To be declare to School Admissions Dept that we are renting temporarily in catchment?

(136 Posts)
Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 16:32:40

We are renting in catchment because we genuinely can't find a house to buy. We have the intention and funds to buy within catchment, there just isn't anything coming onto the market and there hasn't been since the beginning of the summer holidays. Literally not a single 3-4 bedroom house within the admittedly very tiny catchment area of the school.

The school admissions brochure states if we own a house elsewhere, then any other address will be considered as temporary. But if we sell our other house (which is 45 mins away and next to some excellent state schools already), then we'll lose out on capital appreciation. In other words if we're out of the property game for 12 months or more we're likely to find we can't get back on at the same level in our new area. House prices went up 15% in our area last year and the same is predicted this year.

So am I being unreasonable in asking the admissions dept to allow our application? Am I likely to get a clear answer from them before putting in my application?

hettienne Mon 11-Nov-13 16:35:22

I think if you still own a house elsewhere then your rental address will be considered temporary. If you really want to secure a place at this school, sell your house and rent until something comes up - otherwise the LA will have no reason to think you won't move back to your old house once you have applied for a place.

curlew Mon 11-Nov-13 16:37:19

They will take the house you own as your address. There is no way you will be able to persuade them that your application is genuine while you still own your house.

CreamyCooler Mon 11-Nov-13 16:40:04

Which house do you live in?

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 16:40:33

I do want to secure a place but am not prepared to be forced into a bad financial decision, ie: selling our house before we have found and we could easily be looking for something to buy for 12-18 months.

I own another property which my mum lives in. It's also around 45 minutes away from this new school. Even if we sold our current house, they may check land registry records and say the house my mum lives in is our permanent address because I own it. Surely this can't just be a hard and fast rule with no exceptions?

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 16:41:21

The rented one is where we live and we have no intention of moving back to the one we own.

OrangePixie Mon 11-Nov-13 16:43:50

I don't suppose it's about what you own but where you live. Are you renting your house out? Evidence of that might help.

SigningGirl Mon 11-Nov-13 16:44:04

can you not rent your property out? will that not "prove" you dont live there?

just jumping in from active convos, not my area of expertise but thought i'd suggest it!!

cestlavielife Mon 11-Nov-13 16:44:39

swtch the mortgage to buy to let and rent it out to tenants get tehm to pay council tax and energy bills... that way you can show you only living in one house ie the rented one

LadyVetinari Mon 11-Nov-13 16:45:46

Can you change the mortgages on your existing houses to BTL, charge your mum nominal "rent" and put some tenants into the hose you're looking to sell? Surely if you're on the electoral roll for the house you're renting in the new area, and both of the houses you own are tenanted, then that should be sufficient?

hettienne Mon 11-Nov-13 16:45:59

It seems unlikely that they would accept an address of a rented property in the catchment area of a oversubscribed school as your genuine, permanent address when you own a house out of catchment that you lived in until school application time. If they made an exception for you, wouldn't loads of people try this trick?

LadyVetinari Mon 11-Nov-13 16:46:18

Oops, cross-posts!

AnnaRack Mon 11-Nov-13 16:48:40

No advice to give but watching this thread as we may be in this situation next year! I would have thought that as long as you can prove that you live at the rented hiuse, eg by providing gas bills etc, that would be enough? I'm hoping that this is the case. Unless the school has a history of people cheating the system?

chillikate Mon 11-Nov-13 16:50:37

We were in this exact situation 3 years ago. 5 years ago we had to relocate due to work, and selling our house at that point would've been stupid - so we let it out.

I can't remember the exact wording on the form, but we would have just been honest. We still own our house an hour away and got into the (heavily subscribed) catchment school for the house we rent.

curlew Mon 11-Nov-13 16:52:32

They might very well wonder why you just don't stay in your house while you look for another one, rather than forking out for a rented house.......

Mylovelyboy Mon 11-Nov-13 16:54:17

OP the house you are you have a council tax bill for this in your name. I privately rent and this document has served me well in various situations regarding proof of residency.

tabbytolst Mon 11-Nov-13 16:55:14

Could you transfer ownership of your house to DH's sole name, and make the school application in yours. That way, you would be truthful that you don't own another property. The transfer could be in the form of a letter to DH stating that you relinquish ownership. If he chooses not to do anything about taking your name of the deeds until after the admissions are closed, that's up to him. Of course, it does assume that you trust him...

Clowdy Mon 11-Nov-13 16:58:10

We were just asked to provide a council tax bill in our name I think. Do they really look so deeply into it?

CreamyCooler Mon 11-Nov-13 17:02:34

I watched a programme where they the local authorities sent investigators round to find out if people who had moved into rented properties right near an oversubscribed school were actually living there. One family of 4 got 'caught out' who were pretending to live in a one bedroom flat.

Floggingmolly Mon 11-Nov-13 17:07:01

The will not accept a temporary address as your permanent residence while you own property out of catchment. Why should they?
I'm sure all those chancers who have been caught and removed from the register also claimed to be looking for a property to buy in the area.
If you want the school so badly; why wait till now to start checking out the market?
There isn't a trick left which they're not wise to, and it's just as well really, with the likes of tabby about. hmm

MrsPnut Mon 11-Nov-13 17:07:14

45 minutes drive away is far enough that they won't automatically think you are renting solely to get into the school and them move back to your home.
If you are paying rent and utilities at the rental address and have changed your details with the bank, DVLA etc to this address then you should be fine. If they wish to disallow your application because they suspect fraud then they will have to prove it. Is your old house on the market?

