The ac­ci­den­tal land­lord

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Letting On -

MY HEAD is swim­ming with a tril­lion ques­tions: ce­ramic tiles or lux­ury vinyl? Un­der­floor heat­ing or a heated towel rail? Acrylic or steel bath? I’m in the mid­dle of ren­o­vat­ing my two-bed­room rental flat and it’s not the fun, guilt-free shop­ping splurge I was ex­pect­ing.

I have to stick to a very tight bud­get, oth­er­wise I might not re­cover my in­vest­ment. It’s a small flat in a not par­tic­u­larly great lo­ca­tion, which will limit how much the ren­o­va­tions will add to its value, so I’ve got to be care­ful not to get car­ried away.

I have to keep re­mind­ing my­self that ev­ery pound I spend has to ei­ther in­crease the rent or make the prop­erty eas­ier to let. When ren­o­vat­ing a rental prop­erty, you also have to bear in mind that the cost of any ad­di­tions or up­grades, such as un­der­floor heat­ing, ex­tra kitchen units or bet­ter-qual­ity ap­pli­ances can’t be de­ducted from your in­come tax. You can only off­set like-for-like re­place­ments and you have to wait to deduct the cost of any up­grades from your cap­i­tal gains tax bill when you sell the prop­erty.

My hus­band is do­ing an ex­cel­lent job of keep­ing me fo­cused on the bud­get and has al­ready said a def­i­nite “no” to an ex­pen­sive wall-hung loo, a rain­maker shower (“not strictly nec­es­sary”) and de­signer van­ity unit (“to­tal waste of money”).

I won the bat­tle over the ad­di­tion of un­der­floor heat­ing in the bath­room, which I think will add a lux­u­ri­ous feel for not such a mas­sive out­lay, but he per­suaded me to swap the gor­geous, ex­pen­sive metro tiles for big porce­lain ones at half the price.

Truth be told, I’m not en­tirely sure that the ren­o­va­tion will add much, if any­thing, to the flat’s rental value, but I’m hop­ing it will help me at­tract bet­ter ten­ants. I thought the flat was a bar­gain when I bought it two years ago, but the bath­room and kitchen

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