“Rent A Room” Relief To Continue For Air BnB Landlords

If you are a landlord renting out part of your property, you will know that you need to pay taxes on any revenue coming from property income, but that there are also tax relief measures you can take advantage of. You should know that, last year, HMRC carried out a review of rent a room relief and proposed that the availability of this generous relief would be restricted to situations where the taxpayer was resident for at least part of the time, when the “lodger” was paying rent. The scheme currently exempts you as a UK taxpayer landlord, from tax gross rents up to £7,500, where rooms within your main residence are rented out. HMRC were concerned that the relief was being “abused” by letting out the entire property using websites such as Airbnb, and living elsewhere temporarily, whilst the tenants were in the property. An example would be for you, as a landlord, to be renting out your house in South London, during Wimbledon fortnight, and potentially receiving up to £7,500 tax free. So you should note, that the Autumn Budget announced that the proposed restriction, was not now being introduced.


But Possible Changes To CGT Private Residence Relief

In addition, as a landlord, you need to be aware that the government is currently consulting on important changes to private residence relief, that are likely to be introduced from 6 April 2020. Subsequently, the two possible changes, announced in the Autumn 2018 Budget are: Firstly, to limit to just 9 months the period prior to disposal that counts as a period of deemed occupation. The second is to limit “letting relief” to periods where you as a landlord and taxpayer are in shared occupation with the tenant.

Final period exemption to be reduced

The final period exemption was for many years, three years, and was always intended to cover situations where the landlord taxpayer was “bridging” and waiting to sell their previous residence. However, 36 months was felt to be too generous and was allegedly being abused by a strategy known as “second home flipping”. As a result, the final period relief was restricted to the current 18 month period of deemed occupation a couple of years ago. The latest proposal is to restrict further to 9 months, although it will remain at 36 months for those with a disability, and those in or moving into care.

Possible Lettings Relief Changes

Lettings relief currently provides a further exemption for capital gains of up to £40,000 per property owner. The additional relief was introduced in 1980 to ensure people could let out spare rooms within their property, on a casual basis, without losing the benefit of PRR, for example where there are a number of lodgers sharing the property with the landlord / owner. In practice, lettings relief extends much further than the original policy intention, and also benefits those landlords who let out a whole dwelling that has, at some stage, been their main residence. It is those situations that the government appear to be attacking under the proposed changes. You should note that, as a landlord, if you are renting your property temporarily, whilst working elsewhere in the UK or working abroad, you are then unlikely to be affected by this change as there are alternative reliefs available under those circumstances. Please check with us if you are likely to be affected by the proposed changes as it may be worth considering disposing of your property, before the new rules are introduced from 6 April 2020.



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