Renting Apartments – What to Expect in the UK (Part 2)

You can congratulate me now or later, or not at all if that floats your boat, but as of the 5th of February I have been in the UK for one year. Yay~~~

All that excitement out of my system, back onto the renting experience in the UK. The viewing was to be expected, as I mentioned at the end of my last post. Today I received the application form and have been busy filling it out. There needs to be a form for each of us and while my husbands has been pretty straight forward (there are some minor questions to ask him later, just to make sure I’ve got it all right before he signs on the bottom line), but mine is proving to be challenging.

And who would be surprised by that? Of course, despite the fact that it’s solely my husband’s income that would be covering all expenses/contractual obligations and even though me staying or leaving would not effect that in the slightest even that he still has a year and a half to go on his coursework before he graduates (translation: even if I have to leave, he still has to stay so there would be no cutting and running, nor would there be an issue of any lost income), it apparently means something to landlords that I am in legal limbo with UKBA of no fault of my own (if our solicitor, two independent accountants and HMRC are to be believed…).

So back and forth, back and forth it goes: I’ve been in contact with the letting agency for the property most of the afternoon, explaining the circumstances as much as possible. I will include it for your reading pleasure and the hopes that at least somebody learns something from my experiences, the story opens up from where I asked about specifics regarding how to fill out my application:

Thank you for getting back to me. I think I understand; should I repeat my husband’s income information on my form, or should I leave the financial portions blank?

Also, I am an immigrant and while I do have my passport number, my passport is currently being held by the UKBA along with my application for Further Leave to Remain. I assume this will not be an issue as my status does not effect my husband’s ability to cover rent, but is there anything specific you would like me to write on the form in relation to this?
Reply one:
Leave the financial portion blank on your form. Do you have any idea when the UKBA will let you know if you have been granted leave? Have you been given any paperwork that explain all of this or some form of I.D card?
Well, okay, pretty standard and fair questions. I sent back:
I have my American ID card as well as my birth certificate. The last letter I received from the Home Office told me that my application was on hold due to the Income Requirements Appeal they are filing against the Courts (of which our solicitor and accountants are very confused because they’ve all verified that we DO meet the requirements for my LRM Visa… which is a very long story that I will spare you), the letter itself does not explain how they have come to this conclusion, though until a decision has been reached my current Visa is still considered “good.”
At the soonest, we will know as soon as a decision is made on the appeal, which is expected to be heard by the Courts sometime in March of this year, but to be very honest no one has any way of knowing for sure.
Okay, so maybe I was a bit emphatic on that one, but I was trying to make it very clear that it was due to us somehow not actually meeting the requirements that this happened and I erred on the side of honesty. Their response:
Sounds all very confusing . When the landlady showed you around , did you explain all this to her?
Welcome to my world… I’m trying not to read into this one too deeply, but I almost expected that to be written with some sense of alarm and/or hesitation. Thankfully my reply below was enough to assuage their concerns and I was given the all clear to go ahead:
To be honest, it didn’t even come up and I didn’t expect there to be any real issue: it’s my husband’s income that’s covering everything and even if the worst were to happen as far as my Visa went, he would still be able to keep the contractual obligations of the lease; the only thing that would happen is I would have to return to the United States. My husband is a student on top of working so he can’t leave until he graduates, regardless, and that is a year and a half from now at the soonest.
All I can think of at this point is: what would have happened if my husband wasn’t a student? What if I did have some sort of income still to contribute? Would I have been told “thanks, but no thanks; we don’t want your kind here”? Because, honestly, I’m off my centre on this one (see: about as far from calm as a person can get without smashing things). How many migrants have been left homeless or may be left homeless because they may not understand or be able to articulate their situation as I had? How many people – we’re talking spouses and families – are at a complete loss because their position is even worse than my own?
What if I didn’t have my birth certificate? What if I didn’t have my Minnesota ID anymore? What if I didn’t happen to think to at least write down my passport number and expiration date?
How much harder would this have been? I don’t even know, and I haven’t even finished filling in the form yet!
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