CreamyCooler Mon 11-Nov-13 17:13:08

Is it for a primary or secondary school? Does you child go to school/nursery/playgroup near your rented house or your owned house?

sparechange Mon 11-Nov-13 17:25:11

What is going on with the house you own? Are you renting it out?
If the house you are renting is a proper family home, and you are living there and intend to carry on living there for a while, what business is it of the school what other assets you have?
They can't put your name into the Land Registry search engine and look up where else you own. At best, they would have to find the address of the house, and then do a search to see who owns it, but given this is quite time consuming and each search costs money, I would be amazed if they did.

Clearly you aren't trying to defruad the system, so I wouldn't beat yourself up about this.

Mylovelyboy Mon 11-Nov-13 17:27:53

I think a council tax bill with your name and address (of rented property) is more than enough. They wont be trying to riffle through your mortgage papers.

Mylovelyboy Mon 11-Nov-13 17:29:30

spare is right. You are telling the truth therefore there should not be a problem. Its when some people tell fibs that it all gets really really complicated. I think you will be ok. Dont leave it all to last minuite in sorting it out. Strike quick.

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 17:34:13

It's for primary, and we have all the documentation we would need as far as council tax and all utilities. We have genuinely moved. The children will remain at their current school until a place comes up at the new one. It's a complete pain commuting but the alternative is to unsettle them with a temporary school move.

Our other house is solely in my DP's name as it happens, but I don't want to do anything fraudulent. I am hoping our genuine circumstances will be accepted.

flowery Mon 11-Nov-13 17:36:08

It can't possibly be just about house ownership, that's completely illogical. There might be any number of reasons why someone owns a house in one place and lives in rented property elsewhere. Of course it can only be about where you genuinely live. As the OP has genuinely moved this shouldn't be too difficult to prove if anyone challenge the application.

There must be some difference between renting within catchment but owning a house 5 min walk away and renting within catchment but owning a house 45 min car drive away. The first is really suspicious - why would you rent so close to the house you own? The second sounds reasonable - you're hardly going to move back to your old house and give your DC a 45 min commute twice a day.

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 17:48:14

The house we own will be rented shortly - we need to paint a couple of rooms and clear the loft then it will be ready.

flowery Mon 11-Nov-13 17:50:03

Having looked again at your OP it seems the schools own criterion is not owning a house elsewhere. Regardless of how completely illogical this is, that will probably be your problem.

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 17:52:18

It really isa genuine move of area. We would drive though 2 other towns to get to the new area from our current home. The new area has lovely parks and other amenities we want to be close to. It also has good secondary schools where as our current area has none. So we are planning to settle for good in the new area and for our DC to grow up there.

However if the admissions policy clearly states they will class any home we own as our permanent address, surely they could just pull that out of their sleeve whenever they want to? My fear is we get offered a place and then it's retracted and our DC settle in the new school, then get pulled out sad

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 17:53:00

Frankly I can't see how else we could move to the new area!

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 17:57:00

Perhaps I do need to ask what the cut off distance is for ownership of another property.

Does anyone know how they check whether you won another property? Do they check council tax records or do they simply ask you to disclose this on a form meaning you risk your school place if you give false information?

flowery Mon 11-Nov-13 17:58:00

That does seem ridiculous.

We relocated when I was at school, 200 miles. My dad started a new job at the beginning of the school year and we hadn't been able to sell our house. So we all moved into rented accommodation in the new area and started new schools.

Completely ridiculous for house ownership to be the sole criterion for determining whether someone genuinely lives in the area.

I realise that doesn't help you OP!

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 18:01:45

It's not the sole criteria - they do request proof of residence etc. We meet all the other criteria so no concerns there. It's just this one phrase about ownership of property that worries me.

CreamyCooler Mon 11-Nov-13 18:02:48

I'd get your owned house rented out asap and fill in the forms honestly.

flowery Mon 11-Nov-13 18:10:30

Oh sorry, it sounded like if you own a house somewhere else they wouldn't consider any other evidence about where you live and it would automatically be game over.

CrispyFB Mon 11-Nov-13 18:16:28

Last year we moved into rented 50 miles away, around 75 minutes drive in good traffic (2 hours on public transport!) and it took six months to sell our house. It was empty for that time and only on the market for the latter three months.

I had an application for reception and an in-year transfer for Y1 go through with no issues whatsoever for a massively oversubscribed school. All they wanted to see was the 12 month tenancy agreement for our rental property.

If that was because it would have been insane to commute then maybe that's why they didn't check further, but I guess what I'm saying is that in fairly similar circumstances we didn't have any issues at all.

Like you we intend to buy in catchment but unlike you we don't have the capital to buy right away! So we'll be renting for a bit longer - but as far as the LA is concerned they wouldn't know the difference between our situation and yours. The only difference is our commute time was longer, but still just about doable (if you were suicidal..!)

I guess local authorities vary but just wanted to give you a success story smile

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 18:26:37

Thank you Crispy but when I spoke to LA they said it wouldn't be accepted due to the house ownership point.

They suggested I write in.

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 18:49:01

Crispy - out of interest did they LA ask you about your other house and did you explain that you owned and would be selling?

Eastwickwitch Mon 11-Nov-13 19:32:38

This seems madness. What if you owned a property in Scotland & moved to Cornwall but as you couldn't find a suitable house, rented until you did? Maybe your Scottish house was rented until you needed the capital to buy?
This is utter madness. You live in the catchment, pay council tax, presumably are on electoral role. I would get in touch with my MP if it were me.

hettienne Mon 11-Nov-13 20:17:16

Owning a property in Scotland is unlikely to be a problem. Owning a property a mile away but then renting one 500m from an oversubscribed school would look dodgy though.

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 20:30:53

Agree with hetienne but that's definitely not what we are doing.

