What is something nice I can do for apt residents?

43 Replies

Have any ideas of what I can provide residents of a large class C apt community? 

I'd like to give them something nice and unexpected. Some parameters I'd like to stay within: 

- no rent concessions

- ideally very inexpensive - $5 or less for each person (if it costs anything at all) 

- minimal coordination and time needed to execute 

I'm trying to brainstorm creative ideas and so far have come up with the following: 

- Note of Gratitude - a personal letter to the resident on a nice card that is handwritten and simply says thank you for being part of the community 

- Portrait of Family Drawn by Artist - go on Fiverr.com and get it done for $5. This is more involved as I'd need a picture of them and that would defeat the "unexpected" angle. I like how it lasts a long time though - something they might treasure.  

- Have a pool party with a local singer (or resident singer who is in band) perform - more involved and doesn't reach all my residents, plus more expensive 

- Give everyone a $1 scratch-off lottery ticket with a nice note 

- Give everyone a cutting board (or something else that helps keep the property looking nice) - if they have a cutting board then they might be less likely to cut on the countertop therefore the counter tops would last longer - found that I can buy them for about $2 a piece 

Any other ideas?? 

when I get all my SFR rentals paid off, the first thing I will do is to start giving away a gift certificate for a months free rent. It has to be random so no one expects it. It is the least I can do since they are the ones who paid for my properties. I may not do it much, but I will have contact with some of my tenants and just want to help one for no real reason.

I have also thought about:

carrying around gift certificates for a local restaurant to hand out at random.

Having a summer pizza party at one of my small quads

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@Joe Fairless  In the past I've done gift cards for the local grocery store before Thanksgiving and included a personal note to enjoy their Thanksgiving. This will obviously be tough on a $5/unit budget but it is the thought that counts. I'm sure they will really appreciate whatever you decide.

the real deal will be when I give a long term tenant the house. Of course the real long term tenant is hard to find, haven't had too many, but there are a couple. When a person pays for a cheap house over and over and then they retire, and I think they can or will keep it(pay the taxes, pay the insurance, maintain the house) they might get a gift.  I have some real cheap houses that the older women have already paid me in rent what I paid for the house 2 or 3 times. When they retire, I will not continue to charge them rent. May be Better to just deed it to them. Or maybe just give them a life estate. Or just charge them a $1.00 per year. Or just enough to pay the taxes and insurance.  Something. Be a blessing to them.  

How about setting up free fast internet connection for the community? It will most likely cost you not very much and the line to rent in your building will be around the block.

We prepare a move-in gift package that includes cleaning supplies (degreaser, carpet spot cleaner, vinegar, baking soda, magic eraser, disinfectant wipes), cutting board, plunger, hand soap, dish soap, paper towels, and toilet paper, presented in a cleaning bucket and reusable shopping bag. ($30)  

At move-in we also loan the tenant the use of drop cloth runners (to protect the flooring on move-in day), furniture moving blankets, furniture sliders, furniture lifting straps, a step stool, and a picture hanging tool kit (with small hammer and picture hooks). 

On going, every November we give a grocery store gift card to each household one week prior to Thanksgiving. ($10)

For our 8-plex apartment community, we established an area where tenants could garden.  We rototilled the ground and amended the soil.  We invited tenants to come with us to the nursery to pick out plants and we paid for the starter plants.  It is an organic vegetable garden.  That was a big hit and really brought the tenants together as a community.  We are now planning a sitting garden, with a nice bench and flowers.

During December we will give a small food gift, such as a jar of jam, box of candy, homemade bread, or hot cocoa.  December-January, we decorate our 8-plex with white "holiday lights", which really makes it cheery when coming home on dark winter nights.  

When a tenant has a life crisis event, like a serious personal illness or death in the immediate family, we send a card with a love gift. ($50)

During extremely cold weather or extremely hot weather we make a personal visit to each tenant to make sure they are prepared for the weather and are keeping safe.

