Registering an office or home

Overview

Before you can claim costs for your office or home, you must register the property. Get the forms to do so here, and find the resources to help selecting and leasing offices, making property amendments, or making claims.

Scheme rules

An annual budget is available from which to claim back the costs of renting, equipping and running constituency offices, surgeries, and other activities that support your MP parliamentary functions, where those costs are not directly covered by other budgets under the Scheme. [6.1]

You don’t have to rent formal office premises to use the budget. [6.2]

Rent cannot be claimed for a home office (and note that such an address will be treated as the MP’s home rather than an office, for travel claims). [6.8]

Note, you can only claim the following if the constituency or home office has already been registered with us: [6.15 / 6.16]

  • office rental costs (but never for home offices)

  • energy and water bills

  • business rates (but never for home offices)

  • contents and buildings insurance (the latter never for home offices)

  • rental and usage for telephone and internet

For more information, visit Completing a Property Registration Form.

Your annual office costs budget is:

  • London Area MP – £30,400 [6.10]

  • non-London Area MP – £27,470 [6.11]

In March 2020, IPSA provided an immediate increase of £10,000 to each MP’s office costs budget, to support their staff in moving to home working during the coronavirus pandemic.

This amount is available until the end of the 2020-21 financial year. Any unspent amount of this uplift from an MP’s 2019-20 office costs budget will be "rolled over" and made available in the current year.

The amounts available for individual MPs will be confirmed following the closure of the 2019-20 financial year.

Additionally, in your first year as an MP:

  • start-up supplement – £6,000 in the financial year of election [6.13]

For new MPs elected at the December 2019 election, IPSA will roll forward any amounts leftover from your start-up supplement into the new financial year. [6.14]

The start-up supplement is to help new MPs meet the costs of setting up one or more constituency offices. While it will probably be used toward big acquisitions, like new computers, desks or redecoration, it does not have to be used for such purchases and is simply a sum added to the office costs budget. [6.12]

You are entitled to exercise reasonable discretion in deciding what items fall within the office costs budget, provided your claims observe the fundamental principles and general conditions of the Scheme. [6.4]

Note, this is not an exhaustive list.

For the costs of renting and running a constituency office including things like stationery, website, and printing.

For a home office (but excluding rent), if that is where you or your staff routinely work – but we will only pay claims for costs over and above the normal cost of living in the home. [6.6]

You must comply with the relevant HMRC guidance to demonstrate it is a de facto office, and not a place of occasional home work. We will then reimburse you according to HMRC guidelines. [6.8]

For a constituency office only if it is located in the constituency (this includes a location within 20 miles of the constituency boundary) – unless it is a home office. A home office can be claimed for even if it is more than 20 miles from the constituency boundary. [6.7]

Costs for more than one office, provided you stay within the budget. If you cannot, but can demonstrate exceptional circumstances, you may be eligible for additional contingency funding to allow for the operation of more than one office.

As a guide, we consider MPs most likely to need more than one office where you represent a constituency with a large geographical area with limited public transport. [6.3]

This is covered by Requesting additional budget.

For more information on using IPSA Online, visit Applying for contingency funding.

Office removal costs, when moving to new office premises, as a contingency payment (rather than from the office costs budget). No pre-approval is required. Other costs associated with moving, including any legal fees, must be claimed from the office costs budget. [6.9]

For routine security measures from the office costs budget. These are ones that fall outside the recommended and further security covered by the security assistance budget.

For more information, visit Security measures & assistance. [6.8]

Phone calls, but only the portion that relate to parliamentary purposes. [6.29]

Pooled staffing services from either the office costs or staffing costs budget. Visit Staffing costs and Staffing costs you can claim for more information. Given that MPs’ staffing costs budgets are considerably larger than the office costs budget, MPs are advised to fund pooled services from their staffing costs budgets. [6.30]

You cannot claim [6.5]

  • alcoholic drinks

  • stationery provided by the House of Commons

  • newsletters

  • for any material that contains a party political logo or emblem (except for websites)

  • personal accountancy or tax advice

You must inform us straightaway when a rental agreement starts, ends, is renewed, or if there are any other changes to the contract, such as the rental amount or the landlord’s payment details. [6.18]

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 – such as losing your seat at a general election or leaving Parliament in other circumstances. In that event, you can only claim for rent and other office costs for a two-month winding-up period after the election. Any costs after that will not be met by us unless you can demonstrate they were unavoidable. [6.19]

You are responsible for checking the terms and conditions of rental contracts, including any service charges, penalties and other clauses that may lead to unexpected costs. You should also check your liability for business rates before signing the contract. [6.17]

If the rent on a new tenancy will be claimed from the office costs budget, you can apply to us for a loan to cover the deposit due at its start. [6.22]

Repayment must be made by the earlier of:

  • one month after the tenancy’s end

  • one month after the end of the winding-up period (where you are leaving Parliament)

