Residential buy to lets and VAT
If you are in business as a sole trader and registered for VAT, while you do not have to account for VAT on the letting income you might be able to recover the VAT on the expenses. The letting income is exempt income.
If you make both exempt supplies and VATable supplies (0%, 5% or 20%) you are partially exempt. A partially exempt business can reclaim VAT paid on expenses relating to the exempt supplies if, in the return period VAT suffered on exempt supplies does not exceed £625 per month on average or 50% of all VAT on purchases the business makes.
Even if you cannot claim them, you can look at the whole VAT year and make an annual adjustment which gives you a second chance to recover the VAT.