Are there any tax advantages to HMOs? Reply


Student house

The Official definition of an HMO is….

Your home is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) if both of the following apply:

  • at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
  • you share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants

Your home is a large HMO if all of the following apply:

  • it’s at least 3 storeys high
  • at least 5 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
  • you share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants

A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:

  • married or living together – including people in same-sex relationships
  • relatives or half-relatives, eg grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
  • step-parents and step-children

Typically your tenants are likely to be:

  • Students
  • Transient and foreign workers
  • LHA claimants (Local Housing Allowance)
  • Low paid workers

Here is really useful guide from The House Crowd (2014)

HMO’s are popular because they have higher yields than other Buy to Let Residential Properties.

Many investors believed they could claim Capital Allowances on HMO’s Plant & Machinery but that isn’t the case.

HMRC’s considered view published in its capital allowances manual is that:

“A dwelling house is a building, or a part of a building; its distinctive characteristic is its ability to afford to those who use it the facilities required for day-to-day private domestic existence.  In most cases there should be little difficulty in deciding whether or not particular premises comprise a dwelling house, but difficult cases may need to be decided on their particular facts. In such cases the question is essentially one of fact … cluster flats or houses in multiple occupation, that provide the facilities necessary for day-to-day private domestic existence (such as bedrooms with en-suite facilities and a shared or communal kitchen/diner and sitting room) are dwelling-houses. Such a flat or house would be a dwelling-house if occupied by a family, a group of friends or key workers, so the fact that it may be occupied by [say] students is, in a sense, incidental.  The common parts (for example the stairs and lifts) of a building which contains two or more dwelling houses will not, however, comprise a dwelling-house.” (CA11520)

So here is quick summary of ways to save tax on residential properties in general….

1. Claim allowable expenses

  • Mortgage or Loan Interest (but not capital)
  • Repairs and maintenance (but not improvements)
  • Decorating
  • Gardening
  • Cleaning
  • Travel costs to and from your properties for lettings or meetings
  • Advertising costs
  • Agents fees
  • Buildings and contents insurance
  • Ground Rent
  • Accountants Fees
  • Rent insurance (if you claim the income will need to be declared)
  • Legal fees relating to eviction

2. If the property is furnished claim for Wear & Tear, you can claim 10% of the rent each year

3. Claim for repair and advertising expenses incurred in getting the property ready for renting

4. Consider how the property is owned for example your partner may pay less tax or if you own it 50/50 you could use their capital gains tax exemption on sale of the property

5. Consider whether owning the property within a limited company might be better, Corporation Tax is 20% for small companies in the UK which can make dividends more tax efficient than personal income.

6. Make sure any borrowings you have are on the Buy to Let so that you can claim tax relief on the interest

7. Claim the Energy Saving allowance  for energy saving work and save £1,500

steve@bicknells.net

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