The Pros and Cons of Using a Landlord Thermostat

Table of Contents

Upgraded technology, like a landlord thermostat, can help a landlord efficiently manage their rental properties. A landlord thermostat may assist in creating a more environmentally friendly unit that can keep up with rising utility costs and the demand for energy efficiency from states and renters. A modern device like this can help a landlord save on utility bills by maintaining control over a unit’s climate. It also gives valuable insight into actual cost savings and other important metrics. 

This guide will be covering what a landlord thermostat is, its features, and three reasons to consider using one. We’ll also give a few reasons as to why it might not be the right choice.

What Is a Landlord Thermostat?

A landlord thermostat is one that the landlord controls and is usually tamper-proof. This means that tenants are unable to make changes to the temperature settings that the landlord has established.

Many landlords decide to install these thermostats so that tenants don’t tamper with the temperature control system. When tenants have free rein over these devices, they might regulate the temperature erratically, which increases bills. When the landlord is the one covering utilities for their units, these costs add up quickly.

One example of a costly action is when a tenant leaves for the weekend and doesn’t make any adjustments to the thermostat. Because of this, the system continues to heat or cool the unit at full force, driving up that month’s bill.     

Want to find out what your home is worth?
Get an instant market report sent straight to your inbox in seconds.

What Makes It a Smart Thermostat?

Many modern thermostats are smart thermostats – Wi-Fi-connected devices that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT). Smart devices (such as a smart thermostat) communicate with other connected devices (like a cellphone) and can be controlled remotely, allowing you to make changes and maintain control from your connected device.

For example, you can control the unit’s temperature from your cellphone when the weather changes, or you simply want to save money during certain times of the day. Smart thermostats are compatible with most HVAC systems and can be installed easily and quickly.

Other key benefits of a smart thermostat include:

Automatic Temperature Adjustments

Smart thermostats can detect room changes and adjust the temperature based on your settings. For example, the device can turn down a heating system if it detects that no one is home. You can also create thresholds so that the temperature never goes above or below the desired temperature.

Energy Savings

One of the most common reasons for installing a smart thermostat is to save on energy costs in your unit(s). You won’t waste as much energy heating and cooling when it’s automatically managed. 

Usage Tracking

Smart thermostats can track energy usage each month. This allows you to alter your settings based on the data you’re collecting. 


You can easily customize smart thermostats for each unit depending on what you want, as well as make updates. 

Attract Renters

Today’s renters look for the latest features and amenities in units, so including a smart thermostat may help you attract and retain renters. It’s estimated that 71% of millennials and 55% of Baby Boomers find homes with smart home technology more desirable.

Raise Rent

When your units are in higher demand because of technology integrations, you can likely increase rent.  An apartment that offers the latest innovations will be more desirable than one with a spotty system that has not been upgraded in decades, for example.

These are just a few of the advantages of smart thermostats. A landlord-controlled smart thermostat might make life easier and more affordable for you. 

Apartment that is a comfortable temperature

3 Reasons to Consider Using a Landlord Thermostat

A landlord thermostat offers landlords various benefits. Here are three reasons to consider installing one. 

1. Maintain Control

Many landlords benefit from taking complete control of unit climate settings. Tenants will adjust the thermostat to extremes if they’re too hot or cold, which can quickly run down the system and mark up utility bills. A landlord thermostat helps you avoid this situation altogether.

2. Save Money on Utilities

If utilities are included in a tenant’s monthly rent and you cover the costs, you’ll save money by keeping control of the thermostat. By choosing energy-efficient settings, you’ll reap economic benefits.

3. Peace of Mind

A great thing about smart thermostats is that you can customize your settings. You do not have to worry about what temperature your renter will set when the weather changes and can depend on the device to take care of it for you.

There are definite benefits of installing a smart landlord thermostat. However, there are a few disadvantages to be aware of. 

