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Sam, Accountant
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 14165
Experience:  26 HMRC expertise, PAYE, Self Assessment ,Residency, Rental Income, Capital Gains, CIS ask for Sam Tax
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Hi. As a live-in landlord, I am confused as to the extent to

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Hi. As a live-in landlord, I am confused as to the extent to which I can claim certain costs as an allowable expense, given that they would be incurred regardless of whether I had a tenant e.g. council tax, management charges, water rates, mortgage interest...... To what extent can I argue that these costs are incurred wholly for business purposes?

I am aware of the rent-a-room scheme, but am attempting to establish if deducting certain allowable costs would reduce my tax liability versus this scheme.


Thanks for your question

If you decided not to use the rent a room scheme, then from the rents received you could claim the following -

You would be able to claim heating and lighting which would amount to a % based on the total bills and total habitable rooms (so if you had 6 habitable rooms and let out one room - you could claim 1/6th of the heating and lighting bills)
Council tax is permitted - but then you might find the council want to charge you business rates for that let room - so I would avoid claiming this.
but you can claim a % of the mortgage interest - but just be mindful when you come to sell, then you trigger a capital gain consideration and you may well then need the permission of the mortgage lender.
10% wear and tear on any white goods, which you then claim just a % if they are shared (so if there is you and the lodger and he has full use of all, then half of 10%, which in essence is 5%!)
A % of the repairs (gain half if there is you and the lodger - and the repair has been conducted on a communal area, or if in their room then 100%
Half % of the buildings and contents insurance, again using the room calculation method - as most of the lodgers possession you would expect to be in their room mainly.

Telephone bill, if you can identify their share of the calls - and a % of the landline rental to represent the lodgers usage.

Costs to have key cuts, rent a room legal documents, cleaning of that room

They are the main ones, but let me know if you have spent anything out other than what I have mentioned, and feel the cost has been suffered due to you having a lodger(s)



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you.


Can you please clarify what basis of cost apportionment I would use for:


Council tax (should I choose to claim this)

Mortgage interest - you only mention that I may claim a %


Also, is it reasonable to argue that, where I have 6 habitable rooms (to use your example), 4 of which are communal, I may claim 50% of my buildings insurance, ground rent etc. (assuming myself and one other), rather than 1/6th?


For the council tax and the mortgage interest, heating and lighting - buildings insurance, ground rent, if you have 6 habitable rooms, of which one was let out - you would claim 1/6th of those costs.

You cannot claim for the communal areas as well, as you would have incurred those costs anyway. And the claim for those specific expenses listed above is taking into account the fact that one room was used exclusively by the lodger.

The % of mortgage interest is the % as indicated above (1/6th if 6 habitable rooms)

Just make sure if you claim council tax and mortgage interest that you alert both the council of the lodger and the mortgage lender.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you again.


I suppose my query about heating and lighting, for example, is that the lights would only be switched on in a communal area, e.g. a living room, if either myself or the lodger are using it, otherwise these costs would not be incurred, hence a 50/50 split. That said, if HMRC are clear on this then my final question is what is the definition of a habitable room.

Hi Louis

You are very welcome

I can see your pint with the heating and lighting, but its about what is reasonable, If its a communal area, then the likelihood is that you would use that heating and lighting too - and whilst there may be times that you are upstairs and the lodger is down - and yes, incurring an additional charge - its about claiming a define and reasonable amount, and unless you keep a note of what room uses what kwatts of energy - and who was in the room at the time (which gets silly) you can only prove with certainty, that the lodgers room is always going to be in excess of what you would have usually used.
And when you think that lights can be switched off independently from room to room (so 1/6th would be fair) heating usually is all or nothing within a property - and whether you had a lodger or not, that "spare" room would still incur a charge due to being heated.
So its already putting your in a better position even just allowing 1/6th of the heating !
Habitable rooms are all except bathroom, kitchen and hallway (and a separate WC/washroom)
So count your living room, your dining room and bedrooms.

Please do feel free to ask for any further clarification, but it would be appreciated, if you could rate the level of service I have provided, as this ensures I am credited for my time.


Sam and other Tax Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Sam. It's clear and I have rated your service.


Kind regards.


Hi Louis

You are very welcome and if you need any future assistance with any UK tax matters, then do come back to Just Answer, and if you prefer, you can always ask for me Sam Tax (just mention me in your opening post) if you would prefer and the other experts will know to allow me to answer,

Thanks for the rating - much appreciated


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry Sam, but I didn't see anything about water charges (standing and consumption charges). Are these deductible?


No - unless you were on water meter - then you clearly would have an additional charge, but asthis is flat charge regardless of how many of you are in the property (both for water in and sewerage out)then you cannot claim anything.

Remember you are looking at being allowed a claim for anything that sees you having to pay more or having an out of pocket expense because you have a lodger.