This relates to Spouse Visa Accommodation Requirements as an applicant is required to provide documents relating to accommodation in the UK with the spouse visa application. Please note: applicants are not required to make any payments for accommodation until they receive a decision on their spouse visa application.
- Exclusive Ownership or Occupation
- Adequate Accommodation Definition
- Room Standard Vs. Space Standard
- Example of a One Room Sleeping Accommodation
- Floor Area
- House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
- Overcrowding Notice
- The possibility of Recourse to Public Funds
- Written Confirmation from the Local Authority
- Public Health Regulations
- Property Inspection Report
- Personal Ownership
- Mortgaged Properly
- Property Inspection Report
- Living with a Family Member or Friend
- Rented Accommodation
- Property Rented by the Local Authority
- Private Tenancy
- Individual Experiences
Spouse Visa Adequate Accommodation in the UK
In terms of Paragraph E-ECP.3.4 of the Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules, an applicant is required to furnish proof of adequate accommodation in the UK, which is either owned or occupied exclusively by the applicant or the sponsor with the entry clearance application for the spouse visa from outside the UK. The accommodation should neither be overcrowded nor contravene public health regulations. Accordingly, the three requirements that an accommodation needs to fulfil are:
- Exclusive ownership or occupation;
- Adequate and not overcrowded; and
- Compliance with public health regulations.
Immigration Rules Appendix FM
E-ECP.3.4. The applicant must provide evidence that there will be adequate accommodation, without recourse to public funds, for the family, including other family members who are not included in the application but who live in the same household, which the family own or occupy exclusively: accommodation will not be regarded as adequate if-
(a) it is, or will be, overcrowded; or
(b) it contravenes public health regulations.
Exclusive Ownership or Occupation
The Paragraph 6 of the Immigration provides the definition of the exclusive occupation of an accommodation. Accordingly, irrespective of the ownership of the property, a certain identifiable portion of the property- for instance, a bedroom– needs to be available for the exclusive use of the applicant and his/her partner in the UK.
6. In these Rules the following interpretations apply:
“occupy exclusively” in relation to accommodation shall mean that part of the accommodation must be for the exclusive use of the family.
Adequate Accommodation Definition
Accommodation will not be regarded as adequate if it is or will be, overcrowded under the respective regulations such as:
- Sections 324-326 of the Housing Act 1985;
- Sections 135 to 137 of Part VII of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987;
- the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1988 or Section 76 of The Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1992 No. 1725 (NI. 15).
However, overcrowding is allowed in the following situations:
- Overcrowding due to a new-born baby or a child crossing one of the stated ages and alternative accommodation arrangements have yet to be made;
- temporary accommodation– for instance if a family member intends to live in the accommodation for a short time; and
- when a local authority has given specific permission i.e. licensed overcrowding.
Room Standard Vs. Space Standard
This can be comprehended by an example as most of the information available on the websites only talks about the Room Standard and not the Space Standard.
According to the Section 325(2)(a) of the Housing Act 1985, which relates to the Room Standard, children under the age of ten (10) are not counted; however, under Section 326(2)(a), which relates to Space Standard, a child aged one or over but under ten is counted as one-half.
Example of a One Room Sleeping Accommodation
For instance, an accommodation is a one (1) room sleeping accommodation. The house would be occupied by a couple with one child aged 2 years. The housing is overcrowded under 326(2)(a) as a child aged one or over but under ten is counted as one-half of a unit and in terms of Table I Section 326(2)(c) of the Housing Act 1985, only 2 people are permitted for such 1 room sleeping accommodation. However, the accommodation would have been adequate if:
- the child instead of 2 years, was less than 1 year, as the space standard does not take into account a child under the age of one; or
- in addition to one sleeping room, there was a living room then the accommodation would have been adequate for up to 3 people.
Moreover, according to Table II Section 326(2)(c) of the Housing Act 1985 a floor area of 110 sq. ft. or more is required for adequately accommodating 2 persons.
Housing Act 1985
324 Definition of overcrowding.
A dwelling is overcrowded for the purposes of this Part when the number of persons sleeping in the dwelling is such as to contravene—
(a)the standard specified in section 325 (the room standard), or
(b)the standard specified in section 326 (the space standard).
Housing (Scotland) Act 1987
5 Definition of Overcrowding
5.1 Overcrowding falls within the provisions of Part VII of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, which relates to overcrowding in all housing tenures. Part VII provides the legal definition of overcrowding (sections 135 to 137). A house is regarded as being overcrowded if it fails either of two tests – the room standard and/or the space standard.
