Overview

What properties are eligible? What are the budget limits? What notice period should you negotiate on a lease?

Learn the rules around accommodation and understand how registering dependants affects what you can claim.

Scheme rules

If you’re a non-London Area MP, you’re entitled to a budget to cover accommodation costs incurred as a result of working from two permanent locations. [4.1]

Accommodation costs are not payable to MPs who:

  • are London Area MPs

  • occupy “grace and favour” accommodation in London by virtue of any particular office held [4.2]

The annual accommodation costs budget is:

  • where claiming rental costs in the London Area – £23,290 [4.9 & 4.10]

  • where claiming rental costs in your non-London constituency – £16,320 [4.9 & 4.11]

  • when staying in your own home, for “associated costs” only – £5,480 [4.15]

For MPs who are renting, an amount is included in their accommodation costs budget to pay for associated costs. MPs can deploy their budget between rent and associated costs as they choose.

The annual rental accommodation budget will be pro-rated where the tenancy starts after the beginning of the financial year or ends before the end of the financial year. Further guidance is available on IPSA Online.

Spending more than the budget limit

You may enter into a rental agreement that takes you over the budget limit – but any extra cost will have to be funded by you. If we're paying the rent directly to the landlord, we will not pay any such excess amount. [4.12]

MPs may only claim for rent and/or associated costs relating to one property – either in the London Area, or in the MP's constituency – unless IPSA agrees there are exceptional circumstances that justify claims in both. [4.6]

The MP must be resident at the property for which claims are being made, and may not sublet the property, or any part of it. [4.7]

You may rent accommodation from other MPs, provided that the landlord MP is not a connected party. Only the tenant MP may claim the “associated costs” for that property. [4.8]

Before we pay rent and associated costs, you must register the property with us and supply us with your rental contract – or proof of ownership. [4.21]

For more information, visit Completing a Property Registration Form.

You can claim accommodation costs for any of the following [4.3] :

  • rental payments

  • “associated costs” on rentals or owned property

  • drawing-up tenancy agreements, and agency fees from entering into or extending a contract (no additional funding is available for this) [4.13]

  • legal costs [4.14]

  • hotel accommodation

These are claimable and include:

  • utility bills (gas, electricity, other fuel and water)

  • Council Tax

  • ground rent and service charges

  • buildings insurance (if you own the property)

  • installation of a landline telephone line, line rental and usage charges

  • installation of a broadband connection and usage charges

  • purchase, installation and maintenance of routine security measures (as opposed to the recommended and further security measures covered by the security assistance budget)

The following are not considered associated costs and IPSA will not pay any claims for them: [4.5]

  • cleaning

  • gardening

  • the purchase or maintenance of furniture

  • home contents insurance, TV services, or TV licences

If two or more MPs choose to share rental accommodation, they must notify us when they register the property. The rental agreement must include the name of each MP sharing the accommodation. [4.26]

Each MP will be entitled to the full accommodation costs budget – and all costs claimed should be shared equally between those MPs. [4.27]

You must inform us immediately when a rental agreement starts, ends, or is renewed. Or if there are changes to the contract, such as the rental charge or the landlord’s payment details.

For information on how to register a property, visit Completing a Property Registration Form. Or get help with Selecting & leasing a constituency office. [4.24]

We strongly recommend you negotiate a clause in the contract to allow you to exit the agreement with two months’ notice, in case of a change in circumstance MPs are strongly advised to negotiate a two months’ notice clause in their contracts in the event of a change in circumstances – such as losing your seat at a general election.

Rent and associated costs can only be claimed during the two-month winding-up period after the election. Any further costs beyond that period will not be funded by us unless you can demonstrate that they were unavoidable. [4.25]

MPs are responsible for checking the terms and conditions of their rental contracts, including any service charges, penalty clauses and other clauses which may otherwise lead to unexpected costs. It’s also important to check your liability for council tax on the premises before signing the contract. [4.23]

If you’re intending to rent a property that qualifies for accommodation costs, you can apply for a loan to cover the deposit. This will not be deducted from the accommodation costs budget. [4.28]

You can apply by Completing a Property Registration Form to submit an application to us, together with the signed or draft rental agreement (if using a draft, we’ll need the signed agreement within a month of the tenancy’s start, otherwise we may seek to recover the loan and any rent claimed). We’ll then pay the loan to you, for forwarding to the landlord. [4.30]

This loan cannot exceed the lower of:

  • the deposit which is stated in the rental agreement

  • one quarter of the relevant annual accommodation costs budget (for example, London Area or the constituency) [4.29]

An MP may only hold one deposit loan at a time. [4.31]

The MP is responsible for securing the deposit’s return and repaying the amount in full to us – no later than one month after the date the tenancy ends. Or, where the MP leaves Parliament, the end of the winding-up period (whichever is earlier). Any shortfall between the deposit paid and the amount returned shall be the sole responsibility of the MP. [4.32]

Loans for holding deposits

MPs can also apply for a loan to cover the holding deposit often charged before the start of a tenancy.

