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VAT And Self Storage Changes ‘Must Be Considered By Landlords’

Lawyer Calls For Consideration Of Amendments


By Rob Dixon

Landlords letting commercial property have been urged by real estate lawyers to carefully consider exactly how tenants intend to use the property, following recent changes to rules around VAT and self storage.

Amendments have been made to legislation to ensure the provision of facilities for the storage of goods are standard rated for VAT purposes, bringing an end to an anomaly in the treatment of self storage facilities – formerly exempt from VAT – and traditional storage providers such as removal companies who had to charge VAT on such facilities.

The changes do not just apply to self storage companies and can apply to a landlord who lets property to a tenant who uses it to store goods sold in the tenant’s business. For example, a tenant such as a retailer who uses the property as a warehouse.

In these circumstances the landlord should be charging VAT on the rents, regardless of whether it has opted to tax the property, and accounting for such VAT to HMRC. If VAT is not accounted for at the correct time there could be interest and penalties to pay.

Alex Barnes, a Partner and specialist in Real Estate Tax issues at Irwin Mitchell’s London office, said: “These changes will only really be an issue for those landlords whose property may be used for storage, like those letting large warehouse space. Landlords letting office space or high street retail are unlikely to be concerned about the changes. 

“Where the storage is ancillary to the main purpose for which the building is used for, the new changes will not alter the VAT treatment of the letting.”

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