It’s a question we hear a lot in the rental sector: should letting agents provide broadband and Wi-Fi for their properties? We’ve seen threads on the subject appearing on landlord forums, spoken to letting agents who aren’t sure it’s the most economical decision for the properties they manage, and there still seems to be a great deal of uncertainty around the answer to the question: is inclusive internet worth it?
At Landlord Broadband, we come firmly down on the side of ‘yes’. There’s a wealth of evidence, both anecdotal and proven in surveys, to demonstrate just how cost-effective a managed broadband service can be. Here are just five reasons why opting for a fully managed internet service is an excellent commercial decision for letting agents and landlords…
Improved conversion rates
There’s an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that inclusive internet for rented properties is a major draw for tenants: a 2016 report by student accommodation provider accommodationforstudents.com revealed that, for 84% of students, a fast internet connection is the top consideration when choosing accommodation. Other research shows that 96% of young UK professionals are frustrated by a lack of immediate Wi-Fi access when they move into a new property, with 75% reporting that they would be more inclined to rent a property that had pre-installed internet access.
Add to this the fact that it’s a standard feature in any purpose-built student or serviced accommodation and the benefits of providing an inclusive internet service become self-evident. Viewing numbers and chances of conversion will increase as your properties become more desirable to prospective tenants and guests: they simply arrive, enter a password and connect to a secure, private Wi-Fi network.
Time is money
Dealing with tenant complaints is frustrating and time consuming – not to mention the hours lost on the phone to countless high street providers when different properties have different broadband accounts. Add to that the tendency for tenants to take to public forums, such as social media, to complain about poor quality broadband and Wi-Fi connections, and you have yet another communication channel to manage.
Finding a reliable broadband and Wi-Fi supplier can save you time, money and hassle, and this is where a managed broadband service can be a true godsend. Choose a provider that runs a 24/7 tenant helpdesk and they will take care of everything, from picking up the keys to the property to returning them to you as soon as the issue is rectified.
In the rental chain, the landlord will usually be the one paying the internet bill – and if they’ve heard negative stories about including Wi-Fi in the monthly rent, they may be reticent about trying it themselves. As a letting agent, though, you’re in a position to tell them that the buck doesn’t have to stop with them. Inclusive internet for rented properties is a brilliant selling point for renters or guests looking for accommodation, and the cost doesn’t have to rest on the shoulders of the landlord.
If the landlords you work with are worried about setting up broadband and Wi-Fi out of their own pocket, you can put their minds at ease: Wi-Fi is a value added item, and as such it is perfectly legitimate for it to be onward charged. The cost of the service is also a tax-deductible expense and, with some providers, the broadband service is a fixed price utility – unlimited internet access is included within the monthly price and the network can’t be used for calls.
This doesn’t affect tenants and guests, who use mobile phones for calls, but it’s a huge benefit for landlords, giving them peace of mind and allowing them to forecast expenditure accurately, with no nasty surprises when the bills come in. Inclusive broadband may initially sound like an additional expense to manage, but, in reality, it’s incredibly easy for landlords to get the benefits while recouping the costs.
It’s simple to set up, cost-neutral, and makes properties more desirable to prospective tenants and guests. Still not convinced that managed broadband is a cost-effective addition to your portfolio? Perhaps when you’ve heard about the network sharing capabilities some providers offer, you’ll think otherwise.
Some commercial-grade Wi-Fi services allow the sharing of networks across several recognised properties – so if you manage multiple residences within a given area they can be grouped together on a secure, shared connection, meaning you’ll only have one broadband setup to manage and one bill to pay for all those properties.
Opportunities to earn
Hi-spec broadband and Wi-Fi doesn’t just make the properties you manage more attractive to potential tenants; it can give you the opportunity to earn, too. Look out for letting agent referral schemes offering commission for referring properties.
Keen to find out more about managed broadband, Wi-Fi services and internet in shared housing? Visit our Letting Agents page for more information, or give us a call on 0333 577 0600.