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

The accommodation costs budget is designed to meet costs incurred by MPs as a result of working from two permanent locations.

The rules covering claims for hotels only apply to the use of hotels as an alternative to rental accommodation.

Where hotels are being claimed under travel and subsistence (for example, when MPs stay overnight when on parliamentary business outside London or their constituency), the rules outlined in Travel & subsistence apply. [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 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.

Spending more than the budget limit

MPs may enter into a rental agreement that takes you over the budget limit, but they will have to fund the extra cost themselves.

If IPSA is paying the rent directly to the landlord, it will only pay up to the amount affordable within the budget. [4.15]

Rental agreements

Any costs of drawing up rental agreements and any agency fees incurred on entering into or extending a contract can be claimed from the accommodation costs budget.

No additional funding is available for such costs. [4.16]

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]

IPSA will pay for rent and associated costs for a property only after it has been registered and accompanied by the required documentation, including the MP's rental agreement or proof of ownership of the property. [4.13]

MPs may rent accommodation from other MPs, provided the landlord MP is not a connected party.

Only the tenant MP may claim the associated costs for that property. [4.14]

For more information, visit Completing a Property Registration Form.

Accommodation costs may only be claimed for one of the following at a time :

  • hotel accommodation

  • rental payments

  • associated costs” on rentals or owned property

  • for MPs who own their property, associated costs only [4.3]

Associated costs 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) [4.4]

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

  • cleaning

  • gardening

  • the purchase or maintenance of furniture

  • home contents insurance, TV services, or TV licences [4.5]

If two or more MPs share rental accommodation, they must notify IPSA when they register the property.

The rental agreement must include the name of each MP sharing the accommodation. [4.21]

Each MP will be entitled to the full accommodation costs budget – and all costs claimed should be shared equally between those MPs. [4.22]

MPs are responsible for checking the terms and conditions of their contracts, including any service charges, penalty clauses and other clauses which may otherwise lead to unexpected costs.

You should check your liability for council tax on the premises before signing the contract. [4.18]

MPs must inform IPSA immediately when a rental agreement commences, ends, or is renewed, or if there are changes to the contract, such as the rental charge or the landlord’s payment details. [4.19]

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

MPs should negotiate a clause in their rental agreement to allow you to give two months’ notice in the event of a change in circumstances, such as leaving Parliament or any other circumstances which mean you have to vacate the property.

You will only be able to claim for rent and associated costs during a two-month winding-up period after leaving Parliament.

Any further costs beyond that period will not be funded by IPSA. [4.20]

An MP who intends to claim for rental costs may apply to IPSA for a loan to cover any deposit payable at the commencement of a tenancy. This loan will not be deducted from the accommodation costs budget. [4.23]

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) [4.24]

Applications for loans must be submitted by the MP and accompanied by a rental agreement for IPSA to approve.

IPSA will pay the loan to the MP, who will forward the deposit to the landlord.

IPSA may consider a deposit loan application that is accompanied by a draft rental agreement – in these circumstances, a fully signed agreement must be submitted to IPSA within one month of the start of the tenancy.

If this condition is not met, IPSA may recover the deposit loan and any rent already paid under the draft agreement from the MP. [4.25]

You can apply by Completing a Property Registration Form.

MPs may not hold more than one loan for a deposit on rental accommodation at any one time, except where IPSA agrees otherwise. [4.26]

The MP is responsible for securing the return of the deposit and for repaying the amount in full to IPSA, no later than one month after the date on which the tenancy comes to an end, 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. [4.27]

Loans for holding deposits

MPs may also apply for a loan for a holding deposit before the start of the tenancy.

Holding deposit loans must be repaid to IPSA within 30 days of signing the tenancy agreement or refund of the holding deposit, whichever is earlier.

IPSA may also agree to recover the amount via alternative means. [4.28]

Download the IPSA Repayment Form.

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

Other costs associated with moving, including any legal costs, must be claimed from the accommodation costs budget. [4.17]

For more information, visit Applying for contingency funding.

Hotel costs claimed from the accommodation costs budget are subject to a nightly cost limit. These limits are inclusive of VAT.

If the hotel’s nightly rate includes breakfast, the full amount will be reimbursed, provided that the relevant limit is not exceeded. [4.10]

MPs can claim hotel costs up to £190 per night in London and £150 per night elsewhere in the UK (including VAT).

MPs may claim for the cost of hotel accommodation for their dependants. The nightly cost limit for such claims applies to hotel accommodation for all dependants (rather than for each dependant). [4.11]

MPs may group together a number of nights during a single stay, where the cost varies on different nights, and claim the full amount if the average per night does not exceed the nightly limit. [4.12]

For more information, visit Travel & subsistence.

Recommended security measures

IPSA will fund the cost of recommended security measures from the security assistance budget.

The recommended security measures are owned by the Members’ Security Support Service (MSSS) at the House of Commons, in conjunction with the National Police Chiefs’ Council, and have been developed by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office and Secured by Design.

IPSA will fund these measures as a matter of routine. [10.6]

Where such measures relate to a property, they may be installed at MPs’ constituency offices, IPSA-funded accommodation and MPs’ private residences, providing the property has been registered with IPSA.

For non-London Area MPs, security funding is normally available for one constituency and one London Area residence.

For London Area MPs, it is normally available only for one London Area residence. Recommended security measures may also be those unrelated to specific properties. [10.7]

Further security measures

Where the recommended measures have been installed by the House of Commons’ approved contractor, IPSA will pay the costs direct to the contractor.

Where MPs choose not to use the House of Commons’ approved contract, they must, before agreeing to proceed with the proposed measures, submit an application for the funding supported by at least one independent quote.

The quote will be checked to ensure the proposed work meets the recommended measures specification and presents value for money compared with the approved contractor. [10.8]

Further measures

IPSA will also fund further security measures recommended by the MSSS on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with agreed processes, for individual MPs who have additional security requirements.

Such measures may be applied to the properties listed above, or to other properties, depending on police advice.

Further security measures may also be those unrelated to specific properties. [10.9]

Further security measures may be funded for individuals other than the MP, such as family members or staff members, where they are recommended by the MSSS. [10.10]

Learn more about the Information Commissioner's Office fee.

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

To get additional support, contact us.