You will be responsible for repaying the loan amount to us in full – any deductions from the deposit will be your responsibility. [6.23]

Where a constituency office is rented from a political party or constituency association [6.20]:

  • you must provide a valuation of the market rate for the contract, prepared by a valuer regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

  • the valuation should clearly state the evidence the market rate valuation is based on

  • the rent must not exceed the market rate

The cost of the market valuation can be claimed from the office costs budget. [6.21]

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]

Where you grant a licence, sublet or otherwise allow others to use any part of your rented constituency office, a fee must be charged. This should cover an appropriate share of the rent and other costs, and must be paid to us in full. [6.24]

You must notify us at the start of any such arrangement, including:

  • a copy of the subletting/licence/use agreement

  • details of the other party and the proportion of the property sublet/occupied

  • the fee being charged

  • the frequency and manner of repayment to IPSA [6.25]

Where the other party is a political party, constituency association, or connected party:

  • you must provide a valuation of the market rate for the licence or sublet, prepared by a valuer regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

  • the valuation should clearly state the evidence the market rate valuation is based on

  • the rent must not be less than the market rate

You should get the landlord’s permission before you allow another party the use of your office, and observe the relevant terms of your rental agreement. Any subletting/licence agreement you grant to a third party should set out each party’s liability for costs, and clear provision for ending the arrangement.

We will not cover any costs arising due to the use by the sublessee/licensee, including any damage they cause.

Remember we will not cover costs exceeding the office costs budget limit, even if the end of a subletting/licence agreement leads to an increase in costs. [6.26]

If an MP shares a constituency office or surgery – for example, with another MP, or a member of the Scottish Parliament, Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly – office costs may be claimed only for the appropriate proportion of the rent and other office costs.

The MP will be required to inform IPSA of the relevant proportion when registering the office. [6.27]

The homeworking allowance is payable to MPs’ staff members who are working from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, to cover homeworking costs such as telephone, internet, electricity and gas usage. These amounts will be paid directly to relevant staff members through the payroll, with the costs allocated to the office costs budget. [6.31]

The homeworking allowance amount is £26 per month. Payment of this amount will be pro-rated for staff members who start or end their employment during a month. [6.32]

In respect of a staff member in receipt of the homeworking allowance, IPSA will not accept claims (or will seek repayment of claims already paid) [under paragraphs 6.6 and 6.16] for costs that are incurred as a result of homeworking and are additional to those which are part of the normal cost of living in the home, including:

a. energy and water bills

b. contents insurance, or

c. rental and usage costs for telephone and internet access [6.33]

The homeworking allowance is an alternative to making individual claims under paragraph 6.6 and 6.16 of the Scheme. Staff members must be working from home to be eligible for the allowance but do not have to register their home as an office.

The monthly amount of £26 has been set by HMRC as the maximum that can be paid to employees without evidence of the costs incurred.

The homeworking allowance will be administered through the payroll, along with the staff member’s salary.

Our expectation, in line with HMRC guidance is that, generally, the allowance should not be taxable, but a staff member's individual circumstances may mean that they should seek further advice from HMRC.

If individual staff members are not working from home, or do not wish to be in receipt of the homeworking allowance, the employing MP must notify IPSA by the normal monthly deadline for payroll changes (the 15th of each month). This also applies where staff members who were previously in receipt of the homeworking allowance have returned to their normal place of work (the constituency or Westminster office). [6.34]

IPSA may in its discretion determine whether and when to cease payment of the homeworking allowance and will provide reasonable notice, to be published on IPSA's website and communicated to MPs and their staff members. In making such determinations, IPSA will take into consideration Government guidance relating to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as other relevant considerations. [6.35]

Using IPSA Online

The Property Registration Form allows you to register a property with IPSA. You should use this from to register the following:

  • constituency office

  • IPSA funded accommodation

  • home office (MP or staff)

  • private residence (to claim security costs)

  1. Note!

    To complete a Property Registration Form, open IPSA Online.

  2. Step1

    Select the Main menu tab.

  3. Step2

    Select the Forms tab.

  4. Step3

    Select Property Registration Form.

    You will now be required to complete several fields with information spread over several tabs. Any field marked with a red asterisk is mandatory. You may not need to complete all tabs, these depend on the type of property you are registering.

    Any box marked with an information icon contains important information regarding the registration of your property. Please ensure you read this in each section.

  5. Step4

    The Form ID field will state [NEW] and will be automatically generated when the form is saved.

  6. Step5

    In the Form description field enter a description of what the form is for, following this convention:

    MP Name – First Line of Address – Property Type

  7. Step6

    In the MP or staff name section, in the Type of property field, press the space bar and select the type of property you wish to register.

  8. Step7

    Within the Property details section, in the Type of property field, select the drop-down arrow and select the type of property again.

  9. Step8

    Complete the address details.

  10. Step9

    If registering a Private residence, go straight to the Declaration tab.

    If registering a Home office, go straight to the Home office tab.

