Can tenants go overboard with holiday lights especially in a multifamily property?  That is this week’s question for veteran landlord, property manager and real estate investor Hank Rossi.

Dear Landlord Hank:

Do you have any rules for Christmas lights or yard art tenants can put up outside your rentals? We just saw a tenant nailing up lights to the frame around the front door and are concerned about how far this could go in terms of potential damage. We don’t want to be the Grinch, but what is reasonable?


Dear Landlady Sarah,

I understand your concerns and sometimes residents don’t use the best judgement in holiday decorating.

I make sure tenants know that they are not permitted to get on the roof, nor attach anything to the structure of the property by any intrusive means-no nails, no staples, etc. but there are many other options that don’t damage anything.

I’ve had folks use zip ties, string, wire, putty, hooks with adhesive, tape, winding lights around columns, you get the idea.

Holiday yard art could be an issue

Yard art could be problematic depending upon the situation.

If this is a single-family home you are talking about, then the more the merry, in my opinion. The lawn won’t be damaged as the grass isn’t growing, in cold climates.

Multifamily properties are different

If this is a multifamily property, I like tenants to keep the decorations confined to their own units or balconies or porch.

Holiday celebration in this manner is a very good sign to me. It means that your tenant is thinking of your place as home.

Most folks take care of their home, they want to stay and make more family memories and they may be putting down roots.

Long-term tenants are stable assets that I like to groom.

But do what feels right for you and your situation.

If you haven’t set some boundaries, maybe you could talk to your tenants? See what they have in mind, as far as decorating? Then,  you can give them some pointers.

Happy Holidays!


Hank Rossi

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tenants and holiday lights

Landlord Hank at work on one of his properties.