6 Reasons Landlords Should Thank Their Tenants This Holiday Season

by | BiggerPockets.com

Bring up the subject of tenants, and many landlords will let the complaints fly.

Even I complain about my tenants every once in a while, sometimes with very good cause. But looking back over the years, I realize that most of my tenants have actually done a lot for me. And being that this is the time of year we are supposed to reflect on those things that make us thankful, I thought I would take a few minutes to share with you what my tenants have done that make me thankful.

Of course, the main thing my tenants have done is pay me rent, which pays my bills, but that is rather obvious. So here are some more items I am thankful for that are perhaps less obvious.

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6 Reasons I’m Thankful for My Tenants

1. They Make Things Easy

The majority of my tenants have paid their rents on time, every time, without complaint. They wave when they see me, are friendly and cheerful and are all around easy to work with.

These tenants are the ones I am most thankful for. Landlords should talk about these types of tenants and how to get them more often. So to those tenants who are so easy to rent to, a big thank you!

2. They’ve Given Me an Exit

I used to have a 9 to 5 job. I got into real estate to get out of that. My tenants are the ones who allowed me to quit the 9 to 5 job and move into real estate full time. Without them, my real estate investing career would be significantly reduced. Without them, many parts of my current life would not have been possible. So again, a big thank you.

Related: 3 Real Estate Setbacks I’m Grateful for This Thanksgiving

3. They Provide Me Time & Freedom

By allowing me to get out of the 9 to 5 rat race and focus on my real estate adventures, my tenants have allowed me to have some flexibility in my life. I have a bit more time to enjoy life and do some of the things that I want to do, like teach, travel and just relax more. Again, a big thank you.

4. They’ve Allowed for Professional Development

By getting back some of my time, I was able to focus on other things — things like writing these blog posts and developing other business ventures. Without my tenants, I do not think I would have had as much opportunity or flexibility to develop myself professionally. I do not think I would have ever achieved what I have achieved if I did not have good, quality tenants supporting my business. Again, thank you.

5. They’ve Given Me Insight

My tenants have allowed me to see many sides of life. When you have tenants, you get many chances to peer into someone’s most personal lives. You get to see their credit reports, you get to see how they live, you get to see what they have and do not have.

This insight allows you to pause and be thankful for what you have and perhaps even for what you may not have. Yes, at times I will complain about the sob stories you can get when the rent is late, but the fact is, sometimes those sob stories are real. As the landlord, you see and hear so much that you develop a very good feel for the human condition. Your BS detector becomes fine tuned.

Related: Why I Am Thankful For Real Estate Investing

This insight has not only helped in my business, but in all aspects of life. So again, I offer my thanks.

6. They’ve Enhanced My Personal Growth

Having tenants has, I think, made me a better person all around. There really is no better education than having tenants and your own business. You will find yourself in many unique situations that you would have never have been in otherwise. Those unique situations will take you out of your comfort zone, force you to make decisions and do things you would not otherwise have done. You come out a better person because of this. I have a much better understanding of how the world really works, and I think I am a better person, both professionally and personally, for it.

Yes, we landlords all like to complain about our tenants, and, as I said, sometimes it is for really good reasons. But when I look back over the years, I realize that the good ones have far outweighed the bad. These good ones deserve a heartfelt thank you for all of the reasons I have mentioned. So thanks again; I do appreciate it.

Are you thankful for your tenants? Why? How have your tenants or your real estate investing activities helped you?

Leave your comments below!

About Author

Kevin Perk

Kevin Perk is co-founder of Kevron Properties, LLC with his wife Terron and has been involved in real estate investing for 10 years. Kevin invests in and manages rental properties in Memphis, TN and is a past president and vice-president of the local REIA group, the Memphis Investors Group.


  1. Everyone has their way of doing business. Not only have I never met any of my tenants, I have never seen the house. My PMs manage my investments and I make sure that repair requests are handled expeditiously. For me, rule number one, Tenants are NOT our friends, they are our customers, we have a written contractual relationship. But other investors handle it differently, and that is fine.

    • Kevin Perk


      I would encourage you to think a bit differently about your business. If tenants are your customers, are they always right? I would say no.

      I prefer to think of tenants more like employees. Yes, we have a contractual relationship, but they have to keep up their end of the bargain in order for me to keep up mine. If they pay their rent and keep the place maintained I will not fire (evict) them.

      To get them to do that, I find being friendly, but firm, goes a long way.

      Yes, I know my properties and my tenants. I find that helps me be successful. But like you say, “other investors handle it differently, and that is fine.” Actually, that is the beautiful thing about real estate, there is no one way to do it.

      Thanks for reading and for your comments, I do appreciate them,


      You are right, they are not my friends,

      • Kevin Perk


        Sorry everyone, this part “You are right, they are not my friends,” at the end of my comment above was accidentally left in after editing my comment.

        I was trying to say that Mike was right in that tenants are not my friends but that I am friendly towards them and that being so helps my business. I think the way I worded it in my reply to Mike was a better in getting the idea across.

        Sometimes though I am a bit to quick with the reply button. 🙂

  2. margaret smith on

    Hey Kevin-
    This is a lovely thought, especially as we all know (or should remember) that at the end of the day, it is not money that counts– it is what you GIVE! Making cash is all well and good, and an important part of living in this particular niche of time, in our capitalist society. Being self-sufficient is the first gift,perhpas. But- participating in social and spiritual life, paying it forward, receiving with a grateful heart, and being the center of something positive to many around you– is priceless.

    As a pretty new landlord (1+ year)…Wondering if you- or any of your readers this season of thanks giving- has found a way to actually express thanks to the tenants we like and want to keep. What are the pros/cons of sending, say, a cooked turkey or a coupon for the coffee place, or an offer of a useful upgrade to the premises– or even just a note of thanks?

