Accepting or Giving Gifts to Tenants for the Holidays
The holiday season includes giving (and getting) gifts. As a landlord, you’ll probably receive numerous gifts from vendors and other business partners as a way to thank you for your business. You may wonder about passing that goodwill on to your tenants. Should you give them a gift, and if so, what are the guidelines? And what about those loyal tenants who want to give you a gift?
Why Giving Gifts to Tenants is a Good Idea
Handled correctly, giving gifts to your tenants is a great way to inspire loyalty and goodwill. Your tenants will appreciate being recognized as more than just a rent payment.
When you do give a gift, you should express your intentions in words. Just a quick note thanking them for their tenancy will let them know how you feel. If you only have a few small properties, you may even want to personalize the note with the tenant's name.
What Kind of Gift to Give
Gift baskets and gift cards are always popular with tenants. Try to consider the recipients when selecting a gift. For example, if most of your residents are college students, consider gift cards to Amazon or iTunes. For single professionals, you might give a small household tool kit. While you are responsible for major repairs, they can tighten a loose screw if they have the tools.
One of the most popular options is money off the next month’s rent. Nothing commands attention like money, and it will show that you care about more than just earning a profit.
Throw a party for your residents. It doesn’t have to be lavish or time-consuming. You can schedule a specific time for a couple of hours when everyone can get together, or you can host an open house where people drop by a common area or the leasing office when they have time. A few cookies and snacks with soda will make a big impression without taking up a lot of time.
Gifts From Tenants Who Love You
Most of the time, your tenants will consider paying the rent your annual holiday gift. However, there are a few who may want to show their appreciation in other ways. If you went above and beyond or made exceptions to the rules to help them out, they may take the holidays as a time to express their thanks.
Receiving a gift can be more difficult than giving one. In most instances, it will be a nice Christmas card with a batch of cookies or loaf of homemade bread. You can easily accept these gifts in the spirit with which they were sent. However, you may feel uncomfortable accepting a gift with a higher price tag, such as a gift card for a fancy restaurant or an expensive bottle of wine.
Accepting gifts isn’t illegal, but it can make you feel uncomfortable. You may feel it insinuates a special relationship that you don’t have with other tenants. In this case, the best option may be to politely decline the gift. You can offer an alternative, such as asking them to make a donation to your favorite charity. Always acknowledge their gift with appreciation, even if you are declining it.
Use the holidays as a time to foster positive feelings between you and your tenants for the rest of the year and into the next one. At the same time, make sure you maintain a professional relationship in all of your decisions.
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