Innovative new condo could make being a landlord easier

An innovative new downtown Toronto condominium promises to revolutionize the city’s residential skyscrapers.

The tower at 10 York St. is a “smart condo,” meaning it is equipped with everything from home connectivity that will allow residents to adjust their unit’s temperature and security alarm from a smartphone app or in-suite wall pad. Also through the wall pad, residents can see and speak with guests before granting entry.

A digital door lock, which uses access codes—up to four can be used per unit for different family members or service providers, like dog walkers—is also rendering keys obsolete. License place recognition also automates resident access to the building’s parking garage.

All of this is part of Tridel Connect, the builder’s new smart residential protocol that will become omnipresent in all future builds.

“First and foremost, there’s a network infrastructure that allows us to connect various banks and make them,” said Jim Ritchie, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Tridel. “We created a smart building by using a palate of different services that leverage technology.”

Tridel Connect also has advanced Wi-fi, meaning residents won’t need their own internet provider. They can simply tap into the building’s unlimited Wi-fi, which operates at 500 megabits per second. The Wi-fi is part of the building’s utilities and is factored into maintenance fees.

“These are all value-adds and it certainly gives services that don’t exist in competing condominiums in that immediate area,” said Ritchie.

The question ultimately becomes how much more rent landlords can extract from tenants at 10 York.

Ryan Coyle, a broker and real estate advisor with Connect Asset Management, says that, at the very least, it will be easier to be a landlord.

“This is a brand new market, so how much more rent can you get? People renting or owning at 10 York will get higher rents for a number of reasons, because it’s stunning, but it’s also unique because it has all these smart features. I don’t think the market has evolved in that way yet, however, I’m sure you can get a small premium for it. The amenities alone will get you a premium because it’s upper scale.”

Coyle owns a few rental units and one that lowers his overall costs is the smart thermostat.

“I use the Nest Thermostat, and the reason that it’s great for me is a lot of my units are executive furnished and I have guests coming and going more frequently than a long-term non-furnished unit,” he said. “I’m able to monitor the usage and temperature from my phone from any location. If I know ther’es a vacacy between a few days between tenants and the thermostat was left high or low, I’m able to adjust that myself. I’m also able to monitor to see if there are any issues in terms of the heat being too high for a number of days. I also have a smart smoke alarm and carbon dioxide monitor. If it got triggered I’d be notified directly on my phone.”

There’s too little data on how much rent landlords can command with smart technology units, however, Coyle suspects that it won’t be long until we find out.

“These smart units are going to simplify living, especially in a market like Toronto where you deal with young professionals and the majority of tenants are millennials,” said Coyle. “It’s simplifying their living and I do think there will be some premium—absolutely.”

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