Author Topic: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?  (Read 5969 times)

MaxRules

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 49
Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« on: December 19, 2015, 11:38:33 PM »
I have some good tenants that just moved in back in August (my only rental) and I thought I'd send them a Christmas card with a gift card to a local store. Will anyone else be doing this? Any problems with doing this? I love to give and thought this might help build a good landlord/tenant relationship.

TXBruiser

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Age: 33
  • Location: TX
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2015, 12:49:42 AM »
Bought my first rental house last March, sent my tenants a xmas card this year.  My wife and I discussed a present, but decided against it since they are not expecting one, and I want to keep the owner/renter relationship exactly were it is.  I didn't want any assumptions of a closer relationship to be there if issues arose with payments, repairs, or end of lease.

At the end of the day I wouldn't expect Comcast or AT&T to send me a present.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28245
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2015, 02:11:54 AM »
I did this when I first became a landlord, but found no correlation between doing it and them renewing a lease or not.

I have since switched to using the funds for lease renewal incentives, if necessary (i.e. a tenant's market), and found that more effective.

Being polite, professional, and responsive (quick on any repairs, etc.) is the best way to build your tenant relationship, much more so than a gift card.

YMMV, and I don't think it's a bad thing, just not necessary or necessarily helpful. :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

adamcollin

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Texas
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2015, 03:21:57 AM »
Itís a really good idea. Offering gifts to your tenants will definitely help in strengthening your relationship with them.

GoldenStache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 239
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2015, 07:43:46 AM »
I used to give them a plate of cookies.  Wife would enter a cookie exchange and we would end up with dozens of cookies that we didn't need to eat.  I would not give a gift card, but would do something like arebelspy said with renewal rewards. 

chubbybunny

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 93
  • Location: Georgia
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2015, 07:45:25 AM »
I have never considered doing this, and probably won't start. 

What about a gift card to home depot or Lowe's?  Would it be like, here fix up something in the house that you'd like?  Or do you think it would come across as too self-serving?

Penny McSave

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2015, 08:50:37 AM »
I am currently renting a house and this would make me uncomfortable. I might feel bad if I didn't reciprocate which then blurs the line between business and friendship. I don't exactly want to be friends with my landlord. I think a nice card wishing them happy holidays is enough. This lets them know you care and are happy to have their business without accidentally putting pressure on them to give something in return.

Fishindude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2188
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2015, 08:55:51 AM »
They are "customers" of yours.
Wouldn't be out of line at all to send a card or small gift, assuming they are "good customers", pay rent on time, keep the place clean, etc.
These are renters you'd like to keep.


onlykelsey

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2172
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2015, 08:57:52 AM »
My tenant is also my roommate, so this is a bit different, but I gave her a small gift (an expensive French candle I know she likes).  I think good will can go a long way, but I agree with the concern about not coming across as their buddy who might let them get away with paying rent late, etc.

totoro

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2102
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2015, 09:03:26 AM »
I always give tenants Christmas gifts.  If it is a family I give $50 gift certificate for the closest grocery store.  Otherwise I usually give a bottle of wine and chocolates.  I don't think it is something that is necessary for the business of being a landlord but I think people appreciate it.

willystache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2015, 01:38:09 PM »
Yes, we often give our good tenants cards with a small gift certificate to a local coffee shop that says something like "we appreciate your business, communication and attentiveness and wish you the best in the new year". Many of our residents are college kids or young families. They won't expect their landlord to care about them at all. We expect nothing in return, of course. I think there can be some danger, in certain context, of de-personalizing your business too much. Part of it depends on your clientele. In our model, it is a small gesture that I think has had been money well spent.

kindviking

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 17
    • KindViking.com - Slay debt, build wealth & feast on life!
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2015, 01:56:36 PM »
Back when I personally managed my rental and knew the tenants, I did give gifts (bottle of wine, cheese, etc) and would do so again. It is a nice human thing to do, builds trust, etc. A good "personal touch," so to speak. Currently, I use a PM company and don't know any of the tenants, and they don't know me, so I won't do gifts, because it would be a little random, I think.

MaxRules

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 49
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2015, 09:33:46 AM »
Thanks guys, always lots of great info on this forum. I sent a Christmas card with a $50 Walmart gift card in it. I believe it's a great way to reward a good tenant and add that little bit of personal  connection every good business should have.

zephyr911

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3628
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Northern Alabama
  • I'm just happy to be here. \m/ ^_^ \m/
    • Pinhook Development LLC
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2015, 01:54:04 PM »
Back when I personally managed my rental and knew the tenants, I did give gifts (bottle of wine, cheese, etc) and would do so again. It is a nice human thing to do, builds trust, etc. A good "personal touch," so to speak. Currently, I use a PM company and don't know any of the tenants, and they don't know me, so I won't do gifts, because it would be a little random, I think.
One of my personal SFH's is rented by a friend, so I'll visit and give him a gift. The other, we have virtually no interaction but I sent a card.
Within my LLC, we're still small and are doing some personal things. Our one remaining original tenant has had a perfect payment history until some recent medical (and therefore financial) problems. I stopped in yesterday to let her know we're reducing her rent for 2016, and she almost cried. Felt fucking good. It's less than $500 for the year, but it makes a big difference for her, and she's going to put the difference into catching up on 1mo+ back rent. She's been (until last month) our most reliable tenant, and helped ensure our success as a startup, so it was an easy consensus within our trio.

