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A Complete Property Tax Guide for Landlords and Property Investors


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Table of Content

Table of Content

Investing in real estate has long been a popular avenue for wealth creation, and the UK property market offers a diverse range of opportunities for investors. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting out, understanding the tax implications of different investment strategies is essential for maximising your returns.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the tax considerations for various types of property investors along with their tax implications.

Rent to Rent Investor

The Rent-to-Rent concept involves securing a property on a long-term lease from a landlord, often with the intention of transforming it into a shared living space or providing furnished accommodation.

The investor then sublets the property to individual tenants, generating rental income that exceeds the lease cost.

Rent to Rent Investor

With the potential for generating substantial profits, Rent-to-Rent investment has become popular among entrepreneurs seeking to enter the property market with limited capital.

Investors can pursue Rent-to-Rent investment in three primary ways: House to Multiple Occupation (HMO), Rent to Rent Service Accommodation, and Rent to Rent Single Let.

Tax Implications of Rent to Rent Investments

Income Tax

Rent-to-Rent investments often fall under the category of trading activities rather than straightforward property rentals. Rental income generated from subletting is treated as trading income, making Rent-to-Rent investors subject to income tax.

This differentiation is essential for investors to accurately report their earnings and fulfil their tax obligations.

National Insurance Contributions

In addition to income tax considerations, self-employed Rent-to-Rent investors must also be aware of their National Insurance (NI) obligations. Rent-to-Rent investors are subject to both Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance contributions.

Class 2 contributions are usually linked to entitlements such as the state pension, while Class 4 contributions, calculated as a percentage of annual profits, fund additional benefits and services.

Corporation Tax

Should the investor choose to conduct Rent-to-Rent business through a limited company, the profits generated by the company will be subject to corporation tax. Based on the company’s profits, this rate can fluctuate from 19% to 25%.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

When establishing lease agreements with landlords for Rent-to-Rent purposes, the possibility of SDLT obligations arises, contingent on the lease’s value and duration. The specific SDLT rates can differ, making it crucial to understand possible obligations before entering any agreements.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

When it comes to operating a Rent-to-Rent business focused on service accommodation, understanding the VAT implications is paramount. Unlike long-term residential rentals, which are VAT-exempt, service accommodation, often seen on platforms like Airbnb, falls under VAT regulations.

This means that landlords offering service accommodation must charge VAT on their rental income. If the cumulative taxable rental income surpasses £85,000 within a year, VAT registration with HMRC is mandatory.

Co-living Investor

Co-living Investor

In recent years, the concept of co-living has transformed the traditional rental market, offering a unique and community-driven living experience for tenants.

Co-living investment revolves around creating shared living spaces where individuals rent private rooms while sharing common areas and facilities

For investors, the co-living sector presents an intriguing opportunity to capitalise on this trend while providing comfortable, shared living spaces.

Tax Implications of Co-Living Investments

Tax Regime

Like Rent-to-Rent, co-living investments are also considered trading activities in terms of taxation. Income earned from renting out co-living spaces is typically classified as trading income. This implies that co-living investors are required to pay income tax on the profits they generate.

If an investor decides to operate their co-living investment through a limited company, the profits made by the company will be liable for corporation tax.

National Insurance Contributions

When co-living investments are managed by individuals who are self-employed, they are also obligated to pay both Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance contributions.

As previously mentioned, Class 2 contributions are often associated with entitlements like the state pension, whereas Class 4 contributions are calculated based on a percentage of yearly profits.

HMO Investor

HMOs (House in Multiple Occupation) are properties where three or more individuals who are not part of the same family share amenities and facilities such as kitchens, bathrooms, or living areas.

HMOs can take various forms, from converted houses with separate units to purpose-built properties with multiple self-contained apartments.

House in Multiple Occupation HMO

HMOs cater to students, young professionals, and individuals seeking affordable accommodation without compromising on convenience and community.

