​Should you buy your tenant a Christmas present?

What do tenants really expect from landlords at this time of year?

Landlord advice

29 March 2017

The festive season is fast approaching, and with it the perennial question of who to send cards and gifts to.

As a landlord, you face an additional conundrum – do you get into the full Christmas spirit and send your tenant a gift? It's not just about being good-natured – there are business reasons to reward a good tenant, and some risks too...

A time to be grateful

Christmas is a time to be grateful for what we have, and many landlords are lucky with their tenants. As well as paying their rent on time, good tenants are as important as buy-to-let insurance when protecting your property investment.

Promptly reporting maintenance issues like leaks, damp and other damage helps keep your property in tip-top condition, and many tenants put in more than their fair share of the work. Obeying rules like avoiding big parties, not smoking and not having pets are often prerequisites for essentials like landlord cover, but keeping the building clean, tidy and well-maintained is an invaluable asset.

The business case

In any business, rewarding loyal customers can help keep them happy. In our survey of tenants, 46% of respondents said that their relationship is neither good nor bad, and 25% have never spoken to their landlord at all. Creating a positive relationship can encourage good tenants to stay at your property, and keep treating it well. Another survey found that 70% of tenants who’d received an act of kindness stayed in a property for at least two years, compared to just 53% of those who didn’t.

Is it worth it?

The counter-argument is that landlords and tenants should have a platonic business relationship, which doesn’t require sentimentalities. We also found that many tenants believe their relationship with their landlord would improve if landlords were easier to contact and more prompt with repairs, rather than if they sent cards and gifts. What’s more, you could argue that good tenants will remain good tenants whether they're rewarded or not.

The right rewards

When making the decision, it’s ultimately about how you want your relationship with your tenants to proceed. While grand gestures or overly personal items might cross a boundary in a professional relationship, that doesn’t preclude a small token of gratitude for good tenants. And after all, even a card is a sign that you’re willing to communicate and deal with repairs – for the benefit of both sides. 

Of course, it’s no substitute for comprehensive landlord insurance, but a nice Christmas card and a gesture of goodwill could improve your working relationship with tenants, and leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling this Christmas.