    • Kevin Perk


      We do send out holiday cards but you have to keep them a bit bland so as not to offend anyone. We will also give out gift cards to Starbucks if a tenant has been especially helpful (perhaps found a new tenant) or been especially understanding (say during a major repair).

      I think you are on the right track though. A little sincere kindness can go a long way.

      Thanks for reading and for the comment,


    • Eric Love

      Hi Margaret,
      Your post struck a chord with me . . . as well as Kevin’s reply. My own “radar” from 51 years of managing my own rentals tells me that you, Margaret should have many years as a successful, well-thought-of-Landlord. You both seem, as I am, particularly grateful for all those compliant, friendly Tenants we have. It’s been my experience that good Tenants seek good Landlords just as we Landlords seek good Tenants. A thorough vetting process tells the tale . . . most of the time. No Landlord bats 1,000, and, I agree with Kevin . . . there is often no “only-one-way” to do it in Landlording [applicable law excepted]. Now back to the subject of thanking that first class Tenant. My customized, plain language lease protects me from being required to repeat gestures like this, but still I’m always cognizant of not setting a periodically expected precedent that may disappoint my Tenants, i.e. depending on the number of Tenants, giving Turkeys may become overly burdensome in several ways. As to physical gifts, I’ve never given them. Inevitably they tend to be shown to other Tenants. They can at times be alienators instead of motivators. I’ve know of that very act causing a divide among one’s Tenant base, or parts of it. Here are some of my methods:
      When I see those good Tenants around the property, I like to shake there hand, look them in the eye and tell them directly how much I appreciate what they do. I know they appreciate that I noticed and their expressions virtually always tell me they know my comment is heartfelt. As gifts, etc. mine have been given through the years as being helpful and protective of all my Tenants, rather than physical gifts. Examples: help carry in groceries; air up a low tire; diplomatically quieten down a Tenant neighbor who may unknowingly be too loud at 2AM; or jump into my clothes as fast as a fireman and be running toward the Tenant’s unit [armed – but remember that’s only for those like myself who are qualified] when a security alarm sounds during the night [false alarms almost always]. The latter act particularly demonstrates this Landlord not only talks-the-talk, he walks-the-walk. Through the years I’ve often thought only we small Landlords (myself small by choice – I do quite a few other things) can deliver that personal touch. But no more. I believe Landlords worldwide with any number of units can train to, or hire the right staff to make those things happen. I can tell you beyond any shadow of a doubt from my own experience, that consistently fulfilling my own lease promises to my Tenants, serving, protecting and helping them as best I can, have all come back to me in triplicate. Serving others is what I believe we are all here for. I haven’t advertised for Tenants in years because my Tenants do all the advertising for me. And finally, when the lease is nearing its end, I mail a form letter [but personalize it a bit for each Tenant] “inviting” rather than blandly “approving” them for lease renewal. I add that it would be my distinct pleasure for them to lease for another lease term. Further if they cannot renew and must depart, I suggest they hang on to their invitation letter for future use, without further permission from me. The suggested use is in any manner they see fit, to show my testament to the fine manner in which they conducted themselves and met all their lease obligations “above and beyond the call” here at [my property]. So that’s how I thank my first class Tenants without risking the alienation of those Tenants who may eventually rise to that status. I enjoyed sharing this information with you Margaret and I hope at least some of it proves helpful to you in the future.
      In service,
      Eric Love, the Paper Landlord

      • margaret smith on

        Eric- I can see that you are well named! Thank you, also Mindy and Kevin, for your very thoughtful comments- As a newbie, I appreciate inspiring information like this that I can use in the real world. I have 3 sets of tenants so far- and love them all. I have decided to send them all a handwritten note on generic but lovely holiday cards, with a coupon to a national coffee shop. If I were a tenant, I would love that. Even were I to feel that I had to send one to a not-so-great tenant, just to keep the score even in all eyes– I think I would, as it can’t help but encourage good behavior and a better relationship going forward. Happy Holidays, all you caring land lords out there!

  3. Mindy Jensen

    Margaret Smith,
    With all the dietary restrictions people have, I would ask first before sending a food gift. Wouldn’t want to send a turkey to a vegan or vegetarian and risk offending them. A gift card to an everyone-uses-it place would be great, like Target. Perhaps the gift of a Costco membership if there is one close. A sincere, handwritten note of thanks is always appreciated.
    Kevin, this is a wonderful way to look at tenants. Yes, it is so easy to think of all the bad things, like late rent and broken items, but all the positive things that come out of being a landlord are often overlooked. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Dan Shaker

    It will always be very easy for us to be thankful for all the good things in life what was really hard for us to do will be to be thankful for people who in some ways helped us get through in life with their little help. Remember we should always be thankful for things done to us by others no matter how great or small they are no matter how insignificant they may look like for one way or the other they certainly gave meaning and impact in our daily lives.

  5. During my career with a fortune 500 company, I was in charge of a relatively large P & L which obviously included a sales force. I can’t count the times a salesperson would come for a final determination on “a customer wants”… lower price, upgraded delivery, longer payment terms, promotional price after expiration, special exceptions, etc. Ultimately I developed a new interpretation of the old cliché “the customer is always right”. It became “the customer isn’t always right, but the customer is always the customer”. The longer I viewed business through that lens, the more sense it made. My interpretation was customers could be unreasonable at times but they were the one’s that put the bread in my pocket. I actually learned how to very subtly manage customers to meet my expectations. Hope I articulated that idea well enough.

    • Kevin Perk


      You did. You almost have to use a bit of “Jedi mind techniques” to guide customers (tenants) towards the desired goal.

      I think your idea that the “customer is always the customer” is a good way to phrase it.

      I appreciate you reading and sharing your insight,


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