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 20:37:48

I've just worked out the distance from old house to new school and it's only 7 miles. The journey would take 45mins to an hour though because of traffic which is constant most of the time. On Sunday morning it took us 45 minutes.

7 miles does not look good on paper though.

badbride Mon 11-Nov-13 20:37:54

What would happen if you simply put your property on the market? This would indicate that you are serious about selling it. Doesn't mean you HAVE to sell until you find a house you want to buy--just don't accept any offers until you do. And given that it can take months to sell a property, wouldn't the school be being unreasonable if they refused to accept your application without a sale?

CrispyFB Mon 11-Nov-13 20:52:02

Broderieanglaise - to be fair I don't think they ever asked us about our other house. I just filled in the standard form and there was no specific question about it as far as I recall. This was Hertfordshire CC. I think they MAY have wanted us to be on the council tax as our main residence but that was it.

We actually had far more grief from the council at our old place who refused to believe we weren't living in our old house any more and seemed to be sending them endless evidence of various things!

I think badbride's idea is a good one.

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 21:12:23

They would look unreasonable - but given the terms on their admissions policy about owning another property they would be within their rights to refuse our application.

I need to get a proper definition of this statement on their policy. It says if you own another property and are living somewhere else they will assume owned property is main residence. But it also says if you own more than one property they would simply like you to state which is your main property.

LynetteScavo Mon 11-Nov-13 21:24:35

We'll technically you own more than one property, and your main residence is the one you rent...... if it came to that....

Floggingmolly Mon 11-Nov-13 21:28:12

Owning more than one property is not a problem; why would it be?
Owning one property and renting another one to live in is an odd thing to do; so it's immediately assumed you're doing it for the sole purpose of getting your child into a school in a catchment you have no intention of living in past the date of your acceptance.
There is nothing in your situation (7 miles, really?) that would suggest otherwise.

LadyVetinari Mon 11-Nov-13 21:28:43

I seriously think that your best way forward is to get your current house tenanted ASAP. Don't paint it, don't do it up - just lower the rent a little to reflect the condition and speed up the process.

That way, you can put on the form that your rented property is your sole residence, but you are a landlord with two tenanted properties. Attach council tax bill for your current address, and (suitably blanked out) copies of the tenancy agreements for the two houses you own.

curlew Mon 11-Nov-13 21:29:25

So why have you moved?

LadyVetinari Mon 11-Nov-13 21:35:32

Curlew - I understand, even though it does sound absurd if you live in an area with a good infrastructure. My parents live 7 miles away from my old school as the crow flies, but much more than that by road. Our suburb might as well have been 20 miles away from the town my school was in: the atmosphere, amenities, crime statistics etc were totally different, and it usually took a minimum of 1.5 hours to get home after school (even though the journey would take 30 mins on a clear road).

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 21:58:25

Curlew, we've moved because we love the new area. Old area was not a bad one and very desirable but we want to move to the place we see ourselves living in long term. New area would be a better quality of life, not so busy and lots more green space.

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 21:59:16

It's 6 miles away as the crow flies but easily 45 mins by car or other transport.

scaevola Mon 11-Nov-13 22:08:04

New rental in a small and desirable catchment. No other reason to move (like job transfer). Old house within the 'one hour' rule of thumb used by LEAs across E/W as definition of 'reasonable' for admissions purposes.

I think you'll have a really hard time persuading the LEA that your rented address in genuine. Especially if it's been preciously used by families who rent and flit. Sorry.

Budgiegirlbob Mon 11-Nov-13 22:49:23

While I am sure you are genuine that you will not move back to your owned house, I would doubt very much that you could persuade the LEA of this. I think they could reasonably assume that you are renting purely to be in catchment . They could argue that as you are only moving 6 miles, most people would sell your current house, and then either buy or rent in the new area. As you are not waiting to sell your house before you move, and have no particular time constraint to move to the new area, such as starting a job, it could look that you are renting only to be in catchment.

I'm sorry to say that if I was from the LEA, I would be suspicious , especially as the distance you are moving is so short

bochead Mon 11-Nov-13 22:52:41

Is all your paperwork in order for the rental e.g catchment GP, DVLA, electoral role, council tax, child benefit/child tax credit letters? These are the key docs they will check.

It'll be easier if the two properties are in different LA's. School places are so short in some parts of the home counties and London/major cities right now that a 45 min commute & 7 miles won't cut any ice at all. London needs to find an extra 100,000 primary places over the next 5 years so LA's are doing anything they can to try and avoid adding unnecessary numbers to the school roll out of sheer necessity. It's about having a place at all, never mind parental choice.

I'm not sure why you are renting the old house rather than just flogging it. Keeping it on as a rental may make them think you intend to move back in after the tenants have done their initial 6 month let.

Have you moved other things - nursery/CM for other children? Where do you work, are you closer now?

Weegiemum Mon 11-Nov-13 23:03:32

When our dc were starting primary/secondary no one asked anything about other properties (we do own a rented out holiday home where we used to live full time but it's 250 miles and a ferry ride away). Last time we were asked we were renting, but just asked for a utility bill, now we're in our own (second) property and will get forms for dc2 transfer to secondary after Christmas but I assume it'll be the same.

We're in Scotland though where catchment schools are required to take all pupils in the catchment, even if it requires extra staff, which might make a difference? (We don't use catchment school as we use a specialist language provision elsewhere).

happymummythesedays Mon 11-Nov-13 23:08:52

our LA demands council tax bill as proof of address, they cannot insist that you cant rent yours and rent another, I am living in a house I dont own and will be renting my own house out and had no issues with school

happymummythesedays Mon 11-Nov-13 23:10:50

and this is a really bad time to sell and a really good time to buy, which is exactly why I will be renting my old house - Id make money at the moment by leaving it sat empty, as it is it is covering the costs of where I am now and will appreciate in value to the point where I will be mortgage free in 10 years if I sit on it.

