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It's December, Renters. Time to Tip the Building Staff

If you rent an apartment, chances are someone keeps up the property and cleans up after you. And if they do a halfway decent job sweeping the hallway or shoveling snow, you should also do a halfway decent job of tipping them.

We realize you might be renting your place directly from the landlord, with no middleman and no staff. If that's the case, then let's be clear—we aren't saying you should tip your landlord. (That's called rent.) But if the building has a super, a doorman, or cleaning staff, consider lining their pockets this holiday season.

A recent survey by Rent.com found that only 39 percent of renters who live in an apartment tip their building staff. Most people tip small—less than $25. If you need to go really small, just a few dollars, you can fancy up the gift by putting it in a card or baking some cookies.

"Cash will always be king," says Rent.com's Kari Taylor, but a personal touch can make up for a smaller cash tip.

There's no magic number, but the size of your tip should depend on the size of your income, the swankiness of the building, and how much work these people actually do on your behalf. If your building has a doorman who routinely signs for your Amazon packages and tells your ex-girlfriends you've moved out, then that doorman deserves a good-sized tip. You can probably skip it, though, for the cleaning lady who shows up every six months and Lysols the elevator keypad.

A Curbed NY tipping guide reader shares this strategy:

I live in a Rudin rental building. If the doormen sit on a bench all day and make a fuss about having to get up, in my opinion they should get nothing.There are usually two standing around my building entry arguing or chatting while we get our own door. There is one that is helpful, the newest. He gets cabs, helps with packages, you know, things he is supposed to do. Unlike the others he hasn't started grunting "sup" at the residents and texting all day, standing in the door instead of opening it. I'll probably give him a hundred bucks, he's a nice guy.

Whatever number you decide upon, give the tip earlier in the month so the staff member has time to use it for holiday shopping. And when in doubt, talk to a renter who's been there longer than you about protocol. It may help you avoid uncomfortable interactions in the year to come.
· How Much to Give Your Building Staff: The Annual Guide [Curbed NY]