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How AI can Disrupt the Home Rental Industry?

Smruti Parida, Co-founder and CTO, NestAway Technologies

Nestaway is India's fastest growing ‘managed home rental’company attempting to provide better rental solutions via design and technology. The company aims deliver a hassle-free on-boarding, servicing and exit experience to both home owners & tenants.

The irreversible trend of migration to urban cities has increased over the years putting further pressure on various cities across the country. At one level, there is an increased urgency on these urban bodies to provide the necessary amenities, but it also opens new opportunities with population streaming into these cities. The biggest opportunity is the real estate market as the demand for housing remains on the upward mode. Home rental is a key segment of this market which remains a valuable revenue generator for any economy.

However, the home rental market in India is very complex with archaic regulations, random pricing, and demand supply constraints in short an unorganized segment. This scenario presents itself for a technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) to play a very disruptive role.

AI can be described as a multifaceted computer science which has the elements of history, psychology, sociology, mathematics, biology all combined into one to mimic humans through the machines. Though, still in its infancy in terms of the applications, AI has the potential to disrupt every industry even home rental included.

Given the unorganized nature of the home rental market in India, AI presents the opportunity of bringing in a semblance of order.

The biggest advantage of using AI in the home rental market could understand the profile of the tenants. As they say data is the new oil, there is a trail of information that people leave on the Internet be it using social media or accessing the smartphones. If one can harness this data by deploying AI, there is ready made profile information of any potential tenant.

Now, it becomes very cumbersome to run through the classified listings to scout for any suitable rental property, but the application of AI can change the entire scenario upside down with the individual literally having all the information right in front of their PC based on their requirement. Today, it is almost a given that chat bots are a standard feature when anybody surfs into a website. This is the beginning of AI as the standard queries of any potential tenant is answered through these chat bots.

Some of the early applications of AI in the home rental market are the voice assistants and Internet of things(IoT). Voice assistant technologies such as Amazon's Echo or Apple's Siri can be applied to improve the service quality in the home rental market.

AI Can Also Be An Effective Medium In Communicating The Tenancy Requirement, Which Remains A Major Irritant In The Home Rental Market

As the home rental market becomes much more organized there is every possibility that voice assistant devices which are invariably connected to the internet helps in improving the service quality. Imagine a scenario where the tenant has an urgent service requirement and that every individual will have to do is to pass on the message onto to the voice assistant to do the needful.

In the same vein, IoT also has the potential to be game changer. As more and more devices get connected to the internet this allows the home rental market to proactively deal with various issues. The IoT sensors could possibly be used on the plumbing pipes which can provide instant alert in case of any leakages.

As IoT is still in its infancy, there are multiple instances which can be used to make the homes smart. This provides the security of a home and increases the efficiency of all the utilities. One always hears anecdotal stories about how home owners refuse to put up their property on rent for the fear of housing unsavory tenants. AI can also be an effective medium in communicating the tenancy requirement, which remains a major irritant in the home rental market. AI has already caused certain disruptions in the home rental market especially on the agents’ side as certain enterprising startups were able to cut out the brokers through innovative practices.

This has resulted in angst among the broker community, but they must come around to the fact that role of technology is inevitable. In fact, it would do them a lot good, the faster they embrace the applications of technology such as AI. As homes become smart with the application of technology reaching to every nook and corner of the house, it is without a doubt that AI will be in the forefront of delivering a higher standard of services in the home rental market.

Beyond the home rental market, AI can be applied effectively if a landlord intends to dispose the residential property. For example, a home buyer, in search of home can take a virtual tour of the property he/she is scouting right in front of the computer. This may look very basic, but it serves a stepping stone for new innovative concepts.

Besides, property developers are deploying AI in a big to understand house buyers. Chat bots provide invaluable treasure of data for any property developer to understand the market trends and suit their requirements accordingly. This can only grow manifold as AI becomes even more sophisticated and the various possibilities are left to one's imagination.

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