ClayDavis Mon 11-Nov-13 23:28:48

happymummy I'm afraid LAs can and some do insist that they won't accept a rental address if you own another property. With increasing pressure on school places and some parents renting properties close to schools in order to get a place this is how many weed out the fraudulent applicants.

The OP's reasons may be innocent but unfortunately she's ticking a number of the boxes that suggest to the LA she's making a fraudulent application.

happymummythesedays Mon 11-Nov-13 23:49:29

How would they even know?? They have no legal right to go poking around in someones financial information - here there is no such clause.

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 23:55:17

We are talking about 2 different LEA's. I am not selling old house as it's flying up in value at the moment.

Broderieanglaise Mon 11-Nov-13 23:56:09

Therefore it would be mad to sell now and have to wait a year plus for somewhere to buy.

happymummythesedays Tue 12-Nov-13 00:05:52

also what about women and or men who are RPs but have left the FMH?

foreverondiet Tue 12-Nov-13 00:10:22

I guess it would depend on the school. At my DC school this happened about 5 years ago - several famililes rented out their houses and rented in the next road to the school. Then the families moved back to old houses once their kids started at the school!

"Could you transfer ownership of your house to DH's sole name, and make the school application in yours."

I think no as you would have to pay stamp duty on the transfer.

But you could lie - how would they know you ever owned a house before? Or say that you sold it.

IAlwaysThought Tue 12-Nov-13 00:22:43

However genuine you are the admissions board has to look at the facts. The problem is is that you are doing exactly what someone's who was trying to pull a fast one would do. It would be hard for them to allow you a place as they would be seen as condoning an easy way to get a place at the school.
How long is your rental contract? (Sorry if you have already said). If it's a year contract it will look better than a shorter contract.

cerealqueen Tue 12-Nov-13 00:28:53

My LA just wanted the regular proof of address and child identity, - they didn't look into whether we owned our house or rented it. If you did move back, then they might have cause for concern. I can't see how it would be an issue, they don't have time to vet every application, surely?

ClayDavis Tue 12-Nov-13 02:59:56

How would they even know?? They have no legal right to go poking around in someones financial information - here there is no such clause.

There are documents they can access. Some of which are publicly available. It wouldn't be financial information.

My LA doesn't have this clause either. Just a general statement about removing school places from parents who've applied fraudulently. Mostly because it doesn't have a big problem with parents fraudulently applying for places. My guess is that for the OP's LA to have this clause it has had a big problem with people renting in the area and then moving back into their original properties in the past. If they've put it in the admissions booklet I wouldn't bet against them being very thorough at checking applications.

perfectstorm Tue 12-Nov-13 04:34:42

No advice, but what a bugger of a situation. Really feel for you.

Idocrazythings Tue 12-Nov-13 06:13:41

Crazy situation. My dd had to go on second round of offers for reception as we had just moved into the country, were living in temporary accomodation, but looking for a rental in a specific area. They wouldn't even let me LODGE the application until we had somewhere. And then would not it be considered as not late, as them not letting me submit the form was not a satisfactory excuse for a late application.

I only managed to get my older child in before we had our names on the council after I got the local MP on board who said they were "all bonkers"

Sorry doesn't help you either unless you chat to the mp should you have issues?

Pearlsaplenty Tue 12-Nov-13 07:32:35

I'm sorry but your actions do sound very suspicious.

It definitely sounds like you have rented to get into the school and will most likely move back into your own house at a later point.

45 minutes to get to school is not a long time at all hmm Plenty of people spend this amount of time travelling to school on foot and bus, so spending this time in a car is no different.

If your school does routinely check on home ownership then you had better sell up now.

Shonajoy Tue 12-Nov-13 08:03:33

All you can do is be honest- we had to supply a completion form here in Scotland for dds school place, she started in the August and we bought in June, last minute we were lucky. Hope you'll be the same. Sad they have to do it but so many people lie.

NynaevesSister Tue 12-Nov-13 08:28:10

I wish people would read through the whole thread before asking the same questions repeatedly.

Just be honest. You are in a family house, you have all your bills etc there, if they check they can clearly see this is your main residence. You have a property close by but it is also next to a really good primary. There is no reason for you to move JUST to get into a good school. You are doing it because you want to move to that area and until you can buy you will rent.

You are not in a house that is smaller than the one you own, and you have evidence to show you are there long term. Include that evidence.

Your only other option is to just put in your application with all the rest of the info required. And if they don't specifically ask for details of property you own, don't give it. Then hope that any checks they do will clearly show you live in the rental and they are happy with that. I think I would rather be honest at the start and know for sure.

fairylightsintheautumn Tue 12-Nov-13 08:55:54

pearlsaplenty I disagree. Its not suspicious at all if you read all the OPs posts about why they want to move. 45 minds each way is crap. I know because we do it. We can't afford to live near the school but fortunately as it is not oversubscribed we got DS in anyway. This sort of situation enrages me. Its "policy" versus actual common sense and talking to people. If the OP could have a face to face meeting with someone at the LEA who has the authority to make an individual decision it would be fine I suspect, unfortunately that will be v difficult so she may just get told repeatedly "no" because the tick boxes don't come out right. Its the sort of thing that encourages people to lie and makes it worse for everyone.

Pearlsaplenty Tue 12-Nov-13 08:58:51

fairy it is suspicious because the school op wants is oversubscribed and has particular policies in place to prevent people from moving into the area temporarily in order to get a

Pearlsaplenty Tue 12-Nov-13 09:00:39 So I would assume the school would spend more time looking into housing arrangements than an less popular school would.

