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SMSF Property Improvements


SMSF property improvements. A how to guide, on what you can do and cannot do

SMSF property improvements with a SMSF Loan

SMSFR 2010/1:


In the complex world of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs), navigating the intricacies of regulations and guidelines is crucial for trustees. One key legislative framework that guides the operations of SMSFs in Australia is the Self-Managed Super Fund Ruling (SMSFR) 2010/1. This ruling outlines the compliance standards for improvements and repairs to SMSF-held property, which is an area of significant interest for SMSF trustees. In this article, we delve into the types of improvements allowed under SMSFR 2010/1, the associated risks, and costs considerations, offering a comprehensive guide for SMSF members.

Allowed Improvements under SMSFR 2010/1

SMSFR 2010/1 distinctly categorizes property-related activities into ‘repairs’ and ‘improvements’. While repairs generally involve work to fix damage or deterioration, improvements imply enhancements beyond the property’s original state. Under this ruling, SMSFs are allowed to make certain improvements to properties, given that they comply with the superannuation laws.

Structural Improvements: These include extensions or enhancements to the property, like adding a room or a garage. Such improvements should increase the property’s value and functionality without changing its fundamental character.

Cosmetic Upgrades: Minor renovations such as repainting, updating fixtures, or landscaping fall under this category. These are generally permissible as they don’t significantly alter the property.

Energy-Efficient Modifications: Installing solar panels or energy-efficient appliances can be seen as improvements that add value to the property and align with environmental sustainability goals.

Risks Associated with Property Improvements in SMSFs

Compliance Risk: The foremost risk involves non-compliance with SMSFR 2010/1 and other superannuation laws. Improvements that change the nature of the asset could potentially breach SMSF regulations.

Financial Risk: Improvements require capital, and overcapitalization could affect the fund’s liquidity. There’s also the risk of not achieving the expected increase in property value.

Market Risk: Real estate markets are subject to fluctuations. Improvements made in a declining market may not yield the desired returns.

Cost Considerations

Budgeting for Improvements: Trustees must ensure that the fund has sufficient liquidity to cover improvement costs without compromising other investment strategies.

Cost-Benefit Analysis: It’s crucial to analyze whether the expected increase in property value justifies the improvement costs.

Tax Implications: Understanding the tax implications, such as capital gains tax or potential deductions, is vital for effective SMSF property improvements.


Making informed decisions about property improvements within an SMSF under SMSFR 2010/1 requires a balance between compliance, risk management, and cost considerations. It’s essential for trustees to stay updated with the latest superannuation regulations, seek professional advice, and strategically plan property improvements to ensure they align with the fund’s overall investment strategy. With careful planning and adherence to SMSFR 2010/1, trustees can make enhancements that not only increase the value of their SMSF property but also contribute to the long-term growth and sustainability of their retirement savings by utilizing SMSF property improvements.