Attracting Tenants with Incentives or Gifts

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Sometimes landlords need to use incentives to keep their tenants happy, or in the case of a bad rental market, to attract new tenants. A few of the ideas I’ve read about in our forums are:

Keep ’em happy ideas:

– New A/C Units
– New Fans
– Upgraded hardware like towel bars and knobs
– Starbucks/Blockbuster gift cards
– Small gifts on the holidays

Ideas for attracting new tenants:

– Free High-Speed Internet (cable/dsl)
– First month of rent for free
– Washer/Dryer Unit in the unit
– Paying moving expenses or moving truck fees
– Discounting first month’s rent
– Paying utilities, etc.
– Free renters insurance.
– Free Wi-Fi

While others may believe that “keep ’em happy” gifts are a waste, I think its always a nice gesture of goodwill. If a great tenant is considering leaving, perhaps offering one of these incentives will work to keep them. One of the most important things to remember is that landlords are in business, and must treat it as so. What tenants basically want is a landlord who takes care of things and leaves them alone.

The main reason to use these incentives is to get people in the door and to occupy your vacant units. If you’re unable to attract tenants because of a slow rental market, maybe these ideas can help you to either bring in people who weren’t considering the unit in the first place or attract people deciding between someone else’s apartment and yours.

About Author

Joshua Dorkin

Joshua Dorkin (@jrdorkin, Google+) founded when he saw a need for free, trustworthy information about real estate investing online. Over the past 12 years, Josh has grown the site from self-funded hobby to full-time job and passion. Today, BiggerPockets brings together over 850,000 members, housing the world’s largest library of real estate content, iTunes’ #1 real estate podcast, and an array of analysis tools, all geared toward helping users succeed.


  1. Barrett Niehus on

    The keep ’em happy approach to attracting tenets has a lot of merit depending on what else your property has going for it. I have found these types of incentives to be very useful if the property is priced above the market, or is older and less desirable than the competition. Vacancy rates also factor into the decision to incentivise tenants.

    -Barrett N.

  2. I agree — spending a little money here and there on keeping the place in good repair, and keeping the tenants happy is definitely worth it when you consider how much work (and expense) advertising, tenant screening, and turning over the apartment adds up to. A bird in the hand is definitely worth keeping. (Provided that they’re a good tenant, that is.)

  3. I think a gift or two should be given every now and then to let your tenants know that you appreciate them. If your tenants are well behaved and give you no problems a few gifts of gratitude are fine. It’s just a way of helping things move a little smoother and it creates a better relationship. High-speed internet is a great way to let your tenant know that they’re appreciated. It helps them be more productive and eases stress in their lives.

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