Floggingmolly Tue 12-Nov-13 09:08:12

It also sounds from the op that she has only moved in very recently...
This means she'll be required to provide council tax bills from her last home too, which may trigger further investigation.

TheDoctrineOfWho Tue 12-Nov-13 09:18:08

What age are your DCs? You say they are already in school at your old location -?

RedHelenB Tue 12-Nov-13 09:21:22

Would it be so bad to take a financial hit in order to secure your future at a place you want to live?

tiggytape Tue 12-Nov-13 09:50:12

Whether or not anybody personally finds a 45 minute school run too long is irrelevant. 45 minutes is not considered too far by councils at all.
If needbe, a council can allocate a child a school an hour away if that's all that was left. That is considered reasonable.

Therefore OP has no defence against the explicit rule which categorically states that if she owns a home and also rent another one in the school catchment area, the rented home won't be viewed as herr real address. This is for the very obvious reason that it stops people cheating. Anybody could say they intend to move and then not go ahead with it.

Sometimes families have a reason for renting AND owning at the same time but are able to prove there is no way they are cheating and ask the council to ignore the rule that prevents the rented address being used.
Examples would be:

1. If the rented home was a 6 hour drive away from the family home, there is no way the family could commute to school having secured a place therefore there is no chance they will move back to the home they own.

2. The family house has been subdivided in student flats that are all let. Therefore there is no way the family will give up their rented property after securing a school place and move back to the house they own.

3. The house they own has been condemned having been wrecked by fire or flood and will take a year to rebuild and repair. They have no option of living in the house they own. The rented house is the only home they have that is habitable at the time of application.

4. The house they own is in the process of being sold and won't be owned by them for much longer.

sparechange Tue 12-Nov-13 10:20:08

If you are planning to rent it out in the future, can I suggest you cover your back by getting signed up with a letting agent this week, even if they won't be able to start marketing the place for a few more weeks.

You can then get them to write you a letter confirming that they have been appointed as the agents to let the house on a standard 12 month assured short tenancy, for a rent of £XX a month, and they will start marketing the property on YY date, following completion of the works you are having done to the house.

If there is then any issue, you can show this letter of proof that you won't be living there.

Also, am I right in understanding that you own your mum's house and this other house?
So that means you have previous form for not living in houses you own, and can prove this?
AND it means you can state which address is your permanent address, and give your rental property?

I repeat what I said yesterday... This all seems genuine and I can't see why you are beating yourself up over this. Selling an appreciating property (which is therefore an investment) is frankly nuts, and suggestions that you should in order to prove you are 'worthy' of a state school place are bonkers

Floggingmolly Tue 12-Nov-13 10:29:33

I'm not sure that demonstrating that you've rented your own house out on a 12 month lease; while having a 12 month lease on your current rental property looks any better in op's circumstances, sparechange
It's the classic way to live in the catchment area without committing to living there long term; and it's been done many, many times before.

sparechange Tue 12-Nov-13 10:42:09

It is also the classic way to relocate to a new area when you can't find the house you want to buy straight away.

OP doesn't say where she lives, but given that a 6 mile journey takes 45 mins+, I think we can safely assume it is a big city.

If that big city is London, it is currently neigh on impossible to move if you are in any sort of chain. I moved earlier this year, and was told by the agent to move into rented after selling my house, as buyers currently won't even look at offers from anyone in a chain. I received 5 offers for my place above the asking price, in part because we were in the catchment for a great primary school and in part because it was the first house in a while to come on the market. Every single one of those was a family who had sold their place, then moved into rented while they looked.

Given the price differential between houses in catchments vs outside is often easily six figures, it is obviously going to happen (and probably more often) but the massive scrutinastion of anyone who lives in rented sits really uneasily with me. If OP had bought a small flat while they househunted, she wouldn't be getting this level of suspicion, but it could be just as temporary a move as a year in rented.

fairylightsintheautumn Tue 12-Nov-13 10:42:25

It LOOKS suspicious but attempted fraud isn't ACTUALLY what is happening. I think it is perfectly reasonable not to kiss goodbye to tens of thousands of pounds of equity which might be later spent for uni education rather than sacrifice it now. The OP IS NOT moving for the school she is moving for the area and again it comes down to someone at the LEA being prepared to interview and make an assessment.

WhereIsMyHat Tue 12-Nov-13 10:47:51

We are in London and most of our friends rent houses while still owning a flat while they look for suitable properties and apply for schools. It's the done thing here given the market, it's completely crazy. No one we know has had any issue regarding the renting/ owning thing although unlike your situation OP the property they own and the property they rent are in the LEA but perhaps not within the same school catchment area given how tiny these are currently.

Just out of interest, I know you are holding onto your property because it is likely to increase in value but is this not the case for the new area too? If so, surely prices in the new area will increase too meaning any crease over this year will be eaten up in the increase in your new area too?

scaevola Tue 12-Nov-13 10:55:20

The LEA will be looking at things that can be demonstrated - such as disposing of the old property. They will not be evaluating stated intentions - for, unfortunately for OP, what she is saying is indistinguishable from how a cheat would portay it.

tiggytape Tue 12-Nov-13 11:00:34

The council is allowed to make a judegment call on this.
This particular council expressly says that anyone renting won't be allowed to use that address if they still own a house elsewhere. The reason for this will be that the catchments are tiny and lots of people i nthe past have cheated (by renting a house, hanging on to their original home and then moving back again after getting a school place).

