It seems obvious, but it’s something that’s often overlooked by landlords, property managers, and HOAs alike: Happy residents are good residents, and the ones who are most likely to stick around in the long term.
Believe it or not, keeping people happy doesn’t need to cost a fortune. You don’t need to make a grand gesture to show your residents that you appreciate them. Even a hand-written note that says how much you enjoy having them as a part of your community can go a long way.
This season, round out the year by focusing on resident appreciation. Here are a few ways to spread the holiday cheer within your community.
Resident Appreciation Ideas for the Holiday Season: #1
Light It Up
It’s amazing how happy a few well-placed LED lights can make us during the holidays. You can keep it simple by putting flameless candles in the windows, or you can create an over-the-top display on the lawn of your property. We typically prefer an understated look that will appeal to all residents far and wide, including prospective residents touring units during the holidays.
Inside, add holiday lighting to the common areas. Consider decorating a Christmas tree for all residents to see, or hang lighted wreaths and garlands in doorways. There are so many ways to play with lighting displays during the holidays–and this time of year, you can typically find a string of 100 incandescent lights for under $5 at your local pharmacy or hardware store.
Resident Appreciation Ideas for the Holiday Season: #2
Dish Out Tasty Treats
For one weekend every December, my kitchen turns into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I spend hours upon hours baking cookies, candies, and other decorative sweets. I buy pretty boxes and tins to package the goodies, and then deliver a set to each resident with a card thanking them for another great year. It’s not much, but it’s the thought that counts.
A simpler option would be to order a pie for each tenant, or to leave a dish of holiday candy in the common area for all to enjoy. If you’re going to do the latter, just be sure that someone is checking in every so often to replenish the stash throughout the holidays!
Resident Appreciation Ideas for the Holiday Season: #3
Give a Small Gift
Most residents never expect a gift from their landlord, property manager, or HOA–which makes the gesture that much more impactful. Gifts should certainly be small, such as a $15 gift certificate to the neighborhood grocery store. If you have a good relationship with the tenants and can personalize the gift, that’s even better. For instance, I know that one of my tenants grabs coffee every morning on his way to work, so he’d love a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card. Another tenant has a newborn baby, so $20 to Babies-R-Us would certainly be put to good use. Just be sure to keep the gift small and simple, with a note that thanks them for being great residents or neighbors.
Resident Appreciation Ideas for the Holiday Season: #4
Host a Holiday Party
You might be thinking, “But I only have 5 residents!” That’s okay–whether you have 5 residents or 500, a holiday party can be a great way for neighbors to get to know one another. When neighbors form positive relationships with one another, they tend to stick around longer–and fewer issues come up.
The format of the holiday party may vary depending on your resident profile. For instance, in properties with young children, you may consider inviting Santa to pose for photographs with the kids. Other ideas include a gift wrapping party, a Yankee Swap, a beer and wine mixer, or a pot luck supper (where management could provide an enticing main course).
If you’re struggling to determine which type of event residents would be most inclined to attend, shoot out a quick survey. Residents often love to give feedback and will often come up with an idea you had never considered!
Resident Appreciation Ideas for the Holiday Season: #5
Team Up to Give Back
The holidays are a great time to give back to the community–but you shouldn’t have to do so alone. Consider engaging residents with a canned food or toy drive, or asking residents to join you in “adopting” a local family who cannot afford gifts of their own this year. This differs from most tenant appreciation ideas in that you aren’t doing something specifically for residents, but it shows a different side of management and encourages camaraderie.
Spreading the holiday cheer isn’t just good for morale–it’s good for business. Residents who feel at home are less likely to leave, which reduces turnover and potential vacancies. Most of these suggestions, from small gift certificates to holiday decorations, are also tax-deductible.
However you decide to celebrate, just keep in mind that your residents may have a variety of religious beliefs. It’ll be a failed effort if you end up offending someone, so we suggest keeping all events, gifts, and decorations agnostic during the holidays–better to be safe than sorry!
Amanda Maher is a self-proclaimed policy wonk who dabbles in real estate law. Amanda holds a B.S. in Political Science and Sociology from Boston University, as well as a Masters in Urban and Regional Policy from Northeastern.