November 9, 2023 3:48 pm

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

Landlords often grapple with Section 24, commonly known as the ‘Tenant Tax.’ Let’s break it down. In April 2017, the government introduced Section 24 through the Finance Act 2015. Simply put, it removes a landlord’s ability to deduct mortgage interest and related finance costs, like mortgage arrangement fees, from their rental income when calculating tax liability. 

Starting from the 2020/2021 tax year, landlords can only claim a 20% tax credit based on their loan and mortgage interest. This change holds significant weight, potentially pushing landlords into higher tax brackets. Those with substantial mortgage commitments might find themselves paying more tax on modest profits, potentially leading to financial losses. It’s essential for landlords to stay well-informed about Section 24 to navigate these tax implications effectively.


Why did the Government Introduce Section 24?

Section 24 is part of a broader strategy designed to control the growth of the private rental sector. Chancellor George Osborne introduced it in 2015 as a precaution against a potential property bubble that could have had severe repercussions for the overall economy. The goal was to make it more challenging for landlords to profit from buy-to-let properties, weeding out less professional landlords and slowing down the market. This move aimed to enhance stability for tenants, ease entry for first-time homebuyers, and reduce the profitability of property flipping to increase the availability of properties for purchase.

However, opinions on this strategy varied among experts. Some cautioned that landlords might need to increase rents to compensate for the expected decline in rental yields, potentially causing financial losses. Landlords continuing in the market might explore alternative business models, such as converting larger family homes into houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and flats, to improve their yields.


Who is Affected by Section 24?

Section 24 impacts landlords incurring finance costs, irrespective of their type. This encompasses accidental landlords, individual landlords, those operating as partnerships, and those using property trusts. Even non-UK resident landlords with residential properties in the UK are subject to Section 24.

However, landlords who manage their property rental business through a UK or overseas company remain unaffected by Section 24. The same exemption applies to landlords with furnished holiday lets, at least for the time being.



  1. Municipal Tax Deduction

Municipal tax represents the annual payment to the local municipal corporation for your property. To calculate the net value of the house property, you deduct these taxes from the gross annual value. The deduction on municipal tax is applicable if it is shouldered by the property owner and paid during the current financial year.


  1. Standard Deduction

A standard deduction of 30% is applied to the calculated net annual value. This deduction remains constant, regardless of whether your property-related expenses are higher or lower. It’s irrespective of costs like insurance, electricity, repairs, water supply, and so on. For self-occupied properties with a nil annual value, the standard deduction is zero.


  1. Home Loan Interest Deduction

Homeowners can claim a deduction of up to ₹2 lakh on home loan interest when the property is occupied by their family or vacant. The same deduction applies when the property is rented out, allowing the entire interest on the home loan to be claimed as a deduction.


What is Section 24 of the Income Tax Act? 

Section 24 of the Income Tax Act details specific deductions available to taxpayers with income from house property as per the Income Tax Act, 1961. These deductions are applicable to those who own house property.

Section 24 comprises two subsections: Section 24(a) and Section 24(b), addressing different aspects of owning and renting out residential properties.

  • Section 24(a) pertains to deductions for rental income from house property.
  • Section 24(b) concerns deductions for annual interest repayment on a home loan used for the purchase or construction of house property.

In the following sections, we will explore the eligibility and annual deduction limits for both subsections of Section 24.


Considerations for Section 24(a) Deduction:

Section 24(a) deductions apply to the following categories, considered income from house property for tax benefits:

  1. Rental Income: Income from renting out a property falls under Section 24.
  2. Multiple House Ownership: For those owning more than one house, the net annual value of the property (determined under Section 23 of the Income Tax Act) is considered rental income. The house you reside in isn’t considered a source of rental income in this scenario.
  3. Single House Ownership: If you own only one house and live there, the rental income from that property is considered zero.

It’s crucial to note that income from rent and additional housing property will be taxed after claiming deductions granted through Section 24.


How Does Section 24 Work?

Before 2017, landlords could subtract their entire finance costs from their rental income when calculating taxable income.

