How to make tenants feel at home this Christmas

As businesses up and down the country prepare their corporate gifts and Christmas cards for customers and clients, we ask, are landlords doing the same? After all, buy-to-let is a business and tenants are customers, and potentially long-standing ones at that.

Despite many landlords opting to keep the relationship with their tenants strictly professional, recent research revealed how70% of tenants who receive an act of kindness stay in their property longer than those who don’t.

So, spreading some seasonal cheer this festive season could actually benefit your buy-to-let business too – you could encourage average tenants to be better and keep great tenants for longer.

Inspired by our Partners’ generosity, we have some great gift and thoughtful gesture ideas for landlords.

Decorating the property

Most privately rented properties are let to a single household, limiting a landlords’ access. So while you won’t be able to enter the property and decorate it yourself, you could make it clear what kinds of decorations are permitted, or perhaps even provide them with a box of bits and pieces?

Lots of people enjoy hanging paper chains on the walls or exterior lights. Allowing tenants to do this, while stressing that no damage should be made to the property, will show goodwill.

However, if you’re a landlord of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) with several tenants in one property, you could surprise tenants by making the communal areas look festive.

Take Platinum Property Partner (PPP), Liam Gallagher, for example. Him and his wife Claire provided their tenants with mini Christmas trees and ensured that the communal areas of their HMO were decorated with tinsel and other festive paraphernalia.

Liam said: “It was certainly appreciated, In fact, our seasoned house share tenants had never had anything like that and thought we were buttering them up for bad news!”

Giving gifts

We’re not saying that landlords should give a month’s free rent or top up gas and electricity meters, but just a small token of appreciation can go a long way.

From as little as a Christmas card or chocolates to glorious hampers filled with goodies or shopping vouchers, it’s up to you how much you spend and how much thought you put in to your gift.

For Gertie Owen, giving surprises is one of her three key principles of running her buy-to-let business: “I like to go the extra mile for my housemates. I love Christmas, so as well as sending everyone a card and small present, I always make sure I decorate the houses with a tree and garlands on the stairways and communal mirrors.

"I send each house a hamper made up of wine, beer, chocolates and mince pies. The amount of emails I get back thanking me makes it all worth-while.”

Winter health checks

Some areas of the country have already experienced one of the worst winters on record, so whilst material gifts are likely to be greatly appreciated by tenants, no one wants a cold home or burst pipe over Christmas.

Offering them a winter health check on the property can avoid unwanted calls in the early hours of Christmas day and guarantee you and your tenant a warm winter.

Just taking some time out of your day to check boilers and central heating systems, door and window fittings and damp or leaky roofs could save you a distressing call from a tenant, and also some money!

*** Give yourself the gift of an easy and stress-free letting this Christmas by showing your tenants just a little appreciation. Having a friendly yet professional relationship with them is more valuable than you think.