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tax deductions for improvements before the property was let


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Hi all

Another tax question.

We bought a new house in Dec 09, and we kept our old property as the buy to let. Tenant moved in during Dec 09.

We had spent a lot of money on the old house, knowing we would be letting it, during the months leading up to tenant moving in. We were still staying in the house during those months. We replaced carpets and the kitchen floor.

Can I claim those as expenses for the tax year ended April 2010? biggrin.gif

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Hi Martin

If the renovations were done _before_ the tenant moved into the property then they cannot be claimed as a maintenance expense for 2009 / 2010 tax year as the repairs were done before the property was let.

HMRC would view these expenses as property improvements (because you had to improve the property before it could be let). These expenses should be noted as they are Capital expenses and can be offset against any taxable profit that you make on the sale of the property in the future.

Once the tenant has moved into the property then, as a landlord, you need to maintain it and any repairs from then on can be viewed as maintenance "as long as you are maintaining it to the same standard as before".

In other words - painting / decorating / boiler repairs / garden maintenance etc etc etc are all allowable expenses BUT if you were to decide to add a conservatory then HMRC would view this as a Capital expense as you were IMPROVING the property.

Finally, if you need to _replace_ Double Glazing - HMRC used to view this as a property improvement (ie: Capital cost) but now accept this as a maintenance cost.

Hope that helps .... but remember I am a landlord not an accountant !


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I very much doubt it.....but I am not a tax expert..........

You improved your primary residence whilst you were still in occupation......you then bought a new home and then declared your old property/home to HMRC and informed them that your old primary residence was now your BTL.

HMRC I think will want dates of your new property aquisition (land registry print-out) and I think they will turn you down.

Not unsurprisingly I might suggest really.

Yes, you can claim to refurbish a BTL prior to placing a tenant BUT it has to be not your home/residence and empty at time of purchase and undergoing major/minor renovations like bathrooms, kitchens, windows etc. etc.


Edit: Sorry Mark we have both contributed at more or less the same time but we are both singing from the same hymn sheet on our replies. lol

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys,

My apologies if this seems an odd thing to clarify, but it could save me quite a few pounds.

In the case below Melboy says "you can claim to refurbish a BTL prior to placing a tenant", and Trenners says "If the renovations were done _before_ the tenant moved into the property then they cannot be claimed as a maintenance expense".

It is the situation prior to the first tenant moving in that interests me. I have never claimed any repair costs prior to a first let and as my lets are usually quite run down, this can add up. I understand that new kitchens etc are capital costs, however I do spend quite a lot making good prior to habitation. Last year was a bad year for tax so if I can claw any back this year all the better.

I have just finished Leon Hopkin's book "The Landlord's Handbook'; a great reference work. Page 186 says "Costs incurred prior to receiving any rents (up to 7 years before) can be claimed as long as they are for the letting business and not capital in nature.

I would love for anybody with experience of this to say that repair costs (paint, plumbing, electrics, tiles etc) prior to the first let can be claimed and also that they can be back claimed for 7 years. Mind you I would also love interest rates to fall further.

It's a long shot I know


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I think the difference is between buying a property and spending money on it to make it habitable for the rental market AND doing up a property you live in currently and at a later date deciding to rent it out and expecting tax back on that.

So, according to Leon Hopkin's book Martin Y cannot claim tax back on his property as he lived in the original property and did it up for his own benefit prior to deciding to let.

I think the adage of repair, renew, replace is quite relevant here. My accountant always makes me show any work done on my lets under these headings that is the crux of what LH means - I think.


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Correct Mortitia........

I am currently refurbishing a property which may become another additional rental property.....possibly....unless someone makes me an offer to purchase that I can't refuse.

It is having a new bathroom and new kitchen installed plus new windows etc. etc. etc. to make it habitable.

All of this work is tax deductable if I decide to rent the property out because it is not my main residence.

If I don't rent the property out and decide to sell on then I can claim tax relief under Capital Gains rules.


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Many thanks for the info,

It looks as though I have shot myself in the foot a bit by not claiming pre 1st let repair expenses, no wonder I paid so much tax.

I am now digging back through paperwork to determine the true cost.

Has anybody ever made a back claim for expenses missed in a previous year?

The good news is that projects in this fiscal year will now have significantly more costs and with any luck might even make a loss.



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