5.2 The room standard (section 136) is contravened when two people of opposite sexes, who are not living as husband and wife, have to sleep in the same room. This does not apply to children under 10. The rooms regarded as sleeping accommodation are defined as being ‘of a type normally used in the locality either as a bedroom or as a living room’.
5.3 The space standard (section 137) sets limits on the number of people who can occupy a house, relative to both the number and floor area of the rooms available as sleeping accommodation. For this purpose, children aged at least one but less than 10 count as half of a person, while children under the age of one do not count at all. Rooms of less than 50 square feet are not taken into account.
The Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1992 No. 1725 (NI. 15)
Overcrowding in houses in multiple occupation
76.—(1) If it appears to the Executive, in the case of a house in multiple occupation, that an excessive number of persons is being or is likely to be accommodated on the premises having regard to the rooms available, the Executive may serve a notice under this paragraph (an “overcrowding notice”) complying with paragraphs (3) and (4) and including either—
(a) the requirement set out in paragraph (5); or
(b) that set out in paragraph (6).
A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a house which is occupied by persons who do not form a single household.
The HMO can be a hotel or hostel, as well as house occupied by a min of three tenants and forming more than one households (families) and the occupants’ share bathroom, toilet, or kitchen with other tenants.
A household is defined as either a single person or members of the same family who are living together. A family means people who are married or living together in a heterosexual or same-sex relationship, relatives, half-relatives such as siblings, maternal or paternal uncles or aunts, grandparents, or step relations such as step-children or step-parents.
Private Renting: Houses in Multiple Occupation
Houses in multiple occupation
Your home is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) if both of the following apply:
- at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
- you share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants
Your home is a large HMO if all of the following apply:
- it’s at least 3 storeys high
- at least 5 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
- you share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants
A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:
- married or living together – including people in same-sex relationships
- relatives or half-relatives, for example grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
- step-parents and step-children
In the UK, a house in multiple occupation (HMO) has separate overcrowding provisions. A local authority has the power to serve an overcrowding notice in relation to an HMO specifying the max number of occupants permitted in a house or preventing any additional residents.
The possibility of Recourse to Public Funds
In some case, an overcrowding notice may render an occupant homeless and if the occupant is old/infirm or has dependent children then the local authority may be obliged to provide accommodation under the Housing Act 1985. Such accommodation would count as recourse to public funds under the Immigration Rules.
Written Confirmation from the Local Authority
In case of HMOs, it is expedient for a successful applicant to enclose a written confirmation from the local authority with the endorsement that the local authority has no objection if an additional resident starts living the HMO.
6. In these Rules the following interpretations apply:
“public funds” means
(a) housing under Part VI or VII of the Housing Act 1996 and under Part II of the Housing Act 1985, Part I or II of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, Part II of the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 or Part II of the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1988;
Public Health Regulations
Most of the properties in the UK comply with the respective public health regulations. Therefore, it is quite unlikely that any livable residential property contravenes public health regulations in the UK. However, if the immigration officer has satisfactory evidence that the accommodation contravenes any local or national public health regulation then the officer may conclude that the accommodation is not adequate. Public Health Act, 1875, provides a useful understanding of the subject matter.
Property Inspection Report
A property inspection report either by a Chartered Surveyor or a 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.
Accommodation Assessment for UK Entry Clearance | Oxford City Council
We provide an independent assessment of the accommodation to meet the requirements of the UK Border Agency.
The form and details of how to apply for us to carry out an assessment are outlined below. Please contact the Private Sector Safety team, Environmental Health, if you require further information.
- The fee for 2016-2017 is £340.
- The application form must be completed and certificates submitted along with the fee before an inspection will be made.
- We aim to inspect within 5 working days from the date of payment clearance.
- The fee must be paid before the inspection can take place and is not refundable if the property is not satisfactory.
- Any re inspection fee is charged at the full rate.
Spouse Visa Accommodation Evidence | Checklist Spouse Visa UK
An applicant is required to provide the details of the accommodation in the UK, where he/she and UK partner (sponsor) intend to live in, along with the permission for an applicant to stay on the accommodation and evidence of any other occupants living in the premises.
The required documents depend on UK partner’s accommodation circumstances- ownership and status of the property. Accordingly, the evidence may include any combination of the following documents:
- Land Registry Documents;
- Tenancy Agreement or Rent Book;
- Mortgage Statements;
- Statements of Council Tax;
- Utility Bills;
- Property Inspection Report; and
- Accommodation Details along with a letter from the occupant or landlord endorsing that applicant will be able to live on the premises.
The UK partner will be required to furnish the evidence of his/her ownership of the accommodation, where the applicant and sponsor/partner intend to live in the UK.