If the OP's council refuses to use the rented address, they are complying with the letter of their rules on this subject and she cannot compel them to act differently. She has no evidence to offer them that she isn't cheating (which is unfortunate). Some people do have this evidence eg house is being sold. There is no reason for the council to ignore the rules in her case.

If she disagrees with the council's position, all she can do is go to an appeal panel after schools are allocated and plead her case. She is not likely to win though because her current situation is the exact one described by the rules as not being allowed (i.e. trying to use a rented address to apply for a popular school whilst the original and recently lived in hosue is still owned by the family). The rules don't say no cheating. The rules say no rented addresses to be used by families owning a property elsewhere.

An appeal panel may find in her favour especially since, by that time, the house sale might have gone ahead. However there is nothign about the case as it stands that gives the council any reason to ignore their rule on rented properties.

sparechange Tue 12-Nov-13 11:23:33

But the OP owns 2 houses and lives in neither.
Which of the 3 LEAs do you believe should be fulfilling the legal obligation of providing a state school place to OP's children?

Floggingmolly Tue 12-Nov-13 11:30:49

She's not showing many signs of putting down roots in the catchment area either, sparechange. What other means of assessment can they use?

ClayDavis Tue 12-Nov-13 11:40:58

fairy there's absolutely nothing wrong with holding onto a property in order for it to appreciate in value. Unfortunately for the OP she's trying to do it in an LA that takes a hard line on fraud at the time that she's applying for a reception place. What the OP is doing looks exactly like fraud. We only have the word of the OP that it isn't and that, quite rightly, won't be good enough for the LA.

I'm not sure how much of a help or hinderence the fact that her other children are in a school near the old house is. How much of an effort have you made to get them into a closer school? Are they on the waiting list for all nearby schools and have you appealed for them?

tiggytape Tue 12-Nov-13 11:42:00

sparechange. The council is allowed to make a judgement call They will see the council tax and other records that show:

OP's Mum's house is not her home. She has never lived in it or not recently at least. It is not in anyway her family's home. If she tried to use this address in fact, it wouldn't be allowed.

Family home still owned - This is her house. She has not sold or disposed of it. It was the family home and their residence right up until school applications loomed when they left it but didn't sell it. It is in easy travelling distance of the school they want but not in the catchment area of that school (classic cheating scenario in fact as far as the council is concerned)

Rented house - no. Not her home. It is in a popular catchment area. She has only just moved to it coincidentally at the same time as school admissions started. She has made no effort to prove this is a genuine and permanent move i.e. selling the family home. She has no reason to have moved there all of a sudden (redundancy or flood or fire).
AND There is a specific rule that says rented homes cannot be used when the family home is still owned. OP has no mitigating circumstances at all for the council to ignore this rule.

There is no way the council are going to base their decision on the promise that OP intends to live in this area even though she's hanging on to her old house especially when the school is in commuting distance. If they based it on the promise to move eventually everyone would promise to move eventually!

Some may say it doesn't matter what the council believe, it is what they can prove. But that isn't how admissions work. The council is allowed to judge this as fraudulent because it ticks all those boxes and it is up to the parents to prove otherwise either now (by sellling the house) or at appeal.

Shootingatpigeons Tue 12-Nov-13 15:42:10

YABU. You are suffering illusions of entitlement. As well as the factual regulatory context outlined as always meticulously by tiggy it won't take much digging to find out that the issue of people renting temporary accommodation to get into the catchment of sought after schools (it is getting to the point of any school in London) is a big issue. Just visit the education threads. Councils are tightening the regulations up to make the process fair, it may not seem fair to you but in the context of so much manipulation of the system they have to draw some lines in the sand irrespective of people's word. We even have a local Councillor taking her own administration to court because she considers herself entitled to get a place at a sought after school as a result of a temporary address, instead of a place at the less sought after school her home address (which she still owns and pays Council tax on) is in catchment for, and therefore to be exempt from the rules. hmm In London you had children being taxied considerably further than six miles and 45 minutes to sought after schools that parents had gained places at through renting temporary addresses whilst parents who lived a five minute walk away were left with no school place at all or one they couldn't access. In Camden now there are children who were unable to follow their friends into primary school because Camden were not stringent in applying checks and after the ensuing scandal, it isn't fair for children to be deprived of places once there, but what message does that give to children and what sort of community will divided and resentful parents make for them? Of course with the parents in your new community, especially if they have longstanding friends in the community who would be left out of catchment if you were successful, you start at a disadvantage. I don't doubt your plans but you can't live your life in a bubble of entitlement. Many parents are left compromising on school places, join the queue. Once your children are in a genuine long term address near the school you can join the waiting list.....

NynaevesSister Tue 12-Nov-13 19:34:17

Tiggy and Shooting, the OP has said that their house is next to an excellent primary, one her older children already attend. They are moving to the catchment for this school because this is the area they want to live in long term.

I presume her children will be on the waiting list for this school already. The school will know what school they are at and will know it is outstanding.

Why the assumption of fraud by rental?

ClayDavis Tue 12-Nov-13 19:54:15

Because so many people have done exactly what the OP is doing with the sole purpose of defrauding the system. There is nothing here that would mark the OP out as a genuine applicant other than her word. I'm not sure being on the waiting list will be enough. It's not unheard of for parents to make a fraudulent application for a younger sibling to bump elder siblings up the waiting list. The LA will likely be aware of that.

The LA aren't at fault here. The blame is mainly on the parents who have previously tried to play the system and have forced them to take this stance.

Shootingatpigeons Tue 12-Nov-13 20:01:51

Clay Thank you, exactly my point. It may not be fair but it is no less fair than for all the people denied school places because people have rented temporarily to get places and the Councils have had to set guidelines to stop that happening.

