I give my tenants a small gift around the holidays; just some chocolates or something simple and consumable in the $5.00 range. The purpose of this is to show them that I value the relationship; they are really my “clients,” after all. Also, it makes me look like the nicest landlord EVER. (When you were renting, did you ever get a holiday gift from YOUR landlord?)
If something breaks in their apartment, I always try to replace it with something nicer than what was there. You wouldn’t believe how much some tenants will appreciate a new, stylish kitchen faucet.
These things, while done in the spirit of tenant-retention, won’t necessarily make a tenant stay longer; moving is often due to other factors. However, they send a message to the tenant that you care about the apartment, you value your relationship with them, and want to keep them happy.
Since I live in the lower unit of my duplex, maintaining a good relationship with my tenants is very important to my quality of life. Also, I’m also counting on them to take good care of their apartment, so keeping them happy is a good business move.