Everything You Need To Know About The Adequate Accommodation Provision And Spouse Visas
Since the beginning of time, newlywed couples have desired a home of their own, where they can start creating their life, families and happy memories. However, if you are applying for a UK spouse visa, the term ‘suitable accommodation’ takes on a whole new meaning. Unless the sponsoring spouse, i.e. the one who is ‘settled’ in the UK, can show they can provide you both with a decent roof over your heads, even the best Immigration lawyer is likely to fail in successfully obtaining a UK spouse visa for you.
So how is suitable accommodation defined for the purposes of obtaining a UK spouse visa?
Adequate accommodation is not itself defined in paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules. The relevant provisions of Part 8 and Appendix FM confirm that accommodation must be owned or occupied exclusively by the parties. Appendix FM now reflects the Home Office's pre-existing guidance and provides that accommodation will not be regarded as adequate if:
- it is, or will be, overcrowded, or
- it contravenes public health regulations
You do not need to occupy the house exclusively for it to be considered adequate accommodation under the Immigration Rules. Paragraph 6 only requires that at least ‘part of the accommodation must be for the exclusive use of the family’. There is no prohibition on a couple living with other family members, provided that there is a part of the house (even if it is just one bedroom) which they occupy exclusively, and their presence in the house does not result in the property becoming statutorily overcrowded.
Overcrowding is defined in the Housing Act 1985, which specifies the numbers permitted for a given number of rooms or given floor area. Account is only taken of rooms with a floor area larger than 50 sq. ft. and excludes kitchens, bathrooms, toilets, etc.
Number of rooms
Permitted number of persons
|an additional 2 persons for each room in excess of 5|
For the purposes of calculation, children under the age of one do not count as a ‘person’, and a child aged between one and ten years is classified as half a person.
Care must be taken when the accommodation relied upon is a house in multiple occupation (HMO). An HMO is defined in the IDIs as a “house which is occupied by persons who do not form a single household". This covers hotels and hostels, as well as houses lived in by two or more family units, or by a couple (and their dependent children) living with parents or other family members.
How to prove you have adequate accommodation
Documents that a sponsoring partner can use to prove they have adequate accommodation available can include a:
- copy of the property deeds
- letter from the bank or building society outlining the mortgage arrangements
- lease agreement and rent book
- letter from the Local Authority or Housing Association
- letter from the family member or friend who is making the accommodation available to the applicant and their family unit
The adequate accommodation requirement pertaining to the UK spouse visa is designed to ensure migrants do not come to the country and end up living in overcrowded or substandard housing conditions. To obtain the best advice regarding whether or not your accommodation is adequate, consult an Immigration lawyer who can advise you on whether or not your housing meets the required standard and the next best steps to take if it does not.
OTS Solicitors is one of the most respected immigration law firms in London. Our immigration team dealing with UK Spouse Visas comprises of Smit Kumar, Hans Sok Appadu and Maryem Ahmed, all of whom would be happy to talk to you about applying for a Spouse Visa and proving that you have adequate accommodation available for you and you partner to reside in.
By making an appointment with one of our Immigration solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today.
If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this blog, please phone our London office on 0203 959 9123.