Licensing is mandatory for managing large HMOs. A property is categorised as a large HMO if it fulfils the following criteria:

  • It accommodates 5 or more individuals from separate households.
  • Some or all the occupants share essential amenities like bathrooms, toilets, or kitchens.

Note: Even if the property is smaller in scale and hosts fewer occupants, the need for a licence might still apply based on its specific location. It’s advisable to consult the local council for clarification.

Tax Implications for HMO Investors

Value Added Tax (VAT)

When engaging in renovations on an existing building, the standard practice generally involves charging Value Added Tax (VAT) at the standard rate of 20%. However, if you’re involved in converting premises into an HMO, you may qualify for a reduced VAT rate of 5%.

It’s important to note that to be eligible for this reduced rate, obtaining necessary planning consent and securing building control approval are prerequisites.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

A notable consideration for HMO investors in the UK is the additional 3% Stamp Duty Land Tax surcharge on the purchase of second homes or investment properties, which includes HMOs. For HMO investors, this means a higher initial financial outlay upon purchase.

Whether you’re expanding your property portfolio or entering the market as an HMO investor, the additional SDLT surcharge necessitates careful budgeting and financial planning.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

When it comes to selling an HMO property in the UK, it’s crucial to note that HMOs don’t qualify for Private Residence Relief (PPR) applicable to primary homes. This means that any profit from selling an HMO is subject to Capital Gains Tax.

However, you may still qualify for Business Asset Disposal Relief, which means that you’ll pay CGT at 10% on gains on qualifying assets.

Multiple Dwellings Relief (MDR)

HMOs have the potential to meet the criteria for Multiple Dwellings Relief (MDR), a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) relief that hinges on the count of individual residences involved in the transaction. To be eligible for Multiple Dwellings Relief, a property must meet the criteria of being a distinct dwelling.

As per HMRC’s definition, a dwelling constitutes a building or a portion thereof that provides its occupants with the necessary amenities for everyday private domestic life, along with an adequate level of privacy.

Claiming Capital Allowances for HMOs

The court case [Tevfik v HMRC] holds significance for owners of HMOs, offering clarity on the eligibility of Capital Allowances. The ruling addresses situations where these allowances can be claimed and where they cannot.

HMOs featuring individually self-contained rooms equipped with all necessary domestic facilities qualify for capital allowances. In these cases, each self-contained room is regarded as a “dwelling house”.

Consequently, the common areas connecting these self-contained rooms, such as hallways and staircases, might become eligible for HMO capital allowances on qualifying plant and machinery present in these shared spaces.

For in-depth insights into the details of this case, explore our article on A Case Review of Hora Tevfik v The Commissioners for Her Majesty Revenue.


Nick’s Self-Contained Studios

Nick manages an HMO with five separate one-bedroom studios. Each of these studios is designed as a self-contained living space, equipped with a small kitchenette and a basic toilet and shower area. Within the shared areas like hallways and staircases, certain items like lighting and heating systems meet the criteria for capital allowances.

As a result of this layout and the presence of qualifying items, he is eligible to potentially claim capital allowances on those communal features.

John’s Shared Facilities HMO

However, John leases a four-bedroom property to a group of students centrally located in a city. The property comprises shared facilities such as a communal kitchen and multiple shared bathrooms without ensuites. In this scenario, he is not eligible to claim capital allowances for the property.

This comparison highlights how the design and facilities within an HMO play a pivotal role in determining the potential eligibility for capital allowances.

Property Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)

Property Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)

One of the strategies gaining prominence in the property market is the use of Property Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs).

A Property SPV is a distinct legal entity, typically a limited company, formed with the sole purpose of owning and managing specific properties or property portfolios.

SPVs offer a clear separation between the assets and liabilities of the company and those of its shareholders, providing certain benefits and mitigating risks for property investors.

Tax Implications of Property SPVs

Corporation Tax  

Property SPVs are subject to Corporation Tax on rental income and capital gains, ranging from 19% to 25%, which is usually lower than personal income tax rates, making them an attractive option for investors seeking to optimise their tax liabilities while managing real estate assets.

