Has anyone ever offered an incentive to a tenant for good upkeep

6 Replies

I’m looking for my first rental property and I was wondering if anyone has ever given a tenant a monetary incentive if they keep the place looking nice and not having any repair costs? I’d like to figure out a good way to get the tenant on my side to work towards the same goal of good upkeep, but I’m not sure the best way to do that! Let me know if anyone has any other good ideas to work with the tenant on good maintenance! Thanks!

Hi Tyler, how about penalize for poor housekeeping and any damage beyond wear and tear.  There are always routine inspections, make it clear your expectations for cleanliness before lease signing and if it fails your expectations the next inspection has a cost along with it. I always say if their mama didn’t teach them good housekeeping they aren’t going to learn from their landlord. Best to get the dirty tenants out, but for the good ones a small Christmas present or birthday card with movie tickets goes a long way!

@Tyler Hampton We do giveaways and drawings based on keeping the property clean and well-kept, but that's because we have so many units. Small personal touches like greeting cards during the holidays with gift cards/local gift certificates might be a good option. Don't get too personal and touchy-feely with your tenants, though. They are part of a business arrangement, not some cool friends you want to get to know and go out with. I think you already know that, but good to mention to anyone else reading, just in case. :)

Either way, good luck! Sometimes people have the best intentions, but life gets in the way. Usually they're appreciative for anything that isn't expected automatically, though!

@Tyler Hampton

No!!! First of all, that could actually keep them from reporting minor repairs, which will cost you more in the future. Second, my lease states very clearly the units are to be kept in good clean condition, or I can hire a cleaning crew and charge it back to them. I also do a maintenance inspection every 6 months so I can see if they are keeping it clean.

I also do not give Xmas cards or any other incentive to be a good tenant. I supply nice properties and respond quickly to any problems, in exchange for on time rent payments and keeping the property clean. It’s really a simple business transaction.

Hello Tyler... There are a lot of really good responses so far. I love the advice of "not getting too personal with them".  I also agree that you can encourage good upkeep by leading by example.  If you take care of issues quickly they will know you expect proper upkeep from them. With that said...I have experimented with incentives.  I've offered rent discounts, late fee forgiveness, raffled gifts, etc.  I've had varying degrees of success.  Most tenants ignored it because the incentive was minimal.  Any reward of significance isn't worth it to you as the landlord, especially since taking care of the place is expected. I've also ruled with a heavy hand using inspections.  This also has its issues.  It caused a lot of resentment and early vacancies.  I found myself threatening eviction ... a lot.  So my advice would be maybe a little of both.  Offer out the incentive for those who go above and beyond but its also important have a presence at the property (or property management) for those who don't respect the property or the other tenants.  

the thought of heavy security deposit deductions is supposed to keep them in check.

You should make your rental properties very low maintenance, minimalist.

Well You can buy them

Pizza offer little upgrades rent reductions and niceties or special privileges but at the end of the day they will do whatever they feel like doing . If they plan to leave they will leave if they want a pit bull they will go buy one if they want to park in the front yard they will regardless of your trinkets and promises .I’ve been crapped on just about every time I tried to go the extra mile for them . Sadly No good deed goes unpunished . That phrase is especially true in landlording. They will steamroll over you if they find your weak . This sounds cynical I know , but that’s been my experience trying to play nice guy .