Holiday gift for tenants?

14 Replies

Hi, I'm a new landlord and wanted to see what others do when it comes to the holidays with their tenants.

I have two young men that rent from me, this February will be 1 year. They have never been late and never missed a payment, the house looks just as when I rented to them so they keep up with it and keep it nice and clean. Should I give them a gift card or something similar as a small gesture of appreciation and holiday spirit?

I know I don't have to give them anything but I wanted to get a general consensus of what seasoned landlords do.

Thanks in advance.


This has been a topic in the past and you'll find varying answers and reasons...

I do, but only in a situation like you mention. Good tenants, pay on time, take care of the property, etc.

For me it's a gift card to Target or a local restaurant. Nothing extravagant but enough to let them know you appreciate them. $25-$50 goes a long way for some tenants.

Search bp some more and you will find answers.   I do xmas with small gift and a card.   Never do bdays.  Once you start something you cant stop  or forget it. 

Thanks for the answers so far. That's what I was thinking, maybe a $25 gift card for each of them. I agree that once you start it that you cannot stop doing it and need to remember to keep it up with the said tenant. If you stop, they might think something is wrong or they have done something to displease you.

This is my first year as a landlord also. I have two single families and both tenants have been great. One even paid a few months rent in advance. A gift card sounds like a good idea. I am looking to buy an apartment building next and that could get expensive depending on how many units. 

Does your credit card company send you a gift for paying the bill on time every month? What about your cell phone company? The power company? Your mortgage company? No? Then why would the landlord?

I do a non-monetary gift and card (like a small Hickory Farms box or gourmet popcorn). I try to catch them at home to say hello in person as well.   I am all about long term tenants who feel good about living there.

We give a birthday card and $5 Starbucks cards with tenants birthdays (from the application) and a $15-20 Subway card at Christmastime.  If a tenant is in arrears they don't get them, but in general its a token "thanks for your tenancy" gesture.  I had simple cheap postcards printed at Vistaprint to accompany them.  It's simple, inexpensive, and builds goodwill.

YES! I am a big believer in giving a $25-$50 gift card during the  holidays, for good tenants. I treat my tenants like business partners and showing appreciation goes a long way to strengthening that relationship and building good will. 

Two sides of the coin obviously, as a professional landlord mine is way.

If you are a good landlord do you get a gift card from your tenants. Is the definition of a good tenant one that you have properly trained to follow their lease, pay rent on time and take care of the property as required. Do you give gifts to mediocre or less desirable tenants. Why not ?

If they are friends maybe give a present (money) if not then what exactly is the message you are sending......Here is $25 of you money back, keep doing what you are doing and I will let you stay.

Most tenants generally resent having a landlord tenant relationship so the reception of your "token" gift may not be received as you would like. Giving a gift comes with risks, not giving a gift has zero risk, is not in any way expected and will not cost anything. No tenant will ever be disappointed by not receiving a gift from their landlord, some will resent but most simply will not appreciate the gesture. It can create a unhealthy landlord tenant relationship for hobby landlords.

Greg S. that makes total sense. They are actually friends but I am picking up what you are putting down. Thanks for the advice

@Mike Lightcap

You are providing housing and the tenant is paying for it. Remember that you are the CEO of a business. It is not supposed to be a warm and fuzzy relationship. As Kipling wrote in his 1892 poem "never the twain shall meet".

It is not supposed to be a warm and fuzzy relationship.

But that is exactly the motivating factor for hobby landlords to want to give gifts. A gift is not a reward for a tenant doing what is expected it is a personal message, a message professional landlords know has no value in the relationship.

Hobby landlords try to read far more into the relationship than any tenant ever wants with a landlord.

The first year we had rental houses (4 of them) I gave $50 gift certificates to tenants as Christmas presents.

Did it stop them from moving (some without adequate notice) or, in some cases, paying the rent late?  Nope.  And only one tenant thanked us.

We then decided our "gifts" would be answering repair requests as quickly as we could and focus on maintaining a business relationship with our tenants.

My father was a "building superintendent" (fancy name for janitor) for decades, managing three apartment buildings in Evanston, Illinois.  Some tenants gave him Christmas gifts of a carton of cigarettes or a bottle of booze.  Bad choices all around; my father was an alcoholic who eventually died in a nursing home from end stage liver disease with his brain totally pickled from this disease.


@Mike Lightcap

I'm in the "nay" crowd. It's great that they're model tenants, but I'm sure your utility companies don't reward you for meeting your obligations as agreed..?

Just a hypothetical: You have a 12 unit complex, and give gift cards to 4/12 tenants for being the perfect tenant. How would you respond if a tenant that didn't get a gift card found out that others were getting one?

Could be an unnecessary headache.

Respond with great customer service (addressing questions, maintenance issues, etc.) like you're already doing, and that will be all they need.

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