MPs' rental accommodation

Request

  1. Please can you tell me how many MPs are claiming from you for rent on a London home which is rented from another MP?

  2. Please can you tell me who these MPs are – identifying each pair of landlords and tenants?

  3. Please can you tell me how many examples IPSA has found of current MPs “house-swapping”, in other words renting properties in London from each other?  Please can you supply details of these swaps?

  4. Please can you tell me how many examples IPSA has discovered of MPs claiming for rented accommodation from colleagues in ‘chains’?  For example, MP ‘A’ rents from MP ‘B’; MP ‘B’ from MP ‘C’; MP ‘C’’ from ‘D’, and so on, and perhaps even MP ‘D’ rents accommodation from MP ‘A’?  How many such chains has IPSA discovered?  Which MPs are involved, and please can you set out details of the chains?

  5. Please can you tell me how many examples IPSA has discovered of current MPs claiming rent for London accommodation which is owned by people who served as  MPs in the 2005-10 Parliament but who are no longer MPs?  Please can you supply me with details of these arrangements, ie. both landlords and tenants?

  6. Please can you send me all documentation containing information compiled by IPSA relating to the above matters, and relating to discussions about possible amendments to the rules for MPs which govern claims for rent on London accommodation.


Response

Taking each part of your request in turn:

1. ‘How many MPs are claiming from you [IPSA] for rent on a London home which is rented from another MP? Please can you tell me who these MPs are – identifying each pair of landlords and tenants?’

I can confirm that IPSA holds the information that falls within the description specified in this part of your request. Four MPs are currently renting accommodation from four other current MPs.

You requested the names of the MPs acting as landlords and tenants. In IPSA’s view, the information you have requested is exempt under section 40 (personal information) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as the information, the name of MPs and who they are renting from, constitute third party data.

Furthermore, IPSA proactively publishes information regarding accommodation rent paid by MPs, including those MPs relevant to this request. If IPSA were to release the names, it would be possible to ascertain the income received by the landlord MPs in relation to the property they are letting. This would again constitute personal data.

Section 40(2) provides that personal data about third parties is exempt information if one of the conditions set out in section 40(3) is satisfied. Under the FOI Act disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential. For further information, please see www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/contents.

2. ‘Please can you tell me how many examples IPSA has found of current MPs “house-swapping”, in other words, renting properties in London from each other? Please can you supply details of these swaps?’

In response to your request, our search of our records has not disclosed any evidence of “house-swapping” as described above.

3. ‘Please can you tell me how many examples IPSA has discovered of MPs claiming for rented accommodation from colleagues in ‘chains’? For example, MP ‘A’ rents from MP ‘B’; MP ‘B’ from MP ‘C’; MP ‘C’’ from ‘D’, and so on, and perhaps even MP ‘D’ rents accommodation from MP ‘A’?  How many such chains has IPSA discovered?  Which MPs are involved, and please can you set out details of the chains?’

In response to your request, our search of our records has not disclosed any evidence of MPs claiming for rented accommodation from colleagues in ‘chains’ as described above.

4. ‘Please can you tell me how many examples IPSA has discovered of current MPs claiming rent for London accommodation which is owned by people who served as MPs in the 2005-10 Parliament but who are no longer MPs?  Please can you supply me with details of these arrangements, i.e. both landlords and tenants?’

I can confirm that IPSA holds the information that falls within the description specified in this part of your request. Four MPs are currently renting accommodation from four former MPs.

Again, you have requested the names of the MPs acting as landlords and tenants. In IPSA’s view, the information you have requested is exempt under section 40 (personal information) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). I refer you to my response to part 1 of your request. 

Before I proceed to the remaining part of your request, you may wish to note that paragraph 4.7 of the MPs’ Scheme of Expenses and Costs, states that:

MPs may rent accommodation from another MP, provided that the landlord MP is not a connected party. Only the tenant MP may claim the associated expenditure for that property.

It should be further noted that the Scheme does not prevent any MP from claiming expenses relating to accommodation rented from former MPs, provided that the landlord is not a connected party (please see paragraph 3.15 of the Third Edition of the MPs’ Expenses Scheme).

5. ‘Please can you send me all documentation containing information compiled by IPSA relating to the above matters, and relating to discussions about possible amendments to the rules for MPs which govern claims for rent on London accommodation?’

IPSA has conducted a search for information relating to the matters discussed in parts 1 to 4 of your Freedom of Information request. The only information compiled by IPSA in relation to these matters is provided in this letter.

With respect to your request for information ‘relating to discussions about possible amendments to the rules for MPs which govern claims for rent on London accommodation,’ to date, there have been no e-mails, letters or any other documented discussions relating to possible amendments to the rules which govern claims for the rent on London accommodation relating to the issue of ‘house-swapping’ or the ‘chains’ described above.

For information relating to amendments to the rules for Accommodation Expenses more generally, please see the March 2011 Annual Review – report on the Consultation.

I hope this provides you with the information you are seeking. If you do require further information regarding amendments to Accommodation Expenditure rules more generally, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Ref:
FOI2011-109
Disclosure:
January 9, 2012
Categories:
MPs' ACCOMMODATION
Exemptions Applied:
Section 40