    If registering any other property, go to the Tenancy agreement tab.

  11. Step10

    Only complete the Home office tab if you are registering a property as a Home office.

  12. Step11

    In the Date claim to start field, select the Calendar icon and select the relevant date claims for this property will start.

  13. Step12

    To list the costs you wish to claim for, in the next section select the Add button.

  14. Step13

    In the Expense to claim field, enter a description of the expense.

  15. Step14

    In the Percentage to claim field, enter the percentage of the total cost that will be claimed.

  16. Step15

    After entering each expense on separate lines, go straight to the Declaration tab.

  17. Step16

    Only complete the Tenancy agreement tab if you are registering a Constituency office or IPSA funded accommodation.

  18. Step17

    Using the information on your tenancy agreement, complete the fields in the Tenancy agreement section.

  19. Step18

    If this property is replacing a property already registered, select Yes in the Replace current property? field and complete a Property Amendment Form to inform IPSA.

  20. Step19

    In the Shared tenancy section, complete the fields if you are sharing the tenancy.

  21. Step20

    If you require a deposit loan for the property, select the Deposit Loan tab.

  22. Step21

    Complete the fields of the Deposit Loan with details of the deposit loan you require. The date you enter should be the date you wish the deposit loan to be paid.

  23. Step22

    Select the Payee details tab.

  24. Step23

    When you are in Payee details in the Lease section, complete both fields. If you do not have a signed lease, you should submit the signed lease along with a Property Amendment Form when you have obtained it.

  25. Step24

    If you require IPSA to pay your rent directly, complete all fields in the Direct rental payments section. If you will claim rent via reimbursement claims, go straight to the Landlord details section at the bottom of the page.

  26. Step25

    In the Payee details section, complete all fields to provide the details of who IPSA will be paying.

  27. Step26

    In the Landlord details section, select Add and enter the relevant details.

  28. Step27

    Select the Declaration tab.

  29. Step28

    When in the Declarationtab, in the Additional Information section, enter any further relevant information IPSA should be aware of.

  30. Step29

    Read the Disclaimer.

  31. Step30

    Read the Declaration carefully and make sure you have adhered to it.

  32. Step31

    Select the drop-down arrow below the Declaration and select Yes.

  33. Step32

    Select Save as draft at the bottom of the screen.

  34. Step33

    To attach a copy of your tenancy agreement and any relevant documents, select the Paperclip icon in the top-right corner of the screen.

  35. Step34

    First select Add a document and then select Property documents from theDocument type drop-down.

  36. Step35

    Select Upload and choose the relevant documents from your computer’s documents.

  37. Step36

    Enter a Document title, preferably noting the first line of the address, then select Save and close the document archive.

  38. Step37

    When you are satisfied you have completed the form with all relevant details, Submit at the bottom of the screen.

  39. Step38

    A pop-up will appear informing you the form has successfully been submitted. Note down the IPZZ number for future reference.

The Property Amendment Form allows you to Inform IPSA of any changes to one of your registered properties. Changes may include:

  • amending bank details of a landlord

  • amending rent due dates

  • amending a landlord’s details

  • amending a rent amount

  • cancelling rent payments

  • submitting a lease renewal

  • suspending a rental payment

  • restarting a rental payment

  1. Note!

    To complete the Property Amendment Form, open IPSA Online.

  2. Step1

    Select the Forms tab.

  3. Step2

    Select the Property Amendment Form.

  4. Step3

    The Form ID field will state [NEW] and will be automatically generated when the form is saved.

  5. Step4

    In the Form description field enter a description of what the form is for, following this convention: MP Name – Type of change – Property Type

  6. Step5

    Select the Registered address field and press the space bar. Select the relevant address you wish to update (ACC is Accommodation and CON is Constituency).

  7. Step6

    Select the Type of change field and press the space bar. Select the type of change you wish to make from the list.

  8. Step7

    In the Change effective from field, select the Calendar icon and select the date the change is effective from.

  9. Step8

    In the Details/description field, type in the changes you wish to make to the registered property. Provide as much detail as possible so IPSA does not have to contact you for further information and hold up the processing of your request.

  10. Step9

    Select Save as draft at the bottom of the screen.

    This is an important step as the Property documents option doesn’t appear until the form has been saved as draft.

  11. Step10

    To attach a copy of any relevant documents, select the Paperclip icon in the top-right corner of the screen.

  12. Step11

    Select Add a document and select Property documents from the Document type drop-down.

  13. Step12

    Select Upload, then select the relevant documents from your computer’s documents.

  14. Step13

    Enter a Document title, preferably noting the first line of the address, then select Save and close the document archive.

  15. Step14

    When you are satisfied you have completed the form with all relevant details, Submit at the bottom of the screen.

  16. Step15

    A pop-up will appear informing you the form has successfully been submitted. Note down the IPZZ number for future reference.

Downloads

Contact IPSA

To get additional support, book a call back.