Broker Check

Repairs vs. Improvements

When you figure your profit or loss from operating the rental property each year, you can deduct the cost of repairs to the rental property. However, any improvements that were made must be depreciated over the improvement’s useful life. How do you distinguish a repair from an improvement?

Repairs - A repair keeps your property in good operating condition and does not materially add to the value of your property or substantially prolong its life. Repainting your property inside or out, fixing gutters or floors, fixing leaks, and replacing broken windows are examples of repairs. However, if the repairs are part of an extensive remodeling or restoration of your property, the whole cost is an improvement. 

Improvements – An improvement will add to the value of the property, prolong its useful life, or adapt it to new uses. If you make an improvement to a property, the cost of the improvement must be capitalized. The capitalized cost can generally be depreciated as if the improvement were separate property.