Greetings Humans of Landlord Broadband, Thank you for subscribing to our quarterly newsletter which aims to keep you updated on what we have been getting up to, and what has been moving and shaking in our industry. We hope you find this edition informative and a useful check-in. We would like to take this opportunity to launch our new Internet of things (IoT) brand – Smart Property Management. This will be a range of sensors and controls that operate using the internet allow you to manage your portfolio remotely and will be something that we can include in our Professional Wi-Fi Installation service with the aim of saving your time and money. In summary, we see the adoption of property technology as an important way of navigating difficult economic and regulatory times and our broadband and Wi-Fi service provides an excellent platform for this.
What’s going on in our Industry?
During the last quarter, we have watched the property market be constantly affected by the uncertainty of Brexit.
Legal: Brexit is at the forefront of many minds with increasing stress over the economy. There are just a few days left until the original extended Brexit date. Data provided by the Land Registry has shown that since the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016 the value of flats, in particular, has fallen rapidly. After levelling out, the value of flats is now actually decreasing with each passing month, however other types of residential property are still seeing an increase in value each month. This too comes with its downside as the rate is drastically lower since the vote to leave the EU.
Technology: The collapse of the travel giant Thomas Cook only emphasises the importance of effective channel shift across all business sectors. Many ‘old fashioned’ businesses are having to consider delving into the online world in order to keep themselves afloat. In terms of the Internet of Things (IoT) it has been announced this month that it isn’t growing as rapidly as it was first predicted to; early forecasts from technology companies such as Ericsson predicted that by early 2020 we would see an estimated 35 billion devices connected, whereas in reality the number of devices connected stands at a dismal 2 billion. However, we do expect things to pick up significantly in this area.
Financial: Ten days before the UK’s first set Brexit date of Friday 29 March 2019, the monetary policy committee (MPC) voted for interest rates to remain at 0.75%, citing low unemployment and inflation near the targeted figure of 1.9%. At its latest meeting on 19 September, the MPC voted unanimously to maintain the interest rate at 0.75%. Following this, estate agents have commented that property sales are expected to continue falling, with prices increasing by only 0.3% between July and August this year, and 1.8% on August 2018.
What are we working on?
Letting Agents: This year has been turbulent for the letting agent sector. They have had to deal with the commencement of the Tenants Fees Ban that caused outrage and confusion within the community. There has been a major government crackdown on ‘rogue’ letting agents. The government has recently released resources including an interactive learning module to enforce their crackdown on these ‘rogue’ letting agents. However, aside from the insertion of regulation, there has been a notable increase in new construction projects within the buy-to-let market. giving us promise for the future in this unpredictable sector.
Landlords: The NLA (National Landlords Association) and the RLA (Residential Landlords Association) have proposed their intention to merge this year and create one organisation for landlords and no longer compete. It will now be known as the NRLA (National Residential Landlords Association) and will have 80,000 landlords in membership. Together, its members will manage or own 500,000 properties. The increased combined resources will hopefully improve support and standards for landlords as well as their tenants. Therefore, overall, the landlord sector seems to be very promising, with good things to come hopefully we will be ‘stronger together’.
Serviced accommodation: Since our previous newsletter the serviced accommodation sector has seen the release of some noteworthy research. A recently published report revealed that Europe’s serviced apartment growth exceeded that of traditional hotels – correspondingly, it was predicted that over the next 3 years, an additional 23,600 apartments are expected to open across Europe. Other research in the sector revealed that the best UK city to start an Airbnb (short-term rental) business is Edinburgh – In comparison to other popular UK hotspots, including Manchester, London and Liverpool, owners can make more money when operating within the city of Edinburgh.
On another note, an increase in technology has become evident within the serviced accommodation sector. For example, we have witnessed Airbnb partner with security experts Yale to make the most of the latest smart home security; such technology can make hosting guests easier and more secure for Airbnb owners.
Housing Associations: Since our previous newsletter housing associations have celebrated specialist occasions and milestones within the sector; July 2019 marked the 100th anniversary of The Addison Act which paved the way for council house building on a large scale. Furthermore, this August marked ‘National Starts at Home Day’; housing associations across the country celebrated supported housing and the positive impact it has on thousands of lives.
Similarly, to the serviced accommodation sector, the social housing sector has demonstrated increasing engagement with technology this quarter. For instance, a Scottish social housing development introduced the use of Tesla batteries to help reduce electricity bills – The association’s homes are the first to be fitted with these batteries which reportedly achieve energy efficiency thus cost savings for tenants. In addition, we have seen a housing association install cutting-edge Internet of Things (IoT) technology and another trial a mobile application for tenants.
New developments: As the lifespan of Brexit draws to a close, the activities involving the construction industry have once again risen. The activity in the construction industry vastly increased during April as companies saw an increase in demand for work due to the uncertainty of whether Brexit-related problems would disrupt the supply of materials. Other news within the sector concerns that of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). The CITB announced mid-March that it was set to significantly boost the funding for employers taking on apprentices, effective from 1st April 2019, the CITB has now increased the funding by 30% (based on current rates as of 31st March 2019), including £2,500 per year for attendance grants and £2,500 for companies that have successfully supported an apprentice in completing their training. The boost in funding can be said to be a massive step in the right direction for future apprentices.
Propositions: Last quarter saw the birth of our Smart Property Management service. We are currently exploring a developing product range of smart devices that are new to the market. Therefore, our current focus is on portfolio managed smart heating controls. However, watch this space for new products as we test and add them to our range. Smart homes are only getting smarter due to IoT (Internet of Things) devices and machine learning becoming more advanced. We expect the future to see WiFi technology transforming from smart homes into high-speed smart cities. Our portfolio smart heating solution will be available from 1st November so if you include heating bills in the rental package and want more predictable costs and savings to your bottom line then please get in touch.
Meet the team? – Hayley Badger
Meet marketing team member Hayley, our Web conversion aficionado and Twitter expert. Here’s what she gets up to when she’s not testing and measuring new software. “I’m a final year Business and Management student at the University of York and have been working at Landlord Broadband alongside my degree. Other than analysing customers interactions with our website to improve its access for visitors I also look after the Landlord Broadband twitter page.
During my final year at university, I have chosen to study modules surrounding a digital presence in order to have relevant qualifications to work in digital marketing after I graduate. As well as studying I also compete on behalf of the University’s trampolining squad. Studying, working and training take up the majority of my free time, but when it doesn’t, I love to bake, hike and visit historical landmarks.”
That’s it from us, we hope you enjoyed our newsletter,
(The champions of Wi-Fi friendly accommodation)
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Fun Fact: Wi-Fi hasn’t always been called Wi-Fi, Previous names for Wi-Fi were WaveLAN, FlankSpeed, DragonFly, WECA and IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence, before the more consumer-friendly name of Wi-Fi was adopted. Imagine asking your neighbour for their Dragonfly password… Thank goodness wifi was popularised instead!