Should landlords give Christmas gifts to tenants?


A question often asked by landlords and property managers is whether they should provide Christmas gifts to their tenants.

And there is not really a unanimous answer to this question. Many landlords and property managers disagree on whether or not you should give your tenants gifts during the holiday season.

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

However, others find it dated and if not properly managed 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 helper! 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 Landlords Giving Holiday Gifts to Renters

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

  • Improves the business relationship between landlord and tenants. Fostering your business relationships with your tenants is always a good thing. People in the business world see the value of giving gifts to their contacts, customers, service providers and business partners to express their appreciation. The same can be said of landlords giving Christmas presents to their tenants during the Christmas season.
  • Potentially improves tenant retention. When you have high-quality tenants that you’d 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 lease.
  • Rewards good tenant behavior. If your tenants have been good all year, always paid rent on time, kept the property in pristine condition, and plan to stay another year, then giving them small 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 are unable to resolve issues immediately. After all, goodwill generally reflects goodwill.
  • Inexpensive gifts can be given. 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.

Cons of Landlords Giving Tenants Christmas Gifts

There are plenty of good reasons to give gifts during the holiday season, but there are also some potential downsides. Keep all of these ideas in mind when making your choice.

  • Additional time is required to organize tenant gifts. 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 some well-deserved time off. So if you’re short on time and doing extra shopping for your tenants isn’t your cup of tea, you might want to hold off on gift giving.
  • Makes the business arrangement too personal. Some owners prefer to keep the relationship strictly professional. Some landlords feel that handing out Christmas gifts will give tenants the wrong idea and could change the dynamic of the relationship to something other than just a business relationship.
  • Costs money. The practice of landlords giving away even small Christmas gifts can build up during the holidays and take away part of their allocated budget for upcoming renovations and other improvements 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 for years to come.

Gift ideas for your tenants

The key to giving tenant 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 purchased with their own rent, so it’s best to keep things small.

It will also save you future disappointments if you decide to reduce your gifts in future years.

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 coffee shop, or favorite restaurant, it’s a gift that almost any renter can find helpful. And if they don’t want to use it personally, they can easily pass it on to someone who will find use for it.

Another benefit is that gift cards aren’t too personal, so you don’t need to worry too much about people’s likes and dislikes when giving this gift. Even renters who aren’t as comfortable sharing personal details about their lives with their landlords probably won’t be offended by such a neutral yet 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 delicacies, such as seasonal fruit, a bottle of wine from local wineries, jams, honey, chocolate or other delicacies. To help narrow down your options, think about what you like to get when you’re having a tough day, then consider adding it to your cart.

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

If you’re on the more practical side, you can donate household supplies such as paper towels, wipes, napkins and more! Although these gifts seem to be non-romantic” and not exactly festive, these are necessities that most renters would like to avoid buying and would be a welcome addition to their home.

To be on the safe side, try not to buy anything that might be considered rude (like toilet bowl cleaner!) and choose items that can be used throughout the house 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 could also opt for something more holiday-themed, like a small decoration or a Christmas bauble. As we said, this is a gift best reserved for renters 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. Nevertheless, it is better at your own discretion to decide if it works for your situation or not!

To give or not to give? In the end it’s up to you

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

However, going the extra mile with a Christmas gift will go a long way to building personal relationships with your tenants to promote high retention rates and make communication a little easier in 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 single right or wrong answer. Instead, you must 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 it’s not the only way to improve relations with your tenants. Be creative! Landlords who don’t find Christmas gifts appealing can use small rent bonuses, rental improvements and a simple holiday card to connect with their tenants in a new way.

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Should landlords give Christmas gifts to tenants?

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Last update: January 07, 2022

Posted: December 23, 2021


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