Should landlords give tenants Christmas gifts?

A common question asked by landlords and property managers is whether to give their tenants Christmas gifts.

And there isn’t exactly a unanimous answer to this question. Many property owners and managers disagree on whether or not you should give out gifts to your tenants during the holiday season.

Some property managers and landlords find giving a Christmas present a must, seeing it as a nice gesture that will create a foundation of goodwill, increasing the likelihood that your tenants will stay longer.

However, others find it dated, and if not properly managed it can make the business relationship between tenants and landlords awkward and complicated.

There is no clear right or wrong answer to this question, making it a more complex problem for homeowners to solve. But do not worry ; the Smart Property Investment team can be your little helpers! Let’s explore the pros and cons of giving gifts in a tenant-landlord relationship to get a better perspective on this concept.

The Benefits of Landlord Giving Vacation Gifts to Renters

Here are some reasons why you should consider giving gifts to your tenants this holiday season.

  • Improves the business relationship between owner and tenants. Fostering your business relationships with your tenants is always a good thing. Business people see value in giving gifts to their contacts, customers, service providers and business partners to express their appreciation. The same can be said of landlords giving Christmas gifts to their tenants during the Christmas season.
  • Potentially improves tenant retention. When you have high quality tenants that you would like to encourage to stay for the long term, even small tokens of appreciation can foster goodwill and make them more likely to renew their leases.
  • Rewards the good behavior of tenants. If your tenants have been good all year, always paid their rent on time, kept the property in top condition, and plan to stay another year, then giving them little gifts will be appreciated.
  • Promotes goodwill. Proactively building positive relationships can help encourage tenants to continue to take good care of your rental property and to be more considerate when you fail to resolve issues immediately. After all, goodwill generally reflects goodwill.
  • Inexpensive gifts can be offered. As the saying goes, big things come in small packages. This can also apply to Christmas gifts for tenants. A small gift can go a long way and will almost certainly be welcomed by any renter.

The Cons of Landlords Giving Renters Christmas Gifts

There are a lot of great reasons to give gifts during the holiday season, but there are a few potential downsides as well. Keep all of these ideas in mind when making your choice.

  • Additional time is needed to organize gifts from tenants. The holiday season can be a busy time for property owners and managers. For some, the summer season is the perfect time to do renovations and maintenance of their rental properties. For others, it’s a good time to get up and take a well-deserved vacation. So, if you are pressed for time and doing some extra shopping for your tenants isn’t your cup of tea, you might want to wait around giving gifts.
  • Makes the business arrangement too personal. Some owners prefer to keep the relationship strictly professional. Some landlords believe that handing out Christmas presents will give tenants the wrong idea and could change the relationship dynamic into more than just a business relationship.
  • Costs money. The practice of homeowners giving even small Christmas gifts can add up over the holidays and take a portion of their allotted budget for renovations and other upcoming upgrades that they have planned for their rental properties.
  • Could make your relationship with your tenants strained. If tenants (especially long-term tenants) are used to receiving gifts and don’t receive them, they could be upset in the years to come.

Gift ideas for your tenants

The key to giving tenants gifts is to keep them small. If you buy something extravagant, it could give tenants the wrong idea. They may have the misconception that the gifts they received were bought with their rent money, so it’s best to keep things small.

It will also avoid future disappointments if you decide to cut back on your giveaways in the years to come.

If you’ve decided that giving small gifts to your tenants is a smart business decision for you, here are some great ideas on what you can give your tenants.

Gift cards are easily the best and most suitable option for renters. Whether you choose to send a gift card to the local grocery store, local cafe, or favorite restaurant, this is a gift almost any renter can use. And if they don’t want to use it personally, they can easily pass it on to someone who will find it useful.

Another plus is that gift cards aren’t too personal, so you don’t have to worry too much about what people like and don’t like when giving this gift. Even renters who aren’t so comfortable sharing the personal details of their lives with their landlords are unlikely to be offended by such a neutral but thoughtful gift.

This is a great idea, especially for renters who are relatively new to your area. You can offer them a basket of local products and sweets, such as seasonal fruits, a bottle of wine from local cellars, jams, honey, chocolate or other tasty treats. To help narrow down your options, think about what you like to get when you’re having a rough day, and then consider adding it to your cart.

It’s also a fantastic way to give them a ‘taste’ of parts of the area that they might not yet be aware of, and another plus is that you can help local businesses in the process!

If you’re more practical, you can donate household supplies like paper towels, wipes, napkins and more! Although these gifts appear to be not romantic ”and not exactly festive, these are necessities that most renters would like to avoid purchasing and would be a welcome addition to their home.

To be on the safe side, try not to buy anything that can be seen as rude (like toilet bowl cleaner!) And choose items that can be used throughout the home for any type of tenant.

  • Personalized accessories and decorations

If you are close to your tenants, you can opt for a personalized decoration. A pillow or doormat with their last name on it is a great idea, but you can also go for something more holiday-themed, like a little decoration or a Christmas bauble. As we said, it’s a gift best reserved for tenants you know well.

If you don’t know your tenants too well, it can be a bit awkward to give them a gift of this nature. Nonetheless, it’s best at your own discretion to decide whether or not it works for your situation!

To give or not to give? Ultimately, it’s up to you

Should we offer Christmas gifts to tenants? Ultimately, the choice is yours. To help you relax, most renters don’t expect freebies, so they usually won’t feel like they’ve missed something if you decide not to.

However, going the extra mile with a Christmas present will go a long way in building personal relationships with your tenants to promote high retention rates and make communication a bit easier over the coming year.

The best way to decide is to consider the expectations you want to set for your tenants.

As we said before, there is no right or wrong answer. Instead, you need to weigh the pros and cons that apply to your situation, and then make your decision.

And while Christmas gifts can lead to favorable results, remember that this is not the only way to improve relationships with your tenants. Be creative! Landlords who don’t find Christmas presents to be an appealing idea can use small rent bonuses, rental upgrades, and just a simple vacation card to connect with their tenants in a whole new way.

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Should landlords give tenants Christmas gifts?



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Last updated: December 22, 2021

Posted: 23 December 2021