Should landlords give tenants Christmas gifts?

By Zarah Mae Torrazo 23 December 2021 | 1 minute read

Should landlords give tenants Christmas gifts? We give you the lowdown on handing out presents during the holiday season.

Should landlords give tenants Christmas gifts

A common question often by landlords and property managers is whether they should give Christmas gifts to their renters.

And there isn’t exactly a unanimous answer to this question. Many landlords and property managers don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on whether or not you should dole out gifts to your tenants during the holiday season. 

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

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

There isn’t a clear right or wrong answer to this question, and that makes it a more complex issue for landlords to address. But don’t 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 gain a better perspective on this concept.

The pros of landlords giving holiday gifts to tenants

Here are some 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 in giving gifts to their contacts, clients, service providers and business partners to express their appreciation. The same can be said of landlords giving Christmas gifts to their tenants during the Yuletide season.
  • Potentially improves tenant retention. When you have high-quality renters that you would like to encourage to stay for the long haul, even just small tokens of appreciation can promote goodwill and make them more likely to renew their lease.
  • Rewards good tenant behaviour. If your tenants have been good all year, always paid rent money on time, kept the property in tip-top shape and plan to remain for another year, then giving them small gifts will be appreciated. 
  • Promotes goodwill. Proactively building positive relations can help encourage renters to continue caring well for your rental property and be more considerate when you are unable to resolve issues straight away. After all, goodwill usually reflects goodwill.
  • Inexpensive gifts can be given. As the saying goes, great things come in small packages. This can also apply to Christmas gifts for renters. A small gift can go a long way and will almost certainly be welcomed by any tenant. 

The cons of landlords giving Christmas gifts to renters

There are a lot of good reasons to give gifts during the festive season, but there are also some potential drawbacks. Keep all of these ideas in mind while making your choice.

  • Extra time is needed to organise tenant gifts. The holiday season can be a busy time for landlords and property managers. For some, the summer season is a perfect time to do renovations and maintenance on their rental properties. For others, it’s a good time to put their feet up and take some much-needed time off. So if you’re crunched for time and doing some extra shopping for your renters is not your cup of tea, you may want to hold off on the gift-giving. 
  • Makes the business arrangement too personal. Some property owners prefer to keep the relationship strictly professional. Some landlords feel that handing out Christmas gifts will give renters the wrong idea and could change the dynamics of the relationship to something other than a simple business relationship. 
  • Costs money. The practice of landlords giving out even small Christmas gifts can add up over the holidays and take a chunk out of their allotted budget for renovations and other upcoming upgrades they have planned for their rental properties.
  • Could make your relationship with your tenants strained. If renters (especially long-term tenants) are used to getting gifts and don’t receive them, they could be upset in future years.  

Gift ideas for your tenants

The key to giving gifts to renters is to keep them small. If you buy anything extravagant, this might give tenants the wrong idea. They may get the wrong idea that the gifts they received were bought with their own rent money, so it’s best to keep things on a small scale.

It will also prevent future disappointments if you decide to scale down on gifts in the coming years. 

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

  • Gift cards

Gift cards are easily the best and appropriate option for tenants. Whether you choose to send a gift card to the local grocery store, the local coffee shop or a favourite restaurant, this is a gift that nearly any tenant can find a use for. And if they don’t want to use it personally, they can easily pass it along to someone who will find a use for it.

Another perk is that gift cards aren’t overly personal, so you don’t need to worry too much about what people like and dislike when giving this gift. Even tenants that aren’t as comfortable sharing personal details of their life with their landlords aren’t likely to be offended by such a neutral but thoughtful gift. 

  • Local produce and goods

This is a great idea, especially for tenants who are relatively new to your area. You can give them a basket of local produce and goodies, such as fruits in season, a bottle of wine from local wineries, jams, honey, chocolate, or other tasty treats. To help narrow your options, think about what you love to get when you’re having a rough day and then consider adding that to your basket.

This is also a fantastic way to introduce them to a “taste” of the parts of the local area they may not be privy to yet, and another upside is that you can help local businesses in the process! 

  • Home supplies

If you’re on the more practical side, you can give away home supplies such as paper towels, wipes, napkins and more! While these gifts seem to be unromantic” and not exactly festive, they’re necessities that most renters would like to skip buying and would be a welcome addition to their homes. 

To be on the safe side, try not to get anything that might be considered rude (like a toilet bowl cleaner!) and choose items that can be used around the whole house for any type of tenant.

  • Personalised accessories and decorations 

If you are close to your tenants, you can opt to get some type of personalised home decor. A pillow or a doormat with their family name on it is a great idea, but you can also go for something more holiday-themed, like a small decoration or a Christmas ornament. As we’ve said, this is a gift best reserved for tenants that you know well.

If you don’t know your tenants that much, it might be a bit awkward to give them a gift of this nature. Still, it’s best to your own discretion to decide if this works for your situation or not!

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

Should you give tenants Christmas gifts? Ultimately, the choice is up to you. To help ease your mind, most tenants don’t expect gifts, so they usually won’t feel like they’ve missed out if you decide against it. 

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

The best way to decide is to consider the expectations that you want to set up 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 favourable results, remember that it’s not the only way to improve relationships with your tenants. Be creative! Landlords that don’t find Christmas gifts to be an appealing idea can use small rent bonuses, rental upgrades, and just a simple holiday card to connect with their tenants in a new way.

Are you dreaming of becoming a property owner in 2022 but don’t know how to start? If you’re a first-time buyer looking to enter the real estate market, check out Smart Property Investment’s brand-new white paper, Why 2022 is the right year to invest for beginners.  

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Should landlords give tenants Christmas gifts?
Should landlords give tenants Christmas gifts
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