Can a landlord reclaim the VAT on a barn conversion or new dwelling?
Not if the property is to be rented out or sold in the course of a business.
There is a scheme available where any VAT paid to suppliers for materials and labour costs can be reclaimed from HM Customs (the claim must be made within 3 months of completion), however, a claim cannot be made if the works are by a person in the course or furtherance of any business [s35 Value Added Tax Act 1994].
If a landlord were to be genuinely living in the property as his main residence, then a claim could be made.
HMRC Reference Notice 719 contains guidance on making the claim and for what materials etc. a claim can be made.