new platforms designed to help landlords save time and money. The UK’s proptech sector is worth more than £6bn, with around 400 of its 770 or so companies focused on residential property; of them, a third are concerned with property management and 15 per cent deal with rentals, according to data from Unissu, a proptech procurement platform.
The Covid-19 pandemic has given all these digital platforms extra relevance, too, with landlords needing to find virtual alternatives
For Nicola, the answer lay in Alphaletz, a cloud-based, mobile platform that helps landlords take control of every aspect of their business. “Cash flow is very tight at the moment, so if it’s a case of weighing up building insurance versus a snazzy bit of software to make my life easier, the software won’t win,” she says. “Looking at Alphaletz pricing, I thought I could stomach that after the free trial and, having worked for a software supplier for years, I like the fact that the road map seemed to be aligned with customer demand, and that Alphaletz is constantly updating its offering.”
Alphaletz’s CEO, Richard Jackson, adds that for landlords with multiple properties in diverse locations “trying to manage multiple systems such as Spreadsheet, Dropbox, Accounting Systems, calendars and ‘to do’ lists that don’t talk to each other”, the platform removes all that stress. “It enables them to keep track of everything, and have all relevant information at their fingertips, meaning they can get back to tenants within minutes, not hours,” he comments.
“Landlords love the simplicity and functionality of the app. The main thing is the huge time-saving element, such as being able to instantly output income and expense reports. When you get a call from an upset tenant to say that a boiler has broken down, the landlord knows exactly who to call and if there is a warranty or insurance cover,” Richard adds.