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What are Rental Property Operating Expenses? And how to Track Them?

What are Rental Property Operating Expenses? And how to Track Them?

As the year comes to a close, there are numerous things to consider. Holiday gatherings, dinners, and gift-buying must all be completed. But as a landlord, you’re probably also thinking about tax season right now.

You can write off a number of charges, including property tax, depreciation, repairs, running costs, and mortgage interest, according to the IRS. Let’s delve in and clarify what these are (and aren’t) as “operation expenses” is a little vague.

What Do Operating Expenses Entail?

In general, everything you must spend money on to maintain your rental property in its present condition qualifies as an operational expense. Running expenses include “certain materials, supplies, repairs, and maintenance that you must perform on your rental property to maintain your property in good operating condition,” according to the IRS.

In order to prepare for tax season, you should ideally already be tracking your rental revenue and property expenses like for one capital residences in Islamabad, but you could be unclear about what counts as an operating expense. What distinguishes those costs from capital expenditures, and how can you differentiate the two apart?

Therefore some of the most common operating expenses include:

Marketing and advertising

Marketing and promotion strategies include “For Rent” signs, print and online ads, and a website for the home or real estate company.

Tenant screening 

Payment made for the credit report, background check, rental history, and eviction report of a potential tenant.

Leasing fees 

If you hire a property management, leasing costs might vary from company to company but are typically equal to one month’s rent for a new lease and half a month’s rent for a lease renewal with an existing renter.

Property management fee

Although they can differ, property management costs are approximately 8% of the monthly rent received.

Repairs and maintenance 

Repairs and maintenance are costs to keep a rental property in good, livable shape, such as patching a hole in the carpet in the bedroom or repairing a leaking pipe.


In a small multifamily structure, landscaping and snow removal may be the responsibility of the landlord rather than the tenant in a single family rental.

Pest control 

Pest control is used to cover the cost of treating pests like termites, ants, scorpions, or spiders on a seasonal basis.


Operating costs of a multifamily rental property might occasionally include utilities paid by the landlord (such as water, sewer, and trash).


Even if they are part of the monthly mortgage payment, insurance payments for homeowners and landlord insurance are still deductible costs.

Property taxes 

Even when they are included in the mortgage payment, property taxes are another item that is completely deductible for a rental property. 

HOA fees

Homeowners association dues and HOA fees are typical operational costs for single-family rental properties.

Professional service

In general, operating expenditures can be deducted for professional services rendered by an accountant, financial planner, or lawyer.

These costs are necessary since you wouldn’t be able to maintain your property in its current state without them. They don’t, however, increase the worth or lifespan of the property.

What Do Not Count as Operating Costs?

The cost of installing a swimming pool, remodeling the kitchen, adding a bedroom, or making other improvements to your home is not regarded as an operational expense because it is not required to keep the property in good condition. The cost of upgrades cannot be written off, according to the IRS. Depreciation is used to recoup these costs. Any improvements you make to your property, as opposed to simple maintenance costs, are regarded as betterments.

Things that are not considered an operating expense:

  • Improvements (such as a new roof or water heater)
  • Major repairs
  • Depreciation
  • Mortgage payments

Consider the alternative if you’re unsure whether your expense is for a repair or an enhancement. For instance, repairing a leak on the roof with a patch doesn’t enhance the property; it only fixes the issue. But if you completely replace the roof, that’s an improvement because you’ve just increased the property’s lifespan. An operating expense is when a water heater needs to be repaired. It will be better if you replace it.

Keep these in mind when planning to invest in a new property.

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