Details of MPs renting out properties they own

Request

This is a request for the names of all MPs that are renting out their properties to another MP either directly or through any agent. I would also like the details of the rents charged and any other information relating to alternative accomodations charged to the public purse by the MP renting out their own property.

I would also like a statement from the IPSA as to whether it supports or condones such practice as being within the spirit of the expenses arrangments for those in public sector positions eg MPs, miisters, House of Lords etc

You later clarified this as follows:

I want to know the names of all MPs that have/own a property in London and choose to rent that property out to another MP directly or through an agent whilst at the SAME TIME claiming rental for another London property themselves. I also want to know if the MP renting the other MP's property is also claiming for the expense from the public purse at the same time. In other words we are in effect paying two rentals when one of them would be unnecessary.

What checks did IPSA undertake to ensure that MPs expenses met the SPIRIT as well as the letter of the rules.


Response

IPSA holds some of the information that you request.

IPSA does not hold a list of MPs that own residences in London.  Where a Member has made a claim under the MPs’ Scheme for Business Costs and Expenses (the Scheme) for mortgage interest subsidy, details of these claims are available on our website.  You may view the published information by visiting our publication website. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards maintains and monitors the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, which, we understand, includes details of properties that are owned and rented out by Members.  The Register of Members’ Financial Interests may be viewed via this link to the Commissioner’s website.

For information relating to the MPs’ rental arrangements, I can confirm that IPSA has already provided information relating  to this under a previous FOI request (Reference FOI2012-A067a), which included information relating to details of all Members of Parliament who claim for rental accommodation under the Scheme and their landlord names.  Where the published landlord name is a Member of Parliament, this is clearly marked.

Our response to FOI request reference FOI2012-A067a is published on our website and may be viewed via this link.  Therefore, IPSA has taken the view that the information you have requested is exempt under Section 21 of the FOIA (Information already accessible by other means).

We have already provided details relating to the location of rental properties claimed for under the Scheme in a previous Freedom of Information (FOI) request (reference FOI2012-A063a).  Our response to this request may also be viewed via this link.

The FOIA states that information that is accessible by other means is not subject to release.  As the information you have requested is already available on our website it is exempt from disclosure under section 21 of the FOIA (information accessible to applicant by other means).

IPSA sets a framework of rules within which MPs can claim legitimate business costs and expenses. When an MP makes a claim, IPSA will assess whether that claim complies with the rules. It cannot make judgements about whether individual claims are within the spirit of the rules as that would risk a subjective and potentially arbitrary judgement being made. Within the framework of the rules, it is for MPs to decide whether their claims are necessary for the conduct of their parliamentary functions. A view may also be formed by the public, who can see the details of the claims on the IPSA website.  If there is sufficient public concern about certain types of claim, even when they comply with the rules, IPSA may consider whether or not changes are needed to the rules.  We consult on the rules annually and are doing so at the moment. The issue of MPs renting to other MPs forms part of the consultation.

Ref:
FOI2012-A082
Disclosure:
November 29, 2012
Categories:
MPs' ACCOMMODATION
Exemptions Applied:
Section 21