The accidental landlord
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