1. Allocation criteria
Members of Parliament (MPs) who during their term of office need accommodation in Oslo in order to perform their duties as an MP may apply for commuter accommodation provided by the Storting.
The MP must state the reason for needing commuter accommodation and must provide documentation to support this.
MPs do not have the right to commuter accommodation if they are registered in the National Population Register as being, are actually resident in, or themselves have the use of accommodation within a 40-kilometre drive of the Storting. Here, the wording “have the use of accommodation” indicates that the MP, either by owning or renting accommodation, has unrestricted daily access to all or parts of a residence.
However, MPs are not considered to have use of a residence which they own within a 40-kilometre drive of the Storting if the residence in question is rented out in its entirety. The tenancy agreement must be confirmed at the time the MP applies for commuter accommodation.
2. Submitting an application
Applications for commuter accommodation must be sent to the Storting’s administration, which, based on the responsibility delegated to it by the Storting’s Presidium, makes allocation decisions in accordance with these guidelines.
An application which has been refused may not be appealed. Nevertheless, such a decision does not prohibit an MP from submitting a new application in the event of a change in circumstances or needs.
3. Contract of use
MPs who have been allocated commuter accommodation must sign a “Contract on the use of commuter accommodation for Members of Parliament”. This contract applies for the entire term of office.
Failure to comply with the terms of the contract may result in the allocation of the commuter accommodation being withdrawn.
The Storting’s administration also sends out an annual disclosure form, which MPs are obliged to complete and return. In the disclosure form, MPs must confirm that they live in the commuter accommodation, who else lives there, and any other information which has previously been provided.
4. Duty to disclose changes in circumstances
MPs are obliged to notify the Storting’s administration immediately of any circumstances that may lead to the allocation criteria no longer applying. This includes, for example, changes in accommodation circumstances in their home district or within a 40-kilometre drive of the Storting.
MPs who have the use of commuter accommodation are also obliged to notify the Storting’s administration of circumstances that may have an impact on tax-related matters relating to the commuter accommodation. It is the MP’s own responsibility to report all relevant tax-related matters to the Norwegian Tax Administration, cf. section 7 below.
5. Categories of accommodation
The Storting owns two categories of commuter accommodation:
- Family flats
- Ordinary flats
For the allocation of family flats, the following criteria are taken into consideration in the order of priority given:
- Total number of household members who will live permanently in the flat
- The age of the child/children
- The need for public services, such as schools, proximity to kindergartens, etc.
- Other special considerations
Household members are defined as being the MP’s spouse/partner and children under the age of 20 who are permanently resident with the family.
For the allocation of ordinary flats, the following criteria are taken into consideration in the order of priority given:
- Documented health needs
- Family circumstances, including whether or not the family/spouse/partner is permanently resident in the commuter accommodation
- Travel time between the Storting and the MP’s home, including public transport options for the journey
- The MP’s length of service
- The aim of having the fewest possible moves of accommodation
- Other special considerations
An MP’s length of service will only be taken into consideration in cases where two or more MPs are considered to fulfil the remaining criteria equally.
6. From MP to member of government
MPs who are appointed members of government must move out of their commuter accommodation within three months of the appointment so that the flat is once again at the Storting’s disposal.
7. Tax-related considerations
The Storting’s administration assumes the role of employer, and is responsible for reporting tax-related matters about payments and benefits relating to the position of MP to the Norwegian Tax Administration. The extent to which allocated commuter accommodation constitutes a taxable benefit to the MP will depend on the prevalent tax rules for commuters at any given time. It is the duty of individual MPs to familiarize themselves with and comply with their own personal tax liabilities. Questions relating to personal tax liability must be addressed to the Norwegian Tax Administration.
8. Exceptions to the guidelines
The Presidium has the right to make exceptions to the guidelines in special cases.