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I guess I misinterpreted the two statements "..immediately put it up for rent.." and "there were no rental opportunities..". I inferred that the work he mentioned precluded renting. So, if in fact it was available for rent in 2000 then the operating expenses along with some depreciation could be claimed in 2000. But if he listed it for rent and then turned down applicants due to the rehab work, he would not be able to deduct those expenses in 2000 (but would be able to add the cost to his basis and begin to depreciate those costs later).

But that is not all that I said. I also said he is clearly eligible for the $25,000 deduction of his 'passive' rental loss against other income (in 2000 or 2001, whichever applies). And that will mean more to him in the next several years than all the above.
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