Tech & Innovation

Could AI Make You a Better Rental Homeowner?

Written By Melanie Kershaw

Last Updated Jul 9, 2024

An iphone shows a home screen with AI apps ChatGPT and Google Gemini

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Love it or loathe it, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) is starting to infiltrate every industry. Property management is no exception. Owning and managing a rental home can be a big job, so naturally many rental homeowners want to know if AI would be a help or hindrance. 

The answer is that it can be both. There are pros and cons to using any kind of AI in managing a rental home. If technology can make your work more efficient, that’s great! But it shouldn’t come at the cost of good support for your residents. 

Here are some examples of 6 pros and cons of AI at work in the rental management industry. 

Pros of AI in Property Management

One of the major benefits of AI is the ability to process huge quantities of data. This can provide great insights when marketing or managing a rental home. Here are three useful benefits of using AI to process and use data for a rental home. 

1. Machine learning and pricing algorithms

Pricing in the real estate industry fluctuates with supply and demand. Data scores from bedrooms and square footage to local amenities, school districts, and seasonal demand – all influence pricing on a monthly basis.  

Machine learning can be a huge benefit in harnessing this data. AI allows property technology (PropTech) companies to create pricing algorithms that increase rental income without turning potential residents away. 

As a tech-forward alternative to property management, Belong uses expert pricing algorithms to create rent estimates for our homes. We look at thousands of neighborhood data points along with amenities that make your home unique. We also track real-time demand to get the best possible price for your rental home and use human smarts and local-market knowledge to make sure it’s spot on for the current conditions. 

Try it out: Get your own free rent estimate to see what you could be earning with Belong. 

2. Predicting what your rental home needs

Your rental home creates its own data that can tell a story. Things like how old the home is, when appliances were last replaced, how often the lawn needs mowing. AI can process these data points quickly to make predictions on upcoming maintenance needs for your rental home. Smart appliances can also alert homeowners to maintenance issues such as detecting leaks or carbon monoxide in the home. The future of AI could be incredibly useful in a smooth-running rental that predicts necessary maintenance and appliance replacements before it turns into a costly repair.

Related: The Future of Property Management: 5 PropTech Innovations Changing The Game

3. Automated accounting and bookkeeping

Technology helped us move from shoeboxes full of receipts to organized spreadsheets and automated number crunching. AI has the potential to streamline this even further. AI powered automation programs can predict when you need to enter information and can help you track things faster. For example, if you manage your own rental home, an automated tracker in your car can record mileage every time you visit the property. If this is sent to your accounting software, it will make tax time a breeze.

Related: How to Manage Accounting as a First-Time Landlord: 5 Best Ways

Cons of AI in Property Management

Not every use for AI will be helpful. It’s important to remember that most of what is called AI is a human-language model. This means it mimics human language to give you the answer it thinks you want to hear. Even if that means making it up. It’s far from foolproof and could steer you or your residents in the wrong direction. 

Your residents are human and your rental is their home. This is no ordinary business transaction and replacing communication with robotic responses isn’t likely to do anything to improve the tenant-landlord relationship

Here are three instances where AI could be less than helpful for your rental home. 

1. Chatbots and tenant communication

Communicating with your residents is basic customer service. While chatbots are sounding less robotic thanks to AI, at the end of the day, they are still robots. 

Outsourcing your tenant communications to a chatbot is risky. It will give the answer it thinks they need with no care for your home or residents. Some property management companies may promote this as “instant communication”, but if anything it is delaying real support. Looking after your residents is a service that should be included in the management fees paid

At Belong we take pride in being the perfect blend of technology and people-power. This includes access to human customer support, 24/7. Our easy-to-use but advanced app is not a robot spitting out generic answers, connecting you to teams of real people dedicated to caring for your home.

2. Writing rental listings

When listing your home, you could use an AI language model like ChatGPT or Google’s Gemini to write the listing for you in minutes. That’s fast, but you should also proceed with caution. Don’t take AI at its word. AI text can be unnecessarily wordy and may include generic things that aren’t relevant to your local area or home. You will also need to check for potentially discriminatory language that could land you in hot water under the Fair Housing Act. It might be a good starting point, but be sure to proofread and edit carefully before uploading to listing sites. 

As a homeowner there’s a lot of legislation to navigate – and landlord-tenant laws change often. A google search will produce thousands of results, so it could be tempting to ask your questions to an AI chatbot. This is not a good idea. The last update for ChatGPT was in January 2022, and many new rules have been introduced since then like caps on security deposits in California or the eviction process in Seattle. Bing search has been found to make up answers and scrape responses from top-ranking websites, without accounting for the date they were published or whether the author has verified any of this information. 

Even when accurate, AI gives generalized advice and may not be aware of local ordinances in place for your local county. Better leave this one to the experts and consult an attorney, property lawyer or real estate professional. 

Related: 11 Legal Mistakes To Avoid As a Rental Homeowner

Belong, the proptech with a human heart

If you’re looking for the tech-forward alternative to old-school property management, you’ve found it. Belong is a proptech company on a mission to fix long-term renting by focusing on modern innovation and services that support everyone. 

We’ll partner with you to get your home the best price, guarantee your rent, and care for it the way you would. Never worry about bad residents, late rent, cost blowouts, or 2am phone calls ever again. 

See why thousands of US homeowners are ditching outdated Property Management in San Francisco, Austin, San Diego, Los Angeles, Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando and more.

Disclaimer: We don’t enjoy using the word ‘landlord’. We prefer to refer to members in our network as homeowners and residents, not landlords and tenants, since we’re on a mission to upend and redefine the traditional landlord-tenant relationship. That said, sometimes the words tenant and landlord need to be used to provide clarity on legislation — so in this article we use both. This article provides a guide for homeowners of residential property for rent in the US, but should not replace financial or legal advice. Please consider your own personal circumstances and consult a legal or real estate professional before making any decisions on your rental home.

About the author

Melanie Kershaw

Mel Kershaw is a Content Lead at Belong. With an extensive background working with technology companies including Eventbrite and Yelp, she’s always looking for ways to create educational and informative articles that simplifies tech and solves problems for her audience.