Mortgage Interest Deduction

One notable advantage of using Property SPVs for property investment lies in the ability to claim mortgage interest as allowable deductions against rental income.

The Interest Relief Restriction Section 24 is not applicable to companies, particularly beneficial for property investors seeking to enhance their cash flow and improve their overall returns

Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED)

ATED is a tax regime implemented by the UK government to target properties held within corporate envelopes, primarily aimed at deterring tax avoidance in property ownership.

It is an annual tax payable by companies on UK residential properties valued above £500,000 and not used for commercial purposes.

Inheritance Tax (IHT) Planning

If your plan involves eventually transferring ownership of your rental properties to family members, adopting a Property SPV structure could be a smart move. This strategy simplifies and enhances the tax efficiency of the ownership transition compared to transferring individual properties.

Here, the property remains within the ownership of the SPV, and the alteration primarily involves changes in the SPV’s directorship.

Corporate and Individual Landlords

Corporate landlords have emerged as key players, reshaping the way properties are owned and managed. Corporate landlords are entities, often limited liability companies, that invest in and manage properties on a larger scale.

Their portfolio may encompass residential, commercial, or mixed-use properties, reflecting a diverse range of assets.

Corporate and Individual Landlords

On the other hand, individual landlords directly own and manage residential properties, leasing them to tenants in exchange for rental income.

Unlike larger property investment companies, individual landlords typically manage a smaller number of properties, making it a suitable option for those seeking a hands-on and personalised approach to property ownership.

Tax Implications for Corporate and Individual Landlords

The distinction between individual and corporate landlords has a profound impact on the tax implications they face.

Tax Implications for Corporate and Individual Landlords

Each approach comes with its own set of advantages, disadvantages, and unique tax considerations.

Coporate LandlordsIndividual Landlords

Tax Regime

Corporate landlords pay corporation tax on their rental profits, with the tax rate ranging from 19% to 25%, determined by the company’s earnings.

Tax Regime

Individual landlords pay income tax on their rental profits, with potential rates` reaching as high as 45%, representing a potential drawback in this aspect.
Mortgage Interest Deduction
They are eligible to deduct mortgage interest as allowable expenses.
Mortgage Interest Deduction
The mortgage interest can no longer be deducted; however, they can claim mortgage interest relief at a rate of 20%.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
Companies are not subject to distinct capital gains tax rates; instead, all gains are liable to corporation tax.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
CGT for individuals on residential properties incurs rates of 18% or 28%, while commercial properties entail rates of 10% or 20%, varying according to their income brackets.
CGT Allowance
No annual exemption is available for corporate landlords.
CGT Allowance
Individuals benefit from an annual exemption of £6,000 for 2023/24, which subsequently reduces the payable capital gains tax.
An annual tax obligation for companies that own UK residential properties valued above £500,000.
Not applicable to individual landlords.
Inheritance Tax (IHT) Planning
Transferring ownership to family members becomes simpler and tax-efficient, as the limited company retains ownership, with only the directorship undergoing change.
Inheritance Tax (IHT) Planning
Transferring properties from an individual landlord to family members can lead to IHT liabilities due to property inclusion in the deceased individual’s estate. In the UK, estates exceeding £325,000 are subject to a 40% standard IHT rate.
Double Taxation
While managing a limited company, profits are subject to corporation tax. Yet, should you opt to extract profits through salaries or dividends, additional income tax implications come into play.
Double Taxation
Individual landlords enjoy a distinct advantage in this aspect as they do not face the concern of double taxation that corporate structures entail.

If you find yourself uncertain about whether to acquire the property through a limited company or under your personal ownership, read our article Buying Property Through A Limited Company – The Pros and Cons.

Non-Resident Landlords

Non-Resident Landlords

The allure of the UK property market has drawn investors from around the world, seeking to capitalise on rental income and potential capital appreciation.

However, for those residing outside the UK, property investment comes with a unique set of tax considerations.

