Should You Invest in the Dragons Den Thermostat?

We are going to investigate the thermostat that secured an investment from Dragons Den Touker Suleyman and help you decide whether it’s a worthwhile investment.

The cost of living crisis and rising energy bills are a serious struggle for landlords across the country. Ensuring your rental property is energy efficient will help both you and your tenants save money on bills. 

There can, however, be difficulties in managing your property’s thermostat in rental properties. For example, you might be wasting money heating an empty property whilst your tenants struggle to figure out how to use their often complex thermostats.

What is the Time:O:Stat?

Designed by HMO landlord, Anthony Cherry, the Time:O:Stat was designed to help landlords save money on energy bills. Tenants could still have the heating on whenever they liked but the Time:O:Stat would prevent unnecessary heating when the property was vacant.  

Anthony Cherry came onto Dragons Den with the Time:O:Stat seeking investment to help launch his new models. He managed to secure an investment of £80,000 from business tycoon Touker Suleyman.    

How does the Time:O:Stat Work?

The core feature of the Time:O:Stat is to restrict the heating when the property is unoccupied. It restricts the heating to two-hour cycles, so your tenants still have control of the heating but it is restricted to 2 hours at a time. 

There are also an array of features that landlords can set up before installation to customise the thermostats to each tenant accordingly.

What are the Pros and Cons of the Time:O:Stat?

Since leaving the den with his investment, Anthony Cherry and his product have received multiple complaints deeming his invention as ‘evil’ by tenants. 

However, since the product’s launch, it has built a loyal customer base of over 10,000 HMO and student landlords and won an award at the HMO Awards for best HMO service supplier in 2022.

Let’s explore some of the pros and cons of the products.

Pros for landlords:

  • Reduced energy bills: by limiting heating when the property is vacant, the Time:O:Stat will help landlords save money on rising energy costs.
  • Range of features: the thermostat comes with a range of features from window sensors to a countdown heater timer.
  • Simple to use and install: equipped with simple controls, the thermostat is easy to use and can be set up by an electrician in under 30 minutes.

Cons for landlords:

  • Initial investment: there is an initial upfront cost to purchase and install the thermostats across your properties.
  • Less control: compared to some traditional thermostats, you can’t remotely access the thermostat settings.
  • Not suitable for all properties: this thermostat won’t suit all property rental types as some tenants will prefer to have complete control over the heating of their homes.

Who might the Dragons Den Thermostat suit?

So, having seen both the pros and cons of the Time:O:Stat, it’s time to decide whether it is the right investment for you. Especially in the cost of living crisis we are currently facing, this thermostat could suit HMO or student rentals who typically have more frequent vacant periods and tenants with varying heating needs who would like to save some money on their energy bills.

Some landlords have sung praises of the thermostat, claiming the money they have saved on energy bills since installing the thermostat is significant. Here is a review from Northampton Student Houses.

“Very easy to install and has saved us around 50% on our HMO heating bills. Tenants are happy as they can put the heating on when they need it and I am happy as I know the heating is not running when they are not at home.”

  • Northampton Student Houses

Ultimately, if you are thinking of investing in the Time:O:Stat, communication with your tenants is key. You will want to maintain a good relationship with your tenants. Therefore it is important to reach a temperature both you and your tenant are comfortable with.

What are the drawbacks to the Dragons Den Thermostat?

Although the thermostat might suit some landlords, there are various issues you will need to consider before making this decision. 

Firstly, your tenant might not be happy about the lack of control over the heating. A core feature of the thermostat is limiting heating when the property is vacant. Does your tenant prefer complete control over the heating? If so, you might face some difficulties in making this change. It is important to communicate clearly with your tenant about any changes to their thermostat. This ensures your tenants are happy with these changes before they are made.

Do you have a HMO with tenants that have varying temperature preferences? Implementing this thermostat could lead to disagreements and frustration from your tenants.

Another feature of the thermostat is the boost function which has a limited duration of two hours. Tenants might become irritated by having to constantly put the heating on every two hours, especially in the winter.

While Time:O:Stat might be the right choice for you, there are alternatives on the market including the Nest Smart Thermostat and the Inspire Smart Thermostat which also claim to save landlords money on their energy bills.

Make Sure You Are Covered

It is important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of investing in the Time:O:Stat. From saving money on energy bills to potentially causing discontent for your tenants. It is a decision that needs to be considered. It must suit both your business needs as well as your tenant’s needs.

Here at CIA Landlords, we pride ourselves on identifying the most suitable product to suit your needs and competitive prices to ensure you get the best insurance rates from the UK’s leading insurance providers.

Whether you decide to invest in the Time:O:Stat or not, we provide HMO Landlord Insurance and Student Landlord Insurance that will give you the peace of mind you need.

Tenants from hell

While the vast majority of tenants pay rent on time and look after the property, this isn’t always the case. we take take a closer look at the proverbial ‘tenants from hell’ and just how bad some tenants can be.

Hopefully, though, you’ll never have to deal with a ‘ tenant from hell’ that is truly as awful as these examples.

The graffiti on the wall… and ceilings

Graffiti inside your property, uncleaned, can be a great inconvenience, not to mention how disrespectful it is.

One report in the Daily Mail from March 2022 provides an example of how foul some tenants can be. A tenant of a two bedroom flat in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset graffitied walls and ceilings, including expletives directed towards the landlord, causing £2,000 in damage. A local decorator described it as the ‘worst residential job’ he had ever faced.

Image of a graffitied bedroom and a shed packed with household junk.

Add such issues as stained mattresses, discarded children’s toys in the bedrooms, a smashed front window, bathroom tiles ripped off the wall, holes in the garage roof and piles of rubbish, and it’s fair to say the tenants who left behind such problems can truly be described as ‘tenants from hell’.

The cannabis farm

In early 2023, a landlord was left £15,000 out of pocket after tenants transformed his home into a cannabis farm. Getting your money back in such circumstances can be a long journey. Do you have suspicions that your property has been turned into a cannabis farm? Call the police if you have proof or ask tenants’ permission for a property inspection, providing at least 24 hours’ notice.

Image of a cannabis farm and wads of £20 notes.

Tenants living rent-free

It’s common for landlords to go through the hassle of trying to evict tenants, only for them to stay put without paying rent. Illegal renting is punishable by up to five years in prison, and politely remind your tenants of this in your letters. Be calm yet assertive when dealing with unpaid rent. Patience is also crucial since these issues can drag on.

The cost of living crisis has impacted everyone. So, before taking any action, firstly try to understand your tenant’s situation and why they may be struggling with rent.

Give yourself peace of mind

Are you seeking out the landlord insurance policy that will put your mind at rest? That is where we step in and come in handy. Are you a landlord of multiple properties? We provide robust multiple property landlord insurance that will give you the peace of mind you need.

Jackie, CIA Landlord Insurance

“One of the most frequent questions we get is about multiple homeowners. Yes, we provide tailor-made solutions for multiple properties under one policy.”

At CIA Landlord Insurance, we are friendly experts in assisting you in finding the most suitable cover for your bespoke needs.