Can Landlords claim for time spent doing DIY renovation and redecoration?

The short answer is no, you cannot claim tax relief for the time you spend on DIY jobs in your own rental property.

But you can claim for other expenses, such as the materials used, if you pay for them yourself and they are evidenced.

Landlords allowable expenses:

  • Vehicle running costs; proportionate to the amount you use your vehicle in direct relation to your property rental business.
  • Maintenance and repairs, but not improvements; this can be a tricky one to distinguish.
  • Mortgage interest.
  • Letting agent and management fees.
  • Landlord accountancy costs.
  • Energy bills, council tax, water rates.
  • Services, such as cleaners and gardeners.
  • Legal fees for renewing a lease for up to 50 years, or for up to a year.
  • Landlords’, contents and public liability insurances.
  • Directly related costs like stationery, advertising, phone calls.

Seeing the difference between expenses that are allowable and are not allowable in this area of the tax world can be quite tricky.

Landlord expenses that are not allowable:

  • Personal expenses; nothing that is not ‘wholly and exclusively’ for your rental business can be claimed. This includes private phone calls.
  • Your clothing; smart attire for business related meetings is not allowable, because it has the dual purpose of protecting your body.
  • Full mortgage payments; only the mortgage interest basic rate finance costs restriction is allowable.

Repairs and improvements for landlords

But the main point of difficulty for good landlords is the distinction between work that is ‘maintenance’ and ‘improvements’.

Repairs and “replacing a part of the property with the nearest modern equivalent” are considered allowable. A repair “restores an asset to its original condition”, according to HMRC.

Maintenance means anything that is an improvement, like replacing an old laminate kitchen surface with a new granite one, would not be allowable.

The upgrade element is the distinguishing factor. Redecorating is usually allowable as maintenance.

Even on initial purchase, this isn’t straightforward. If the property needs repair work done and it is in a liveable state, these costs would generally be allowable.

But if it is in a state of dilapidation, the repair costs may not be allowable if you paid a reduced rate because of its condition.

Landlord capital expenses

All is not lost, actual improvements may generate some capital gains tax relief when you sell the property.

These ‘capital expenses’ must add and maintain a value up to the point of selling the property to qualify.

For example: a new security system, putting in a higher spec kitchen or bathroom and building an extension.

You must keep records of all of these expenses as you may be eligible for tax relief on your capital gains tax bill when you sell the property.

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