Non-resident landlords are those who earn rental income from properties situated in the UK, and their primary residence lies outside the UK boundaries. Typically, HMRC considers an absence from the UK lasting six months or longer as indicative of an individual having their primary residence outside the UK.

Additionally, it’s crucial to understand that someone can be classified as a resident for general tax purposes while simultaneously being identified as a non-resident under the scope of the Non-Resident Landlords Scheme.

Tax Implications for Non-Resident Landlords

Non-Resident Landlord (NRL) Scheme

The NRL Scheme is a tax framework established by HMRC to regulate the tax obligations of non-resident landlords who earn rental income from UK properties.

This scheme places the responsibility of deducting basic rate income tax from rental income on letting agents or tenants before transferring it to the non-resident landlord.

However, non-resident landlords can apply to receive gross rent if they meet certain conditions. This implies that the rental income is remitted to the landlord without the deduction of the basic rate tax of 20%.

To simplify the process of receiving rental income untaxed, non-resident landlords are required to fill out the appropriate form according to their status: NRL1 Form for individuals, NRL2 Form for companies and NRL3 Form for trustees.

Refer to our article on ‘Navigating the Non-Resident Landlord Forms in the UK’ for further details.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

SDLT rates for non-resident landlords in the UK are distinct from those for resident landlords. Non-resident landlords are subject to an additional 2% surcharge on top of the standard SDLT rates.

For instance, if a property is valued at £500,000, the SDLT rate for a non-resident landlord would be 7%, including the 2% surcharge.

 In contrast, resident landlords are not subject to this surcharge, making the SDLT rates comparatively higher for non-resident landlords, potentially impacting the overall cost of property acquisition.

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Inheritance Tax (IHT)

Prior to April 2017, non-UK domiciled individuals and trustees could avoid IHT on UK residential properties by holding via offshore entities. However, reforms introduced in April 2017 ended this practice, obligating non-domiciles to pay Inheritance Tax on all UK residential properties, even indirectly held through offshore structures.

Presently, individuals possessing enveloped residential property owners now face a 40% IHT charge upon their passing, effective from April 2017.

Additionally, trusts holding residential property will incur ten-year charges at 6% based on the property’s value moving forward. Transfers of enveloped property into trusts attract immediate taxation of up to 20%, while transfers out of trusts are subject to taxation of up to 6%.

Non-resident Capital Gains Tax (NRCGT)

NRCGT applied to direct sales of UK residential property from 6 April 2015. However, from 6 April 2019, the scope expanded to include indirect sales of UK property or land as well.

Indirect sales occur when a non-resident individual or entity sells or disposes of an interest in an asset deriving 75% or more of its value from UK land. For this to qualify as an indirect sale, the individual or entity must hold at least a 25% interest in the asset.

Therefore, taxable gain is determined by comparing the property’s current market value with its original cost. Yet, a different rule applies to non-UK resident companies.

Those previously not liable for UK Non-resident Capital Gains Tax (NRCGT) will calculate the gain based on the difference between the present market value and the value as of April 2015.

Register of Overseas Entity (ROE)

The introduction of the Register of Overseas Entity (ROE)has brought about a big change for the non-resident landlords holding UK properties through a corporate structure. It mandates the disclosure of ownership details, removing the previous secrecy.

This transparency combats illicit activities, benefiting regulators, the public, and investors.

Non-resident landlords are obliged to declare ownership during registration and are also tasked with filing an annual update for overseas entities. Ignoring ROE can result in property freezing, and potential various kinds of penalties. 


The UK property market offers diverse investment opportunities for landlords and property investors. Understanding the tax implications of different investment strategies is essential for maximising profitability and maintaining legal compliance.

Each type of investor, from Rent to Rent to HMO investors, has unique considerations and opportunities to gain a competitive edge.

By combining sound tax planning, effective property management, and a deep understanding of the local market, investors can navigate the sector’s complexities and position themselves for long-term success.

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Merisha Shrestha

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