Conveyancers warned of smart home installation risks

Caveat emptor: get the smart home installation details before completing on a new home

A cautionary tale for conveyancers: where smart home systems are installed, you should make sure you obtain all the installation records and any software files and records before completion.

Speaking on how conveyancers can manage the risk that comes with smart home systems within properties, the KNX UK Association said:

“You would demand details for double glazing or any other building guarantees, so why not the increasingly-sophisticated smart technology that buyers will be paying a significant premium for? The risk is that by not having ready access to details of the original installation, new owners may have problems if they want to change something or if a component should fail. In the very worst-case scenario, systems may need to be ripped out and installed from scratch, especially if original components are no longer manufactured or supported.

Another factor to consider is how secure the system is. Often, connecting the home to the internet will allow you remote access to control your new home. Without the original files and ability to update users/passwords, you can’t be sure who else has access to be able to control or even worse re-program the home.

At the very least, conveyancers would be well-advised to ascertain who designed and installed the system, although you cannot of course guarantee that they will still be in business. Component manufacturers will only be responsible for the performance of their individual products under guarantee: it is the integrator that will understand how these products have been set up to interwork.”

KNX UK Association co-chair Iain Gordon added:

“There’s no doubt that integrated, holistic home and building control delivers many benefits, from energy efficiency to the well-being and general enjoyment of occupants.

The KNX UK Code of Conduct can be a good point of reference for conveyancers in knowing what to ask for. Without that level of openness and information about an installation, buyers may well want to reconsider their purchase or the real added value of their smart control system.”

Want to have your say? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more stories

Join nearly 5,000 other practitioners – sign up to our free newsletter

You’ll receive the latest updates, analysis, and best practice straight to your inbox.