Tip #36

Provide Bathroom Essentials on Move-In Day

Written on December 12, 2013 by , updated on September 1, 2016

Bathroom Essentials on Move-In DayOut of all the “welcome gifts” that I’ve given to my tenants on move-in days past, the gesture that is often appreciated the most is a package of basic bathroom essentials.

Over the last 8 years of managing my rental properties, I’ve tried many things to help get the landlord-tenant relationship off to a great start, of which included welcome notes, gift cards, local maps of the city.

Nothing works as well as toilet paper.

Tenants seems to appreciate toilet paper more than anything else. Weird, huh?

Not really.

More often than not, a tenant’s toiletries will be buried in a box, and they usually don’t realize that a shower liner is not standard issue with an unfurnished rental.

Moving day is hard work. Your tenants will be exhausted and stinky. And taking a shower is messy without a curtain liner.

My typical Welcome Gift ($10):

  1. Toilet Paper – 1 Roll (I like Scott brand because it comes individually wrapped and I can buy a single roll at the grocery store) – $2.00
  2. Small Bar of Soap (hotel sized) $1.00
  3. Paper Towels – 1 Roll (the grocery store has single rolls) $3.00, and
  4. A Shower Liner (just the liner, not the curtain) – $4.00.

It’s not really about the TP

By providing basic bathroom essentials to help them get through their first week, you are sending the message that you are looking out for them. This is just one step to help you create amazing tenants for yourself.

In my opinion, a feeling of being cared for is the best “first impression” a landlord could ever ask for. And better yet, that feeling of safety will be carried forward by your tenant for the remainder of the lease.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can include a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, and a $15 gift card to the local pizza delivery restaurant.

So What? – The benefits for the Landlord

Your tenants will be happier, and will respect you for it – thus decreasing the chances of late rent, neglect, and poor cleaning habits.

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21 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Shannon Slattery

    This couldn’t be more spot-on. I remember moving into my new place and after a long, hot day shuffling boxes I wanted to take a shower. Only to realize there was no towels, no liner etc. Ugh! Ended up taking a shower with no liner and drip-drying. Got water all over the bathroom floor. Not enjoyable in the slightest…but hey, I was CLEAN! :) If a landlord could swing a cheap bath towel, I would suggest that as well. Oftentimes, you can pick up your standard issue white towel for under $5.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hey Shannon!

      The towel is a nice addition to the list! I hadn’t thought of that one.

      I was just focusing on the disposable items. But I think that I might even be able to pick up a cheap set of towels at the dollar store.

      However, it’s worth saying that a landlord shouldn’t expect to have the towel returned – so I wouldn’t let at tenant borrow any of my personal towels.

      Once the tenant unpacks, that towel will be missing in action, and I even so, I wouldn’t really want it back…. you know?

  • Lars

    I hadn’t planned on it, but I left a case of TP, new bottles of dish soap, dishwasher soap, laminate floor mop with solution, and a bunch of cleaning supplies. It was all stuff suited specifically for their new place, and I didn’t need to bring it with me.
    The tenants were thankful.
    The towel and shower curtain is a great idea. I left them an unopened shower curtain so they would know it was new.
    This is the type of stuff that sets a great tone for the landlord-tenant relationship.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Lars,

      Your comment made me smile. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one that leaves things in the original packaging so the tenant will know it’s new.

      I do that with shower curtains too. In fact, I supposed I do that with everything on this list – soap, paper towels, TP (Scott Brand), and some other items like plastic hypo-allergenic mattress cases.

  • Jessa Berkey

    I really love this idea! It’s the little extra “polish” that establishes a positive relationship with your tenant from the beginning and lets them know, up front, that you pay close attention to the details. It’s a friendly gesture and reminder all wrapped up in one.

    • Lucas Hall

      That’s right! It’s a great way to let your tenants know that you are a detailed oriented person – you address issues quickly, and even have a green translucent visor that you put on when you review the rent ledger.

      Besides that, this tactic works well because everyone loves feeling like someone cares about them.

  • Brandon Turner | BiggerPockets

    Lucas – excellent idea! I love it :) I’m definitely going to start trying this. It really is a minor cost but I can see the benefits of it. Definitely starts things off on the right foot!

  • Julie

    These are all great ideas. If the unit has a smooth top range, I will leave a bottle of special cleaner for it to get them started. I also leave new toilet brushes for each toilet. They are the ones with a holder for $1 from Dollar Tree. After I saw a new tenant had purchased a toilet brush and left it leaning against the bathroom wall – YUCK – I immediately went out and bought HER one with a holder. See, it’s not one gender or the other that does yucky stuff to your place! So, now every toilet gets a new, still in the wrapper, toilet brush for the new tenant’s convenience.

    • Lucas Hall

      Julie,

      That’s awesome! I would have never thought to buy a new $1 toilet brush (and holder) but it makes complete sense!!! I love keeping the wrapper on things for the tenant, just so they know the item is new.

      Thanks for sharing, and it’s great to meet you.

    • Brian

      I agree on the cleanliness thing. My tenants have suprised me. I spray and change filters every other month and I floored at how wrong I was on my personal assessment of their level of cleanliness. One good thing…cleaniness is not a protected class. I simply tell prospective tenants, “I do not rent to dirty people.” Trick I learned on that…follow them to their car after a showing. The state of their car will be the state of your unit within weeks.

  • Brian

    I LOVE THIS ONE!! I have made a note page on my phone to do this from now on. EXCELLENT IDEA!!!

  • Janeen

    We’ve just purchased our first two rental properties. I was searching for information on ways to really help your tenant feel welcome and to build a good tenant/landlord relationship, and this really hit the spot! It’s exactly what I was looking for, and I really wouldn’t have known to give these kinds of gifts, but it makes so much sense! I’m looking forward to the whole process!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Janeen,

      I’m really happy that this tip helped you. Hit me up if you have any other questions. If you’re looking for a great way to accept applications, screen tenants with credit reports, and collect rent electronically, you should check out Cozy (https://cozy.co). In full disclaimer, I work at Cozy, but also independently use it to manage my properties. I think it’s the best tool for small asset landlords like you and me.

      • Janeen

        We did look at Cozy, and I’m impressed with how much is offered at such a reasonable price. We’ll definitely be using it!

  • Wende

    This is a topic my husband and I have been discussing as we will be renting out 2 units this fall. Originally I thought to leave flowers with a welcome note which led to my husband suggesting we leave a welcome basket. However our only idea thus far had been replacement batteries for the smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. Love all of the ideas in the article & willbe utilizing them! I am left with one question, do you also include shower curtain rings? Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Wende!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I do include shower rings if they are not already present. However, I usually opt for the cheap plastic kind – that only cost a 2-4 dollars at Target. If the tenants want better ones, they can buy them, but at least they’ll be able to take a shower on move-in day.

      Thanks for your comment!

  • Carol Charvet

    We always leave TP, paper towels, hand soap, one shower curtain/liner, any special cleaners that I would like used, such as for the floors or the cooktop. Last week I left behind a clearance set of towels and washcloths that I used for staging the photos and got a nice email “thank you” from the tenants. Nice to start off on the right foot!

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