Brices Tue 12-Nov-13 20:11:33

Would the suggestion that rental house in OP's name and house in husband's name not work?
I'll never be in a position to own my own house, interesting thread to read though

tiggytape Tue 12-Nov-13 22:35:51

Why the assumption of fraud by rental?

Because the main reason for renting a house in a desirable catchment area but also hanging on to the family home nearby is to gain an advantage with school places. And this isn't allowed.

In the past, people have rented a house anything from 5 to 60 minutes away just so they can be certain of getting a place at the school they really want but live outside the catchment for.
Once they get allocated that place, they give up the rented flat and move the family back the original house that they kept hold of all along. Then they commute 5 - 60 minutes to school each day which they are more than happy to do.
In effect, they have bought themselves a good school for the price of 6 months rent. You can see how that is not acceptable and would make the issue of school place shortages even harder than it is already are.

The assumption therefore is that renting house without selling a nearby home = cheating because most of the time that is exactly what it is. However if a good reason exists, the council can choose to ignore the rule about rented address. A good reason would be that the original house is so damaged by fire that it is uninhabitable or it is in the process of being sold but there've been delays etc. A promise to eventually move properly will not wash as there's no way the council could hold a family to that promise and every cheater would just say that they promise to do the same.

tiggytape Tue 12-Nov-13 22:40:21

Would the suggestion that rental house in OP's name and house in husband's name not work?

No. Firstly it is the child's address not the mother's address that counts. And secondly, with oversubscribed schools, the council can do numerous checks: council tax history, asking the primary school which addresses they have on file for the children going back several years, seeing which Dr has registered for the children, seeing where Child Benefit has been paid for them.....

They will find out that the house the children lived in until recently is still owned by one parent.

Now if the parents are divorced, that would be grounds to say their real home is now the rented house not the father's house. But it is quite extreme to remove the mother's names from the deeds of the family home, rent a house solely in her name and separate or divorce (with proof) all within 2 months just to get a school place!

Brices Tue 12-Nov-13 23:03:55

Thank you for explaining Tiggy thought it couldn't be that simple. I know my parents moved house to be near a good school, very long time ago now, I guess the pressures are so much greater these days.
I keep thinking must be a way round this for the OP.
Perhaps it's a question of who you know?
My BIL is a teacher and I was surprised that my nephew won't get a place at his sought after school automatically because he works there.
Is really the only way round this to sell the house? Bet that won't guarantee a place at this school though will it?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 12-Nov-13 23:12:52

Yes, YABU for all the reasons that tiggytape outlines.

aquashiv Tue 12-Nov-13 23:16:57

Tell them the truth and see what they say am sure you aren't the first to be in this position.

tiggytape Tue 12-Nov-13 23:19:03

Brices - school place pressures are a big issue at the moment. There are no guarantees for anyone really.

Under the new Admissions Code, schools can choose to give priority to staff members who have at least 2 years' service and a permanent contract. In reality few schools choose to do this because there are so many local children who might not get a place that it would cause great upset for children of staff to be top priority. Most use siblings and distance.

Even then, sometimes there are so many siblings (if there have been bulge classes in the older year groups for example) that virtually no non-siblings can get a place even if they live within metres of the school gates. Instead they get sent to a school much further away. They may not even get their second closest school. They can be forced to go to one a bus journey and several miles away in some cases.

You can see why therefore, councils simply cannot allow people to cheat by renting near a school and then moving back to their old house once they've secured a place.
The situation is hard enough as it is, and so many people are disappointed each year that you can't have the added unfairness of some parents buying their way into a good school for the price of 6 months' rent.

The council therefore have strict rules about not using a rented address for school purposes when the family still own their family home nearby.

ClayDavis Tue 12-Nov-13 23:32:40

I would think that removing names from deeds to cover up the situation is not going to help at all. It might not cross the fine line between being in an innocent situation that looks like fraud and actually committing fraud but it's going to be very difficult to convince the LA or an appeals panel that you are in an innocent situation if you've lied to them.

Jinsei Wed 13-Nov-13 07:44:39

I still don't really understand why the OP has moved already. Given the short distances involved, I think most people would stay in their own house until they saw something they wanted to buy in the new area. Why waste money on a rental property while your own house sits empty? And why make your children do an apparently long commute if they don't actually need to? Clearly, the commute to school between the two areas is not too bad, as the OP is making her kids do just that at the moment.

OP, if not for the school places, why have you already moved? I don't really get it.

TheDoctrineOfWho Wed 13-Nov-13 08:05:55

OP, are your children both in the same year?

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 13-Nov-13 08:18:25

I still don't really understand why the OP has moved already. Given the short distances involved, I think most people would stay in their own house until they saw something they wanted to buy in the new area. Why waste money on a rental property while your own house sits empty? And why make your children do an apparently long commute if they don't actually need to? Clearly, the commute to school between the two areas is not too bad, as the OP is making her kids do just that at the moment. OP, if not for the school places, why have you already moved? I don't really get it.

Everything ^ she said!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 13-Nov-13 08:18:25

It seems to me that what this boils down to is, is the OP determined to hang onto her house, in the hope of getting a better eventual price for it, even though this is likely to cost her a place in her desired school? The advice from the LEA seems pretty unambiguous.

Budgiegirlbob Wed 13-Nov-13 08:34:16

I agree with Jinsei, whatever the OP's reasons for moving, certainly to an outsider ( or to the LEA) it looks like she has moved to be in catchment for a particular school. Otherwise, why not just wait until you do find a house you want. Especially considering the small distance involved.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 13-Nov-13 08:37:41

Or, more to the point, to the LEA it may look as if she has pretended to move into catchment!

tiggytape Wed 13-Nov-13 08:39:24

The council will think the only possible motive here is cheating for a school place.

