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Repairs and maintenance

Last updated 28 August 2019

Expenditure for repairs you make to the property may be deductible. However, generally, the repairs must relate directly to wear and tear or other damage that occurred as a result of your renting out the property.

Repairs generally involve a replacement or renewal of a worn out or broken part, for example, replacing worn or damaged curtains, blinds or carpets between tenants. Maintenance generally involves keeping the property in a tenantable condition, for example, repainting faded or damaged interior walls.

However, expenses which are capital, or of a capital nature are not deductible as repairs or maintenance. The following are examples of expenses which are capital or of a capital nature:

  • replacement of an entire structure or unit of property (such as a complete fence or building, a stove, kitchen cupboards or refrigerator)
  • improvements, renovations, extensions and alterations
  • initial repairs, for example, in remedying defects, damage or deterioration that existed at the date you acquired the property.

You may be able to claim some construction expenses as capital works deductions where the expenses are capital or of a capital nature. For more information, see Capital works deductions.

Expenses of a capital nature may form part of the cost base of the property for capital gains tax purposes (but not generally to the extent that capital works deductions have been or can be claimed for them). For more information, see Guide to capital gains tax.

Repairs to a rental property will generally be deductible if:

  • the property continues to be rented on an ongoing basis, or
  • the property remains genuinely available for rental but there is a short period when the property is unoccupied, for example, where unseasonable weather causes cancellations of bookings or advertising is unsuccessful in attracting tenants.

Expenditure for repairs you make to the property may also be deductible where the expenditure is incurred in a year of income that the property is held for income producing purposes, even though the property has previously been held by you for private purposes, and some or all of the damage is attributable to when the property was held for private purposes.

If you no longer rent the property, the cost of repairs may still be deductible provided:

  • the need for the repairs is related to the period in which the property was used by you to produce income
  • the property was income-producing during the income year in which you incurred the cost of repairs.

Examples of repairs for which you can claim deductions are:

  • replacing broken windows
  • maintaining plumbing
  • repairing electrical appliances.

Examples of improvements for which you cannot claim deductions are:

  • landscaping
  • insulating the house
  • adding on another room.

See also:

Asbestos remediation

Work undertaken to an investment property in dealing with asbestos may, in some cases, be a deductible repair as described above. This depends on the nature or extent of the remediation process.

Where the expenditure is not otherwise deductible as a repair, a deduction may be available as an ‘environmental protection activity’.

For more information, see Asbestos-affected properties.