Our "All Star" tenants are those that pay their rent on or before the first of the month consistently over time, take care of the property and follow the terms of the rental agreement and our property rules.  We reward our "All Star" tenants by doing upgrades to their apartments first and respond more favorably to their special requests, tying it to the fact that they are "All Stars."  They also get other gifts from time to time, such as: house plant, flower basket, flower bowl, bedding plant, door mat, fireplace log, professional carpet cleaning of traffic areas (for long term tenants every 5 years).

We do not do rent concessions.

You might consider two tiers of gifts. One nicer tier for those tenants that are "better" - with respect to rent being on time, maintenance issues, and overall behavior. And the lesser tier for the not so good tenants; these would just get a note while the better tenants get the gift. This allows you to spend a bit more for the better tenants. And since this is a complex, you know the tenants will talk to each other, and soon the not so good tenants figure out that the gifts went to better tenants. That can lead to those tenants improving themselves in some cases. 

How about smoke detector batteries. That way the tenant will have a working detector so long as they do not confiscate the batteries to power their electronic toys  :)

I don't know how your people pay their rents but a book of stamps would be nice and inexpensive if they mail it in!! Might be a little more than $5 but I am certain it would be appreciated. I have given cards and candies at Christmas to all my tenants but it was more than $5. There's several websites you can get small things from for advertising with your name on them (ex. ABC APARTMENTS and the phone #). I myself have received these from a place I use to rent several years ago. 

One gift I used A LOT that I received was a calculator!!! It had the property management companies name and # right there on it which was very useful!! Great advertising technique too!!!

Go with the calculator!!!!!

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I really like @Nazz Wang idea of free internet, it could really help working class tenants and make it easier for our property managers to serve their residents... and collect rent online too.

@Marcia Maynard   put me on your waiting list too! :) I really like your garden idea and have heard from others that it really helps with retention. One of our clients has a property that's perfect for one but haven't been able to convince them that it's worth the effort (actually the management companies effort). Any advice?

Thanks all, great ideas.

@Nazz Wang  can you help me understand that a little more. How would I go about setting up a free internet connection for my residents and it not cost a lot of money? 

I assume that I'd have to pay the internet provider every month for this service but maybe I'm missing something. 

@marcia I LOVE the garden I idea. I might be using that one because I could buy in bulk from a local flower shop (help them get more biz), it would make the property look nicer and could lower turnover because residents who garden want to stay. Plus it strengthens the community since the residents will likely interact with each other more as a result of the garden.  

@Joe Fairless  

Joe, how many people is in your large community? 

Yes I am talking about setting up monthly internet service. Depends on how many people you have in the community, the five dollars per person budget will get a few months of service going probably. Two possible outcomes would really save a lot of money in the long run: higher retention rate and shorter vacancy period. And class C tenants really values such an act, hey will really appreciate it.

Not exactly a one time appreciation gift but could be a gift that keeps on giving.

@Marcia Maynard , love your ideas- glad to hear there's someone else out there who think like we do!  I'm going to use some of your other suggestions. We've been encouraging gardening at our two 2 family units for several years.  I can get leftover vegetable seedlings from work, and I've been passing those along to tenants for the past two years. This is the second year I hired a rototiller guy from Craigslist to come and prepare the garden beds in the spring. $30 well spent and some really happy tenants.

Actually, some of our tenants cooked us dinner when we were working over there recently. That's a first for us!

There's some nice cooperation we have going on with our tenants, too.  This spring, we had some tenants who took on a huge landscaping project (without telling us)- there was a big thicket in the back of one lot that was a lower priority for us to deal with, but they took on removing all of that.  A huge job for us to dispose of the waste (6 U-Haul trailer loads!), but even more work for them to clear it all. So we rewarded them with two upgrades they wished for- a ceiling fan in their bedroom, and we hooked up the ice maker in their fridge.

@Arian, that's a good idea about the pizza party.

How about a gift certificate to waive the late fee for one month of late rent? That doesn't really cost you anything, and will be HIGHLY appreciated. Speaking from experience here.