Common Pitfalls of Landlord Thermostats

Sometimes taking control of the thermostat can create disputes with your tenant. You may decide that purchasing a new smart device isn’t worth the cost. Here are a few common pitfalls of landlord thermostats:

  • Conflicts may arise between you and your tenants if they’re unhappy with the temperature settings.
  • Smart thermostats are usually more expensive than traditional thermostats.
  • You may not see any cost savings if renters pay their utility bills (though smart thermostats may still contribute to an overall energy-efficient building).
  • You may want to invest in more pressing equipment for the unit as a priority.

Once you understand the pros and cons of landlord thermostats, you can make an educated decision about installing them in your rentals. 

Working with Nomadic Real Estate

If you have questions about your rights as a landlord or best practices for managing your properties, the team at Nomadic Real Estate can help. We provide property management assistance in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia region for residential property owners and investors. We also help landlords fill rentals with qualified tenants and help manage rentals units.

Contact Nomadic Real Estate for more information about your Greater D.C. property management needs. 

Share via Email
Share on Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Share on Twitter
Get help from DC's top real estate team.
Founded in 2005, Nomadic is the go-to full service real estate firm in the DMV. We've helped thousands of landlords, investors, and residents and we would love to connect with you next.
Scroll to Top

Thinking of selling? Get an instant property value report:

Enhanced Reporting

Your portal includes a selection of extremely useful reports. Reports are available in the “Reports” section, and are distinct from the financial statements. Unlike financial statements which are static records, Reports are dynamic real-time records that will update with current data every time you view them. 

Scroll down to learn more about Reports:

Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

Owner Portal Reports
  • Keep in mind, these reports are dynamic records. They will refresh to display current information every time you view them. 

Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

Enhanced Rent Roll Report
  • The Enhanced Rent Roll Report will show the rent amount, last payment date, move-in date, lease expiration date, and security deposit amount for each of your tenants. 
  • It will also show a portfolio summary with occupancy percentage, vacancy loss, and more!

Unit Comparison Report:

Unit Comparison Report
  • If you own multiple units (or buildings) with Nomadic, you’ll get access to the Unit Comparison Report. 
  • This report enables you to quickly compare financial performance between your units at a glance without toggling between individual reports. 

Income Statement Month-Over-Month:

Income Statement by Month Report
  • The Income Statement Detail – Monthly Report serves as a month-over-month record of portfolio performance. You’ll see itemized income and expense categories and can track monthly. This report will update with fresh data every time you view it. 

Financial Statements

Financial statements will be published to your portal on a monthly basis. The statements are found in your Documents library, and provide a historical record of all financial performance. The statements serve as a snapshot of financial performance over a given period, and are static documents (unlike Reports, the statements do not update/change in real-time). 

Scroll down for more info about the Financial Statements in your Documents library:

The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

Owner Portal Documents
  • The statements in the Documents are are static documents. They are posted to the portal once a month to serve as a historical record of financial performance. 

Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

Owner Portal Property Statement

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Month over Month Statement

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

Commincation Dashboard Screenshot
  • The communications module will contain a record of all messages that you create through the portal. 

Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Owner Portal New Message Screenshot

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

Portal Conversation Response Screenshot
  • You’ll get an email notification whenever you get a response, and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

You can reply in-line using the comment box:

Owner Portal Comment

Each conversation will be logged in its entirety:

Portal Conversation Snapshot

Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

Owner Ledger Dates
  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

Ledger Property Column
  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
  • If you only have one property with us, you’ll just see the ledger for that property. 

The Description column displays the transaction type:

Owner Ledger Description Column
  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

Owner Ledger Amount Column
  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

Owner Ledger Account Balance Column
  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

PW Portal Filters

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

PW Owner Dashboard View

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Owner Portal Ledger View

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

Owner Portal Document Library

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

Portal Reports View

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Owner Portal Bills View

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

Portal Bill Details

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

Owner Portal Communication Tools

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

Net Distribution

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.