While it might be out of character, expensive and inappropriate to buy gifts for each tenant during the holiday season, just a little bit of thought and effort from property managers can lift spirits and prompt a lot of goodwill during the coming year.

  • Don’t Worry; Be Happy: You might dread winter weather, but you can warm the public spaces in a building with visual and sensory hints of the season. Place a simple Norfolk pine in a pot in the lobby; add bowls of cinnamon-scented pine cones inappropriate places, or drape pine boughs and decorative bows over your entry doors. Think about a portable radio for soft music in your office. Keep decorations simple; keep a smile on your face, and keep both current tenants and site visitors happy. Also, remember your employees with personalized holiday notes, even if holiday bonuses come with their paychecks.
  • Ask for Feedback: As any property manager knows, satisfied tenants are the keys to a happy and prosperous new year. This is the time, during the final days of 2015, to cement alliances with existing tenants and to build outstanding relationships with your new or prospective move-ins. Think about including a “rating form” with a personalized holiday greeting hand-delivered to each tenant. Offer a small incentive, such as a gift card or finders fee for referrals.
  • Seek Constructive Criticism: Install a suggestion box, and make it clear that suggestions can be anonymous. You might not like some of the ideas, and many of them may not be actionable, but you should get an idea of what problems exist. It is then up to you to make changes where possible, and to alter procedures when necessary. Personally thank or follow up with anyone who takes the time to respond and leave a name.
  • Circulate a List of Resolutions: No, don’t get personal, but compile a reasonable “New Year Checklist.” Include items that can impact a tenant’s comfort and safety: Replace batteries in smoke alarms; stock up on a flashlight and portable radio batteries in case of winter power outages, check all faucets for drips and leaks, replace filters on kitchen vent fans and furnaces, check latches on doors, windows and gates.

Forge partnerships with your tenants; encourage them to report small inconveniences — both interior and exterior — to you before they become major problems. If they notice fluctuations in water pressure or other plumbing inconsistencies, you might want to schedule a building system review to assess the problem and nip it in the bud.

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