If you own rental property, you can claim depreciation for tax purposes (known as CCA) to reduce your net rental profit and therefore reduce the amount of income tax you pay. However, you cannot use CCA to (i) create a rental loss or (ii) increase an existing rental loss.
If you own more than one rental building, you must determine the net rental income after all expenses on a “combined” basis prior to claiming CCA. You can then claim CCA to bring your combined profit down, subject to the limitations noted above.
Since real estate generally appreciates in value of over time, it is likely that you will ultimately sell it for a profit. Part of the profit will be taxed as a capital gain and part will be taxed as a recapture of the CCA you have been claiming over time. This recapture often comes as a surprise to many of my clients. They don’t realize that all those taxes they saved over the years by depreciating their rental properties all gets taxed when they sell.
If you own more than one rental property and you are restricted as to how much CCA you can claim because of the limitations noted above, you can choose which property to claim CCA on. If you are likely to sell one property before the other, you can defer tax by claiming CCA on the property you know you are going to keep for the long run and not on the one you are going to sell. When it comes time to sell the first property, there will be no CCA to recapture because none has been claimed along the way.