Here’s a statement you don’t hear too often – “Wow … my landlord gave me a gift this holiday season!”
Sending/giving holiday gifts once a year to your tenants (customers) promotes good will, lets them know you appreciate them, can turn bad tenants into better ones and makes it a little easier for them to write those rent checks all year long. Everyone wants to be appreciated and a small token of thanks can go a long way.
Here are a few ideas that will show your tenants you appreciate their business and who knows … that great tenant getting ready to move just may change his mind.
Everyone loves gift cards. You can enclose them in a holiday card with a note that says, “Thanks for being a great tenant” or in some cases… “Thanks for being our tenant”. Here are some inexpensive gift card ideas for you to consider:
- Movie Tickets
- Restaurants (Pollo Loco, Subway, etc.)
- Grocery Stores
- Pizza Delivery
- WalMart, Target, K-Mart
- Baskin-Robbins or Neighborhood Ice Cream Stores
Gift Baskets/Online Deliveries
You can personalize gift baskets for smaller buildings or conveniently order online for delivery from a vast number of companies:
- Cookies and hot chocolate
- Pasta Night Basket (package of spaghetti, bottled sauce, bottle of wine)
- Cheese and meat
- Coffee and Tea
- Kitchen Basket (potholders, dish towels, cutting board)
(I suggest you avoid candles and plants. Candles can be dangerous and some plants are poisonous to pets or may cause allergic reactions.)
Think about that gift that keeps on giving – something that will offer your tenant a service and also benefit you in the long run. Give options and let your tenants choose from one of the following:
- Offer a one-day maid/cleaning service
- Install a ceiling fan
- Paint a room
- Replace those old blinds
- Buy a new appliance
- Shampoo carpets
Who doesn’t like money? Most experts, however, do not recommend a rent reduction for the month so if you choose this option, do so in a VISA or MasterCard gift card for $25 or $50. This gift is especially appreciated around the holiday season.
Can I Write These Gifts Off?
Gifts to tenants are an allowable business expense on your federal income taxes, but they are subject to limits. If you give someone a gift for business purposes, your business expense deduction is limited to $25 per person per year.
Remember …it’s not the size of the gift that matters. It’s the gesture. Even a card with a $5 Starbucks gift card can demonstrate your appreciation, thanks and help to create a better relationship with your tenants. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all!
Patricia A. Harris is Senior Editor of the Apartment Owners News & Buyers Guide.