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Is it possible to claim tax relief on non-capital expenditure?

Question
My wife's mother was granted a house of multiple occupation (HMO) Licence on her home to raise income to fund her nursing home care. During the period of property renovation which was directed at meeting HMO regulations (decoration, equipment replacement and general maintenance prior to tenant occupation), my wife's mother died. On her death, the property passed to my wife and her sister after a period of approximately 6 months following completion of probate and HMO licence transfer. Until this settlement was completed, it was not possible for my wife to secure student tenants plus then having missed the main student rental take up period it was not possible to secure tenants until almost 12 months after the death of my wife’s mother. From the time of their mother’s death up to tenant occupation expenditures associated with house renovation, insurance, etc. were incurred.  In view of these circumstances is it possible to claim tax relief on non-capital expenditure from the date of death and prior to occupancy?

Arthur Weller replies:
Look at HMRC’s website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/pimmanual/PIM2505.htm, where you can see that this is classed as pre-trading expenditure, and is allowable on the first day when you start trading, i.e. when you start renting out your property. In addition, look at www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/pimmanual/PIM2105.htm, where you can see that if you are genuinely trying to let the property but it is empty because you have not been able to find a tenant, then the expenses incurred during this period are called business expenses and not personal expenses.

Property Tax Insider This sample question and answer is taken from Property Tax Insider, a monthly UK tax saving magazine for landlords and property investors.

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