21 expenses you can claim as a private residential landlord

Being a landlord can be costly. There are so many things to buy and expenses to pay, while repairs and maintenance work can really bump up your costs. Fortunately, many costs can be claimed as allowable…

5 Minute Read

Last Updated: 31st March 2024

Being a landlord can be costly. There are so many things to buy and expenses to pay, while repairs and maintenance work can really bump up your costs. Fortunately, many costs can be claimed as allowable expenses, which can save you a fair few quid when it comes to your Income Tax bill.

Landlord allowable expenses – the basics

  • HMRC allows you to deduct many allowable expenses from your rental income if they’re generated wholly and exclusively as a result of renting out your property.
  • You cannot claim for personal costs. Where there is mixed usage (eg your mobile phone), you can claim part expenses. First you must work out how much of the total cost was created because you’re a landlord.
  • You claim your landlord allowable expenses by summarising them within supplementary tax form SA105, together with your taxable rental income, which you submit with your main annual Self Assessment tax return (SA100), which details your other income, allowances and any other tax reliefs.

21 tax expenses you can claim as a UK landlord

1. Replacing windows

If your tenant breaks a window, they’re likely to be liable for the cost of replacing it. If it’s not their fault (eg it’s a result of vandalism) and you have to pay the window replacement costs, these are claimable as an allowable expense.

2. Roof slates/tiles, guttering

High winds can severely damage property roofs, particularly those of older properties. Landlords can also claim for these repairs as an allowable expense.

Need to know! You don’t have to submit invoices and receipts for maintenance and repair costs with your tax return, but keep them safe, because HMRC can ask to see them as proof.

3. New bathroom

Replacing a shower, bath, wash basin or toilet is fully allowable, as long as you replace “like for like”. The same is true of replacement kitchen sinks, taps, cupboards, etc.

4. Broken boiler

It’s hardly welcome news when a tenant tells you their boiler is on the blink or that it’s packed in altogether. Repairs and like-for-like replacement costs are fully allowable expenses.

Need to know! You can only claim allowable expenses for like-for-like replacements, the value cannot be superior. So, for example, you can’t claim all costs as an allowable expense if you install a shower that’s worth twice as much as the current market value of the shower you’ve taken out, you can only claim for half.

5. Water or gas leaks

Burst pipes can often result in the colder months of the year, while gas leaks can happen at any time. These repair costs are allowable, as are those for electrical faults within your property.

6. Repointing brickwork

Repairing and repointing brickwork on your rental property is another allowable expense, as are stone-cleaning costs. If you decide to do it yourself, the cost of hiring equipment is an allowable expense.

7. Treating damp

The three types of damp often found in properties are condensation damp (caused by poor ventilation), rising damp (when water transfers up into a property from the ground) and penetrating damp (when water leaks into a building through a wall, roof or ceiling).

8. Redecorating

At least every five years is recommended, although you may want to do it between tenancies, based on need. Redecorating is classed as maintaining rather than improving a property, so it’s allowable.

9. Ground rents and service charges

For some rental properties, ground rents and service charges can create significant costs for landlords. Commonly, ground rents range between £250 and £700 a year, but service charges can be up to £2,000 or more a year. Fortunately, both are allowable. 

10. Insurance

Taking out landlord insurance to protect yourself, your property and tenants provides peace of mind. Normal home insurance policies aren’t designed for renting out property, while mortgage lenders usually ask you to take out a landlord policy. Property valuation costs for insurance purposes are an allowable expense for landlords.

11. Utilities

In most cases tenants are responsible for paying these, but there can be gas, electricity and water bills to pay when properties are vacant. These are all allowable expenses.

12. Council Tax

In most instances, tenants are responsible for paying Council Tax due on a property. However, there can be circumstances where a landlord must pay Council Tax, which is an allowable expense.

13. Gardening and cleaning costs

Regular gardening costs can mount up over the year, while professional end-of-tenancy cleaning can cost a few quid, too. Both are allowable – so why do it yourself?

14. Letting agent fees

If you use a letting agent rather than find and manage tenants yourself, you’ll need to pay a tenant-finder fee and a monthly management fee (10-20% of the monthly rent). 

15. Some legal fees

Legal expenses you incur when letting your property for the first time or for more than a year are not allowable. However, expenses for lets of a year or less are. Normal legal and professional fees incurred when renewing a lease of less than 50 years are also allowable. 

Did you know? The cost of evicting an unsatisfactory tenant to relet your property is also an allowable expense.

16. Accountancy fees

Although modern apps make it remarkably easy to keep your own financial records and complete and file your annual Self Assessment tax return, you might need tailored tax advice from an accountant.

17. Phone calls

If you take care of finding and managing tenants yourself, there can be many phone calls to make, whether using your landline or mobile phone. The landlord-related proportion can be claimed as an allowable expense.

18. Subscriptions to landlord associations

There are various regional and national associations that represent UK landlords and joining can bring many membership benefits. You can claim your subs as an allowable expense.

19. Advertising for new tenants

Whether you advertise for new tenants online or offline in your local paper, costs can be deducted as an allowable expense.

20. Vehicle and fuel costs

You may need to use your van, car or motorbike to make journeys linked to managing your property. You can claim the landlord-related proportion of your vehicle and fuel costs as an allowable expense. You can also claim for parking – but not parking or speeding fines!

21. Disposal costs

If you need to pay someone to come and pick up an old wardrobe, bed or electrical appliance for disposal, you can claim allowable expenses to cover your costs.

What about replacing furnishings and equipment?

If you’re a landlord who rents out furnished or part-furnished properties, you can’t claim an allowable expense for replacing furnishings or equipment. However, you may be able to claim Replacement Domestic Items relief after replacing a sofa, bed, carpets, curtains, white goods, crockery, cutlery, etc. The quality should be similar; if it’s superior in value, for example, if you buy a higher-quality couch, you can only claim for the amount you would have needed to spend to replace an item like for like.

What other  expenses can’t landlords claim for?

  • You can’t claim mortgage capital repayments as an allowable expense. And although pre-2017 you could deduct mortgage interest and other finance costs such as mortgage arrangement fees from your rental income to reduce your Income Tax bill, instead, you now receive a 20% tax credit.
  • Improving a property, say, by building an extension or adding a loft conversion, can’t be claimed as an allowable expense, because you’re making a “capital improvement”. In other words, you’re upgrading, adapting or enhancing a property, which increases its capital value. Later, you may be able to claim capital expenses against Capital Gains Tax if you sell the property, so keep detailed records of all capital expenses.
  • Installing a new security alarm system can only be claimed as an allowable expense if you’re replacing the previous security alarm system like-for-like (ie the new system isn’t superior).

Watch our video on allowable expenses for landlords

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Blog content is for information purposes and over time may become outdated, although we do strive to keep it current. It's written to help you understand your Tax's and is not to be relied upon as professional accounting, tax and legal advice due to differences in everyone's circumstances. For additional help please contact our support team or HMRC.

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