Tenant Appreciation or Holiday Gift

37 Replies

Hi BP,

I'm relatively new into the landlord game but I'm trying to set myself apart from the other property managers by providing top notch customer service to my tenants. As the holidays are approaching, I'd like to hear what you all have done to show appreciation to your tenants. I'm thinking about sending a thank you note with a small gift around Christmas time. What have you all done? What have your tenants enjoyed the most? Any thoughts or ideas will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,
Kurt

Hi @Kurt Stein

It is a great idea that you are trying to set your self apart from other property managers, and providing the best customer service is a great tool. An experience real estate investor did tell me that what they did was send out a gift card for their long-term tenants around Christmas time. If you have have new tenants I think just a thank you note would be fine, but for a long-term tenant a $20 gift card combined with a thank you card would be a great idea! Best of luck to you! 

That's great advice. Thank you Pamela!

What type of gift card do you think would be best?

@Kurt Stein I think what your thinking of doing will certainly set you apart from the rest.  Innovation is a key component to keeping the client happy.  I'm sending all of my tenants a 1 year supply of self addressed envelopes to send me my money on time!!!! LOL Kiddiing.  I think a personalized letter will suffice.  If there is specific information you know about the tenant i.e. if they just had a surgery, have kids in college, just bought a car etc.... you should add that to the letter to make it personal.  That will go a long way in developing a sense of community.

@Kurt Stein you got it!  Now I'm wondering why my property manager is not posing this question to me lol!  I'm going to give her a few more weeks and see.  Gotta love BP!

are you a property manager or an investor/landlord yourself?

if you're a investor/landlord it's good advice above.

if you're a property manager, remember your real client is the homeowners. Send them gift cards (more personalized is better).It's nice to recognize the tenants, but the investors sign your paycheck.
 

I'm the owner/investor but am managing the properties myself

At xmas I send a card and candy.  Ive done a baby gift for a newborn. Never a bday gift.  I self manage. 

Some of my affiliated communities will have tenant Christmas parties with fun games and small gifts for children. Going to dollar store and buying a bunch of girl and boy related toys may seem small, but it can make a kids holiday and create an appreciative tenant. 

Effort is more important!  

I restrict my gift giving to family. Customers are not on my Christmas list and never will be.

From my experience some tenants resent receiving gifts purchased with their rent money, others are very uncomfortable and do not know if they are expected to reciprocate and still others are insulted due to their personal beliefs. Which type of tenant do you have. You do not know and have no way of knowing. Giving gifts of any type crosses the line between professional and personal. The one thing you never want with a tenant is a personal relationship.  

Remember what you may find nice or appropriate in the eyes of others may be the opposite.

No tenant has ever been offended by not receiving a Xmas gift from their landlord.

I've given grocery store gift cards during the YE holidays for appreciation - - write it off as advertising.

@Kurt Stein This attitude will go a long way for your landlord/investing career. I think showing kindness and appreciation is always a good idea. A nice card with a gift card to a local restaurant or grocery store is a good idea. I've also surprised good tenants with a credit towards Jan rent because so many are tapped financially after the holidays. 

@Atwan Kwan The homeowner/investor is your client, but they pay you to keep their tenant happy and nurture a positive relationship with them. 

@Kurt Stein Love your thinking! I am the same way. I think the tenants will appreciate the gesture and it will help your relationship with them. My motto is always "Show the tenant you actually care about their well being" If you can show them that, and not just be about collecting a paycheck, you will be better off. 

@Account Closed You mentioned you have given a credit towards January rent. May I ask how much of a credit you gave them?

I have been considering this, but for example if you are giving $25, I think a $25 gift card seems like "more bang for your buck" than a $25 discount off a $900 rent.

Hi @Robert P. For tenants who have been in the home longer than 2 years, we've offered a few hundred dollars up to 1/2 month's rent in January depending on rental rate. We believe keeping good tenants happy and feeling "at home" is our job, as landlords, and we invest in it. 

@Kurt Stein My suggestion is a $20 gift card to a local grocery store. But I wouldn't do anything different for each tenants length of stay - it's a gift, not to be a reflection of how much rent they have paid you in the past.

@Account Closed love it. People often say giving too much to the tenants will result in some negative kickback. Have you experienced anything negative when you have done this for your tenants? 

My most tenured tenant will be in the property for about 6 months when December comes around. Assuming a large gift as you mentioned above would not be appropriate at this time, right?

If all you want to do is make them happy give them a one month rent break or maybe reduce their rent by $50 per month for the year. That is what tenants will truly appreciate. But whatever you do don"t expect them to show you any appreciation. No good deed goes unpunished.

Or ...happy holidays, I am not increasing your rent this year. 

@Kurt Stein

During my first tenancy, I gave discounts on rent for Christmas.  My wife thinks we still should but I have reservations about doing so.  For me, personally, I would question a landlord giving me a discount for Christmas and not that discount/12 every month.  Because I probably needed that 100, 200 or half month's rent throughout the year for savings or bills, instead of giving me a discount at a time of year that almost assures it will be spent conspicuously.

To me it's almost like saying, "Hey, I take so much of your money that I don't need $X."

I've asked some friends who rent and they all say, "That would be awesome."  I've explained how I would perceive it and they assure me that my thinking is not normal, haha. 

I've been doing it for years. A good tenant who has been less than a year with me gets $50, a good tenant who has been with me more than a year gets $100. Bad tenants get nothing. I initially labeled those holiday gifts, but as @Thomas S. mentioned some felt the need to reciprocate, so I changed the wording to "tenant appreciation gifts".

@Robert P. A nice gesture (gift card) of $50 or less is great for a good tenant who hasn't been there long. If you aren't comfortable giving it at holiday time, you could send with a Happy New Year card. 

If you view the relationship as a business partnership, rather than take the authoritarian approach a lot of old-school landlords rely on, it will serve you and your tenants far better long term. 

We recently puchased two college area properties and delivered introduction letters with $10 starbucks cards to existing tenants. I'm not planning on doing any holiday gifts.

Ive sent 50$ cash gift card at Christmas time. Other times Ive also  "coupons" for cash off the rent as well...two 25.00 ones to use any time for the next year.

I like to show that I care and I want them to enjoy living there!

I think it's completely unnecessary and creates too personal of a relationship.

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