Do you give gifts to your tenants?

19 Replies

Hi y'all,

I'm a new landlord in Austin, TX.  I am prepping for the holidays and was wondering if y'all give presents or gift cards to your tenants for holidays (and other events), and whether you use a service to manage these gifts or if you do it by hand?

Thank you for your help.

I like to send a gift card over the holidays. I don't do that for other occasions. 

I send a seasonal, holiday wishes, card. No gifts, no gift cards. They are neither family or friends and giving gifts crosses the line between landlord and tenant.

It is not appropriate, many tenants are uncomfortable receiving gifts from landlords and most, if not all, resent receiving a gift purchased with their rent money.

I offer an upgrade to the unit with a lease renewal. I have painted accent walls, put in new light fixtures, and a new vanity for a tenant. In January I am putting in new interior doors for some long term tenants. If your structure your gift this way, it would allow you to improve your unit, make the tenant happy, and reduce vacancy. 

I give the tenant 3 options of things to improve with the unit. That way they don't ask for something outrageous or expensive. 

Heck no!  I think the new boiler and water heater I had to put in will suffice.  

We do a christmas card every year. At new lease signing we give a small gift bag of cleaning supplies. 

I recently joined the chamber of commerce in one of the towns I invest in. The other buisnesses started giving me coupons and pamphlets to their buisness to include in my new leases. Kind a welcome to the town type thing.

NO. Sadly, it's been my experience that trying to be nice is too often perceived as being weak, with actions to take advantage of perceived weakness being taken soon after. 

In the business-to-business world, we used to send Christmas cards. I have found dealing with the general public to be a very different animal.

I tried sending gifts last year and not a single tenant thanked or even acknowledged it so I won't waste my time and money now. It's reasonable enough that I properly maintain the properties and fix things when they ask.

A few years ago my wife and I made cookies, chex mix, etc and dropped off a basket to each tenant. Barely got a single thank you or had anyone acknowledge we had even brought it so I haven't since then.

I've tried the past few years to help a family in need so if I know of any good tenants who are truly struggling they take priority. I try not to tell anyone I do it so word doesn't get out to the neighbors. But on the occasions where it's unavoidable that they know it was me they've been truly appreciative.

I used to when I was new, after a few years I found it doesn't' really matter. We treat people well, they stay a while then leave. There is no long lasting relationship with most tenants. We have great relationships while they stay with us but it's mostly transactional. They don't want us as best friends and we aren't trying to be theirs.

Not saying it's a bad idea, just my experience, it adds little to no value it just FEELS good.

I have already leased them a gift of good quality housing at an affordable price. 

For a standard rental I will not give a card/gift.  For student rentals (by the room) we give a very large box completely filled with college type food, cleaning supplies and things like that.  Due to heavy couponing we don’t spend over $10 dollars a person on it.  Mostly  BOGO items purchased with BOGO coupons so items are free or close to free.  Box has given us much goodwill with the students and it cost us next to nothing.

I used to rent at an apartment complex between houses. They would do a monthly social thing for the residents. At Christmas time they would do a big holiday party with raffle gifts. This was a several hundred unit complex for perspective. They also did a move in gift.

Last year I sent Christmas cards out with gift certificates to a local pizza place. They seemed to genuinely appreciate it.

With over $50 Million under management I can tell you for a fact that It's not something that's going to move the bottom line one iota. So it's a completely unnecessary activity.

Thanks y'all- how many tenants do y'all have in a building?  I'm wondering if it makes a difference depending on the size of the building?

If you give a gift and expect something in return (even appreciation or a thank you) is it really a gift?  By my definition a gift is something given and you expect nothing in return but that is just me.

I rent out a SFH. I do my very best to keep everything working and looking great in the residence. I will never rent out a place that I myself would not be happy in. That's how I do business and my business is doing well!

When ever I have a new tenant I make sure I leave a "care package" for my tenants. For example, my newest tenants drove over 8 hours to their new location and they had a 3 yr old daughter.  It's been a very VERY long day for them already and it's not even done as they still will have to  unpack the moving truck. In the care package I had included two gift cards from two local restaurants who have fantastic food at a very reasonable rate and are just 10 min walk and both deliver. I also included some paper plates, cups, bread, milk & eggs in the fridge and a colouring book  and crayons for the girl.

Cost to me just under $100.... 

My return.. so far my tenant has purchased and installed two garage door openers (the previous two were just done and I wasn't going to replace them.. he did). He has also repaired on his own time and dime a circuit board for a heating unit for the garage and he replaced the filter on the humidifier as well as the internal mechs inside one of the toilets that took a long time to fill the upper tank.

My previous tenant was an Agriculture student, I have him a house warming gift of some gift cards as well as the contacts of people I knew who also graduated from the faculty of Ag. with a list of books they would be willing to give or sell at discount. Paired that with a 6 pack of local beer and a couple chicken pot pies in the fridge. 

He had graduated and now runs a huge farm about 2 hrs north west of where I live ... one time he dropped off over 600 lbs of potatoes on my front drive way. (hahah) the thought that counts though right?

My point being, I don't do a seasonal thing, I just do a house warming gift and try to make it a bit personal if possible. I don't operate on a large scale and never intend to. I have found it starts off our business relationship on a very good note and I have had really positive experiences with my tenants.

I started LL'ing with a duplex house hack.  Back then, I would give a Christmas gift to those tenants because they were also neighbors I shared a yard/porch/inner wall with.  There was also a friendly relationship between us and the first two sets of tenants.  In fact, one set gave my H and I a gift when we got married.  Then the third set came.  They were horrible people.  The only gift I gave them was a 5-Day Pay or Quit notice on Dec. 27th.  Well, that and what they stole out of the unit. 

By then, I also had more units and considered doing holiday gifts, but decided not to.  It just seemed like too much hassle, time, and expense that I didn't want to spend.  I suppose it is a nicety, but not necessary nor expected.

I'm thinking about at least sending holiday cards this year.

I do usually give a move-in gift.  I include a pack of bottled water, already cold in the fridge.  And an assortment of items that at least I always seem to need when I first move somewhere, but never think of, lol.  Like a couple garbage bags, a roll of paper towels, hand soap, and a scrubby sponge.  I also make sure all the bathrooms have full rolls of toilet paper on the dispensers.  To me, it is some thoughtfulness that costs me less than $10 and makes my new tenants move-in day that much easier.

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here