Meeting the Accommodation Requirement: UK Spouse or Fiance Visa
Whether you are applying for entry clearance or for further leave to remain as a partner under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules an applicant will need to meet an accommodation requirement.
What is the accommodation requirement for a UK spouse or fiance visa?
An applicant needs to provide evidence that there will be adequate accommodation for them, without the need to rely on public funds and in accommodation which the family owns or occupies exclusively. The accommodation will not be regarded as adequate if-
(a) it is, or will be, overcrowded; or
(b) it contravenes public health regulations.
Therefore an applicant will need to provide evidence as to the basis on which the property is owned or occupied and that they are legally and exclusively occupying the property. The Immigration Rules, part 6 defines what this means: “occupy exclusively” in relation to accommodation shall mean that part of the accommodation must be for the exclusive use of the family”. Therefore at least part of the accommodation must be for the use of the family, for example a bedroom.
How can the accommodation requirement be met?
In order to meet the accommodation requirement the applicant may produce a copy of the title deeds and evidence of the mortgage arrangements and confirmation that the obligations are being met. If the applicant resides with a family member, he or she may consider providing a letter from the family member confirming the basis on which they can reside at the property. If rented from the local authority the applicant may produce evidence from the authority confirming the basis on which they reside at the property.
The Immigration Directorate Instructions IDIs Family Migration Appendix FM Section 1.7A Adequate Maintenance and Accommodation dated August 2015 make it clear that “greater care needs to be taken in respect of a private tenancy”, and an Applicant may consider providing evidence of the tenancy agreement, letter from the landlord or agency and confirmation that the full rent is paid on time each month.
The Housing Act 1985 generally governs the rules in respect of overcrowding. Broadly speaking, children under 10 years can share a room, as can couples but other individuals should have separate rooms. Children under the age of 1 do not count for the purpose of this calculation. When working out the available rooms, those that are bedrooms or are living rooms and could be used as a bedroom are therefore counted for these purposes, providing they are over the requisite size. Bathrooms and kitchens cannot be counted.
A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is defined as “a house which is occupied by persons who do not form a single household”. This can cover accommodation such as hotels or hostels or houses. There are separate overcrowding provisions. As the Immigration Directorate Instructions suggest it may be necessary to invite the local authority to confirm that there is no objection to an additional person residing at the property.
The condition of the property relied upon must meet public health standards.
A property inspection report by a Chartered Surveyor or local authority can assist with ensuring that all aspects of the rules are met. An independently obtained assessment will provide full details of the accommodation, together with confirmation of the number of rooms and those in occupation at the property.
Contact our Immigration Barristers in London
If you would like professional legal advice in connection with an application for entry clearance or leave to remain under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules as a partner then please contact our direct access immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our online form