We bought a new stove for one, who was unhappy with the crappy old one she had. The other two, we sent $50 gift cards (one of which was a re-gift).

We won't be doing this kind of thing for properties acquired in the future, which will have paid management from day 1, but smaller gestures are still on the table. Like ARS says, the best way to maintain good will is to be professional year-round and take care of things quickly. The rest is optional, though probably appreciated.

SwordGuy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6238
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2015, 05:04:16 PM »
We give a 1/2 month's rent gift to our active duty soldier tenants on Veteran's Day.  Ditto if we had a family with a mentally handicapped family member, except for Thanksgiving.

Assuming, of course, they have paid the rent on time and taken care of the place.  That's not in the lease, we have no obligation to do this.

It has nothing to do with "business".   I grew up with a dad in the military during the Vietnam war.  I was lucky.  He came home from Vietnam (2 tours of duty) physically and mentally fine.   I was one of the lucky ones.  Not all the kids I knew were so lucky.   It's just a way of saying "thank you for your service."

As MMM says, spend money on what you value.  Veteran's Day was one of my favorite days this year.

Blindsquirrel

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 657
  • Age: 2
  • Location: Flyover country
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2015, 05:26:53 PM »
  I normally do not now though I used to years ago. This year I made an exception as we bought a 3 unit rental and it came with an elderly woman who  has lived there for 17 years and depends solely on social security, I got a $100 gift card from work for doing a good job and I gave it to her.  She was really happy and I knew she needed it way more than I did.

bacchi

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4187
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2015, 06:08:12 PM »
I have, for Section 8 tenants, if they aren't a pita. It's usually given in mid-November so that they can use the gift card for Christmas.

Bearded Man

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1142
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2015, 10:18:05 PM »
I used to. Not anymore. Most I got them was a $25 amazon gc, max deductible by law. Now I just don't. Below market rent is my gift to them.

woopwoop

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 331
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2015, 11:07:50 PM »
At the end of the day I wouldn't expect Comcast or AT&T to send me a present.
LOL, do you really want to run your business like Comcast?

MaxRules

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 49
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2016, 09:07:58 AM »
I sent the card with the $50 gift card and expected to receive a 'thank you' email from my tenants. A week passed and nothing... I thought maybe they didn't even receive it (lost in mail or someone took it). Then the first of the month rolls around and their rent is due. There in my mailbox with the rent check is a nicely written "Thank You" card saying how the gift was a nice surprise and how much they love the house. Totally worth sending the gift... I'd highly recommend doing this with any good tenants!

cavewoman

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 521
  • Age: 33
  • I'm a woman who likes caves
Re: Will you give your tenants a Christmas gift?
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2016, 11:42:05 AM »
Back when I personally managed my rental and knew the tenants, I did give gifts (bottle of wine, cheese, etc) and would do so again. It is a nice human thing to do, builds trust, etc. A good "personal touch," so to speak. Currently, I use a PM company and don't know any of the tenants, and they don't know me, so I won't do gifts, because it would be a little random, I think.
One of my personal SFH's is rented by a friend, so I'll visit and give him a gift. The other, we have virtually no interaction but I sent a card.
Within my LLC, we're still small and are doing some personal things. Our one remaining original tenant has had a perfect payment history until some recent medical (and therefore financial) problems. I stopped in yesterday to let her know we're reducing her rent for 2016, and she almost cried. Felt fucking good. It's less than $500 for the year, but it makes a big difference for her, and she's going to put the difference into catching up on 1mo+ back rent. She's been (until last month) our most reliable tenant, and helped ensure our success as a startup, so it was an easy consensus within our trio.

We bought a new stove for one, who was unhappy with the crappy old one she had. The other two, we sent $50 gift cards (one of which was a re-gift).

We won't be doing this kind of thing for properties acquired in the future, which will have paid management from day 1, but smaller gestures are still on the table. Like ARS says, the best way to maintain good will is to be professional year-round and take care of things quickly. The rest is optional, though probably appreciated.

I thought was my dad did this year was unusual until reading this.

He has had tenants for 10+ years.  Up until last year, they were always on time, model tenants.  Then the Mr. had a heart attack (actually multiple, in and out of hospital, etc) and they got 1-1.5 months behind.  It took them 6 months to catch up to 1/2 month behind.  They were paying every 2 weeks for months. He wasn't able to work more than sporadic jobs, so she was paying every check.  For Christmas this year, he told them he was forgiving the 1/2 month so they could be caught up for the New Year.