However, this has changed, and now landlords are taxed on their property income before any finance costs.


Let’s consider an example with Fred, a landlord who owns a rental property.


Fred earns an amount of money, A, from his job annually.


His rental property provides an annual income of B, giving him a total income of A+B.


However, he has a mortgage on this property, which costs C each year, and he also has annual property maintenance expenses of D.


Before 2017, Fred’s total taxable income was calculated as A + (B – (C + D)).


Now, with Section 24 fully in effect after 2021, Fred’s taxable income is simply calculated as A + B – D.


There may be a 20% tax reduction available on the lower of the finance costs, property business profits, and adjusted total income, as described above.


How Section 24 affects landlords

In straightforward terms, Section 24 raises landlords’ taxable income, leading to an increase in the total amount of tax they must pay.

This can have a significant impact if the added income pushes them into a higher tax bracket.

Let’s revisit our example with landlord Fred, this time with actual numbers.


Please note that we are using the personal allowance and tax band values from the 2022/23 tax year for both examples to highlight the difference made by the financial cost restrictions introduced by Section 24.

For reference, in the 2021/22 tax year, the personal allowance was £12,570, and the basic rate tax band extended up to £50,270.


A landlords’ tax example under Section 24

Section 24, which has been in full effect since 2021, eliminates the ability to deduct mortgage finance costs, but a 20% basic rate deduction may be available, as explained below.


Fred still earns £42,000 from his job and £20,000 from his rental property. For the sake of this example, we haven’t considered any tax deductions from his employment income.


He still pays £9,000 for his mortgage and £1,000 in maintenance.


Fred doesn’t have any carried-forward finance costs.


His taxable income is now calculated by adding his salary to his rental income and subtracting ONLY his maintenance costs (as mortgage finance costs are no longer deductible). (£20,000 – £1,000 = £19,000) + £42,000 = £61,000


Fred will still pay no tax on the first £12,570 of his income as it falls within his personal tax allowance (2022/23).


He then pays 20% tax on the next £37,699, as it falls within the basic 20% tax band.


Lastly, he will also pay 40% tax on the final £10,731 of his income, as it crosses into the higher band applied to income exceeding £50,270.


Since finance costs (without carry-forwards) are lower than property profits and adjusted net income, a 20% tax reduction is available based on the finance costs of £9,000. This means there’s an additional relief of £1,800 to deduct from the total tax payable of £11,832.20


So, Fred’s final tax bill under Section 24 now looks like this:


– £61,000 Gross income


Tax Calculation:

– £12,570 @ 0% (falls under Personal Tax Allowance)

– £7,539.80 @ 20% Basic rate tax

– £4,292.40 @ 40% Higher rate tax


Total tax payable = £11,832.20


Less relief for finance costs £9,000 @ 20% = £1,800


Final tax payable = £10,032.20


The net result is that Fred now has to pay £1,800 more tax than he would have under the old system, despite his salary and rental income remaining the same.

In addition to increasing his tax bill compared to the previous system, Fred now falls into a higher tax bracket. This could have a more significant impact as his employment income increases in the future.

The introduction of Section 24 can also have further consequences, including the potential clawback of child benefit under the high-income child benefit charge if income exceeds £50,000.

These changes have been particularly costly for landlords with only one or two properties, like our example, Fred, as they are more likely to be pushed into the higher rate tax bracket.



MORE Property blogs HERE: 

Can you make money investing in property?

Section 24 Effect on BTL Property

How do you calculate BRRRR?

How do I start a property rental business in the UK?

How to add value to your rental property

What are the requirements for a HMO UK?

How to convert a property into an HMO in 2023

Is refinancing the same as restructuring?

What is Refinancing? How does it Work?

BRR Property Deals: Buy Refurb Refinance in the UK

Should You Give Up on Buy-to-let?

A Guide to Section 24 Tax Change For Buy-to-Let Investors

Do I need a Licence to rent out my property UK?

Property Investing Strategies Using BRRR

What is the criteria for HMO in the UK?

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}