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Garden redevelopment costs - what is allowable?

Garden redevelopment costs

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Hi just need a little guidance on residential property letting with a garden redevelopment.

My client has a couple of rented properties which share the same communal gardens.  The client redeveloped the properties prior to letting them out, so no problem with the capital expenditure angle here.  However with the properties came terrace gardens on a steep slope which was neglected by the previous owners and basically became a jungle.  Because of cashflow issues my client did not look to relandscape the gardens and basically waited until she had the necessary funds available.

After constant pestering by her tenants, the client decided to redeveloped the garden for use by the tenants (who have not exactly made use of it according to her) by employing a local landscape gardener to relandscape the garden making it safer for the tenants to use. Unfortunately, his invoices did not really itemise what the labour and materials cost of each part of the redevelopment namely the landscaping (which is capital) and the replacement of existing fencing and two patios which had fallen into disrepair.

The original garden (yes its fairly large garden) had two patios made of concrete paving which needed replacment as it had become cracked and dangerous..  Because of the cost and the nature of moving replacement concrete paving the client decided to replace the paving with treated decking which were cheaper as per the landscape gardener. 

Would this be allowable as a replacement expenditure as the materials used were cheaper and more likely to require less maintenance or replacement than concrete paving?  Replacing with concrete paving would have be replacing like with like but this would have probably involved the costly hiring of a crane or something similar to move the new slabs to the garden due to its height and location.

Another issue which I have found is how do we treat the labour element replacing the patios as the landscape gardener did not really itemise the invoices to show labour and materials of each part of the project.  How would you provide for the labour element or would it be best to just include materials.  Although, the client tried but to no avail to contact the landscape gardener to get a better breakdown of the invoices, all he would provide her was the actual invoices which he had got for the materials but nothing more.  Further contact with the landscaper proved fruitless.

I just need clarification on how to approach the above.  Sorry for rambling!

Thanks in advance.

Jerry

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By DJKL
13th Sep 2016 11:51

What is the property history within your client's ownership and might it be argued that the price your client paid when purchasing the property (if really no intervening economic use from then until now)took into account the state of repair of the gardens?

You are sort of indicating the gardens were not useable prior to these works which might suggest the majority of the works are possibly capital?

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By Accountant A
13th Sep 2016 11:53

Why would you distinguish between the cost of labour and of materials?

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Replying to Accountant A:
By Duggimon
13th Sep 2016 12:27

You're misreading that bit, they're looking for the labour and material cost of each bit of the work, not the separate costs for labour and material.

I agree though that if the garden was in an unusable state prior to the work then the work is likely all capital. The only exception possibly being the fence which so long as it was still standing was doing the job of a fence and therefore could be considered a repair.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By Jerico1917
13th Sep 2016 20:41

Many for your comments. But it is unclear from the comments if replacing the patios are allowable. The client is going to try and contact the landscape gardener again, let's hope she has more luck in trying gain from information out of him!

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