To do so, you should complete the Holding Deposit Loan Request Form. For help, visit Loans for holding deposits.

These loans must be repaid to us within 30 days of signing the tenancy agreement or refund of the holding deposit, whichever is sooner. [4.32]

Download the IPSA Repayment Form.

Removal costs for moving to new accommodation may be claimed from the contingency fund. No pre-approval is required.

All other moving costs must be charged to the accommodation costs budget. [4.14]

For more information, visit Applying for contingency funding.

If you have informed us of your intention not to claim a rental property or associated costs, you can use your accommodation costs budget to claim for hotel costs. [4.9]

You can claim for hotel costs up to £175 per night in London and £150 per night elsewhere in the UK (including VAT). [4.17]

If the hotel’s nightly rate includes breakfast, the full amount will be reimbursed, provided you don’t go over the relevant limit. [4.20]

You may also claim overnight hotel accommodation for your dependants, with total dependant accommodation claims capped at the same nightly rates. [4.18]

What’s more, you can group together a number of nights during a single stay, where the cost varies on different nights, and claim the full amount – as long as the average per night does not exceed the stated limits. [4.19]

Note, the above rules apply when using hotels as an alternative to renting a property. If you’re seeking to claim for hotel costs when staying overnight on parliamentary business outside London or your constituency – the rules on travel and subsistence apply. [4.9]

For more information, visit Travel & subsistence.

Using IPSA Online

  1. Note!

    To make a reimbursement claim, open IPSA Online.

    Before you begin you will need :

    • details of the expenses you are claiming

    • your receipts

    Remember to use Add information if you need to add further comments to your claim. This can be found towards the bottom of the screen.

  2. Step1

    From the main menu select Your employment.

  3. Step2

    Select Expenses.

  4. Step3

    Select Reimbursement claim (MP).

    If you work in a MP’s office, you can claim your own expenses by selecting Reimbursement claim (Staff).

    All subsequent steps are the same.

  5. Step4

    In the On behalf of resource box, select who the claim should be paid to – this box only appears if you are the MP or Proxy.

  6. Step5

    In the Reference box, type a short description for this claim. This should be something to easily identify the claim at a later date.

  7. Step6

    Select an Expense category. You can start typing the expense and a list of possible expense categories is displayed.

    Alternatively, select the drop-down arrow to see the full list and then select the relevant category.

  8. Step7

    Select Add expense at the bottom of the screen.

  9. Step8

    Use the Calendar icon to select the date the expense was incurred.

  10. Step9

    Add a Description for the expense.

    Content included in this field will be published in line with our Publication Policy.

    If any comments are intended solely for IPSA, please use the Add information field described in Step 14.

  11. Step10

    Add the Amount of the expense that you are claiming for.

  12. Step11

    Select the Chevron icon at the end of the expense line.

    The chevrons open additional fields that are required for that particular expense.

  13. Step12

    Use the Spacebar on your keyboard to see a list of all the relevant budgets, addresses, stations, airports etc. Alternatively, you can start typing the specific value you want to select

    Depending on the type of expense being reimbursed, you may see a different set of options for completion.

    The example displayed in the accompanying screenshot is a claim for reimbursement for air travel.

  14. Step13

    Repeat steps six to 12 until all expenses have been added.

    An expense claim should not be more than 20 lines long.

  15. Step14

    If you have further comments about any lines on your claim, select Add information towards the bottom of the screen. Type your comments in the pop-up box.

    Please make sure to reference which line on the claim each comment refers to.

  16. Step15

    You must now add receipts to each claim line and then submit the claim.

    To do this, visit the right-hand menu, under the heading Expense overviewand select Receipts.

  1. Note!

    To register a dependant, open IPSA Online.

    You will need to provide supporting documentation for your dependant.

  2. Step1

    Select the Main menu tab.

  3. Step2

    Select the Forms tab on the left-hand side.

  4. Step3

    Select the Dependants Form from the menu.

  5. Step4

    Fill in the Form description field.

  6. Step5

    Select the Dependant type field and press the space bar.

    Select the dependant type from the list.

  7. Step6

    Confirm whether the dependant registration has been discussed with an Account Manager.

    This is only required for the Expected dependent type.

  8. Step7

    Fill in the First name and Last name. Each field can hold 21 characters.

  9. Step8

    Confirm whether you want an uplift to be applied to your Accommodation Budget as a result of registering a dependant using the Apply budget uplift? section of the form.

    You can only apply for a budget uplift, up to a maximum of three, for:

    • a dependant Under 18

    • a dependant aged 18-21, or

    • an other cared-for family member

  10. Step9

    In the Date of birth field, select the calendar icon and select the dependant's date of birth if they are under 21.

  11. Step10

    Before attaching documentation please select Save as draft.

  12. Step11

    Select the Paperclip icon in the top right corner of the form to add supporting evidence.

    These can also be emailed directly to your Account Manager.

  13. Step12

    Select Submit form.

Contact IPSA

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