The applicant may produce a copy of the title deeds and evidence of the mortgage arrangements and confirmation that the obligations are being met. Although, most of the UK Land Registry documents are verifiable online; however, in order to further the credibility of the claim the applicant may submit the original title deeds.
If the UK property is mortgaged then the applicant needs to submit a mortgage letter, which needs to be recent and originally issued by the mortgage provider.
Property Inspection Report
In order to fulfil the requirement of adequate accommodation i.e., the property is not overcrowded and conforms to Public Health Regulation, an original, signed copy of the property inspection report conducted by a chartered surveyor or the local authority needs to the be submitted with the spouse visa application.
Living with a Family Member or Friend
If the applicant and UK Partner are planning to reside with a family member or friend, then a letter from the family member is required. The letter provides the confirmation of the basis on which the applicant and his/her UK partner may reside on the property.
Such an arrangement is tenable, as long as, it does not violate the requirement of adequate accommodation and a part of the accommodation is for the exclusive use of the applicant and his/her UK Partner, such as a bedroom, maybe along with a living room.
In addition to the letter from a family member or friend, the applicant will also need to provide proof of ownership of the property in the name of the person issuing the accommodation letter.
The accommodation could be rented from a local authority or a private landlord.
Property Rented by the Local Authority
If the applicant’s partner/sponsor has rented the property from the local authority then the applicant is required to produce evidence from the authority confirming the basis on which the applicant and UK sponsor will reside at the premises.
In case of private tenancy, the immigration officer usually is a bit more careful may closely take into account the corroborating details with the tenancy agreement such as a letter from the landlord or real estate agency and proof of regular and full monthly rental payments.
Spouse Visa Accommodation Requirements- Individual Experiences
Since adequate accommodation attracts a number of requirements and as indicated above a multitude of ownership and residential arrangements could be possible, which may vary from individual to individual. Accordingly, for further understanding of the prospective applicants, a few experiences of real applicants are illustrated below:
Experience # 1 Spouse Visa Accommodation Proof of Size
Is it mandatory to prove the size of a family home for a Spouse Visa application for entry clearance? I have a three bedroomed semi in my name, which I bought last year and have been finishing off renovation.
There will only be myself, my Wife, and 5 year old Son in occupation.
Currently, I am alone here, and my Wife and Son are living in Shanghai.
There are 3 bedrooms each, ranging in size from 6.56 Sqm to 12.63 Sqm.
There is also:-
Dining Room – 10.58 Sqm
Lounge – 18.14 Sqm
Conservatory – 5.44 Sqm
I understand from the Accommodation rules that the minimum size of a ‘room’ is about 4.65 Sqm.
These are my own measurements and I did not have a survey done on the property.
It appears that I have two options:-
1) Use my local Council to do an Immigration Survey for £140 according to their website
2) Use a registered Surveyor to do a similar report, hopefully for less! via Size
Experience # 2 Supporting Letter from Parents for Spouse Visa
To prove my accommodation, I have been living with my parents all my life. If I add my name to gas and electric bill will this be enough to prove I live here? I can also provide letters from my gp. I will aslo have a surveyor to measure the rooms to prove.
There is no overcrowding. I can probably get a letter from the housing association giving permission for me and my wife to live here. And a cover letter from my parents
Saying they are happy with me and my wife residing. Will this be sufficient or am I missing something? via. Parents
Experience # 3 Mortgage House – Proof of Accommodation for Spouse Visa
I’m applying for a spouse visa for my wife and have a quick question of what evidence will be sufficient for my proof of accommodation –
I am living in my Fathers house, he owns it and pays his mortgage every month. My mother stays with him, and myself. My wife and I intend on moving there and we have his permission to do so.
– I have a annual council tax bill showing our address, my mother and fathers name.
– I have statements for the last 6 months showing our mortgage payments going into the account
– I have a reprint of our Mortgage Offer from Halifax showing clearly the offer, the property address, and my fathers name and the address it was sent to (Our existing address as it was a reprint from 09/04/08) via Mortgage
Experience # 4 UK Spouse Visa Accommodation Letter from Landlord
1st August 2017
I, landlord, can confirm that I am the landlord / Owner of the 3 bedroom Ground Floor Apartment located at address XYZ.
I can confirm there are 3 bedrooms, living room and a separate bathroom and toilet at this property.
I can confirm that tenant has lived in the property since September 2015 and has never missed a month’s rent. I can also confirm that I am happy for him to live in the property with his Fiancee, XYZ, once she has successfully completed the visa application process and has provided me with the relevant official visa documentation from the UK home office confirming she is legally able to live in the UK.
There are currently three persons living at the address and there is more than adequate space for a fourth. Please also be notified that they will not break the Housing Overcrowding Act.
Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact via: Letter