Can I claim my rent against rental income?

Q&A: Dominic Coyle

A reader’s  house is too big for them. They would like to downsize, but they don’t want to sell. Photograph: Frank Miller

A reader’s house is too big for them. They would like to downsize, but they don’t want to sell. Photograph: Frank Miller

 

I have just read an article you wrote about expenses that can be set against rental income. And I have a question because I really can’t find this information anywhere.

Assume I have a house. But the house is too big for me at the moment, so I would like to downsize. But I don’t want to sell the house.

If I rented out my house and rented a smaller apartment for my sole residence, could I use the rental fee I pay for the apartment against rental income from the house?

Ms G.T., email

It sounds sensible but, unfortunately, it won’t work.

There is, as you say, provision for setting expenses against rental income but these are quite tightly defined. The overarching logic is that any claimable expense must be directly connected with the renting of the property.

So, you can claim costs for things like advertising the property you are renting, paying an estate agent to find a tenant or manage the property, or a solicitor for drawing up the contracts. Depreciation of furniture you buy for the property is also among the items allowed.

For most people, assuming they have a mortgage on the property, the biggest relief is the ability to claim 85 per cent of the interest you pay on the loan. In order to do this, you will need to be registered as a landlord with the Residential Tenancies Board. In any case, registering with the board is a requirement for landlords in Ireland.

However, while renting out another property may seem to you to be directly linked to the renting of your own home, it is not a permitted expense.

Please send your queries to Dominic Coyle, Q&A, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2, or by email to dcoyle@irishtimes.com. This column is a reader service and is not intended to replace professional advice.

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