I think the OP is genuine when she says they do plan to move to the new area properly. However their timing doesn't match with the school application deadline and that's a problem.

Reading between the lines, OP would prefer more time to sell her house to get a better price and more time for a nice house to come up for sale in the new area.

Unfortunately time is the one thing families don't have when it comes to school places. If she applies for the desirable school in the new area from her real house, she won't stand a hope of getting a place, which she must know.
But if she waits until her house commands a good price and they find a decent home in the new area, she will have missed the boat and probably be allocated a less desirable school once they actually move. The desirable school by that time will be full.

School admissions system doesn't allow you to hedge your bets.
If you want to move to a new area, you either have to do it well in advance of school applications. Or, if you want to wait for house prices to change, you have to accept that when you move you will probably get allocated a school you wouldn't have chosen since all the good ones will be full. You can't have your cake and eat it.

TheDoctrineOfWho Wed 13-Nov-13 08:41:26

I don't think the OP is denying that's why she moved - lots of people do move for that reason and that's fine, the issue is whether the move is permanent. Right now, the appearance is that it's not.

Joysmum Wed 13-Nov-13 08:51:19

Lots have people have mentioned about having bills registered to your rental address, actually when we did some digging the most common thing checked by the council was which address you are registered with at the doctors.

intitgrand Wed 13-Nov-13 08:56:56

We were in the catchment of a good comp, but waited til I knew DS has passed the 11+ to move nearer to the grammar school to be sure of a place.WE rented a house for 6 months but moved in their lock stock and barrel, leaving the old house empty but up for rental
The council checked the electoral roll, fuel bills and NHS card.
The rule is that councils have to have admission rules which are transparent and objective, and instances where they are having to weigh up probabilities and try to assess peoples motivations and intentions is not objective and would be unlikely to stand up at a tribunal or judicial review

tiggytape Wed 13-Nov-13 09:08:09

This council has a unambiguous rule that says a rented address cannot be used if the family still own the home they lived in before they moved. That's pretty clear to everyone.

As said before, they will waive that rule where there is clear need for them to do so (the family house is wrecked by flood or 6 hours drive away) but otherwise they won't. Why should they?
If the OP wants to take that to appeal she can but they will side with the council unless she has sold her home. If she wants to go to Judicial Review she can but it would cost her more than any capital appreciation lost by the early sale of the house.

The flip side of this is being fair to everyone. In most areas councils have really cracked down on renting whilst owning elsewhere because it was abused to the detriment of local people excluded from their local schools. If someone wants to move (properly) for a good school then that's their choice. They become a local person wanting a local school. If however they rent locally just to get in then this isn't fair on the dozens of children displaced and losing out on the school nearest their only home. OP may be falling foul of this clamp down but she knows the rules and has made a choice not to comply with them.

shewhowines Wed 13-Nov-13 09:14:19

Our local council tried to enforce this rule a few years ago and found they couldn't legally do it, so unless legally, things have changed...

intitgrand Wed 13-Nov-13 09:19:59

'they will waive that rule where there is clear need for them to do so'

..and who decides what a 'clear need' is
parents divorced, parents separated, trial separation, mother fleeing from DV?
Parents transfered to another office, parents seconded to another office, shorter commute?
Parents renting out the previous house on a 6 month let, as a holiday let, having work done on the house in preparation for sale/let?
Too many grey areas for this rule to be objectively applied.

tiggytape Wed 13-Nov-13 09:26:26

It is enforced all the time - it is a common rule nowadays.

It is normally enforced at application stage i.e. the parents apply from the rented address and the council (having found out they still own a family home elsewhere) simply cross out the rented address and use the 'real' address for the allocations process. If the families want to challenge that they must appeal. Much more rarely, a place will be removed after April if the 'additional renting' is discovered at a later date. The council even have the right to remove places after the child has started the school.

Most councils now have an anti 'renting for places' clause and explain this very clearly in the admissions booklet.
It has become a big problem in recent years. Camden for example was late to adopt this clause and it caused huge problems. Until this year, they weren't explicit enough in saying it wasn't an acceptable practice and there was outrage when short term renters got school places. So after lots of upset, new wording was introduced inline with most other councils who, like the OP's, ban this:

Embarrassed by the the perception of what one parent calls “gross unfairness” in its admissions process and local bad feeling, Camden has rewritten its rule book. A draft of next year’s admissions code seen by the Standard includes the line: “We will not accept a temporary address if you still possess a property that was previously used as a home address, nor will we accept a temporary address used solely or mainly to obtain a school place.”

happymummythesedays Wed 13-Nov-13 10:35:32

I dont get how they can enforce this, what of a man whose Ex Wife is living in the FMH and is still on the mortgage but has resident children from that marriage (dh had one of his living with us for years while on exes mortgage - divorce took over 3 years to come through because of complications with finances).

What about a woman who cannot get her exh husband to take her from mortgage.

shewhowines Wed 13-Nov-13 10:43:42


Our council was trying to enforce it. It was already part of their written criteria (clearly stated as in your example) and to cut a long story short, at various council meetings in which it was in their interest to enforce it, legal advice said it was unlawful. This was 3 or 4 years ago.

happymummythesedays Wed 13-Nov-13 10:58:27

tiggy that doesn't say rented - who are they to say a rented property is a temp address?

If you are in negative equity, financial difficulties, have lost your job or a million other reasons you may rent out yours and move to rented.

It's unenforceable and the whole point of the schools admissions criteria is there are no loopholes.

tiggytape Wed 13-Nov-13 11:09:14

It is both enforceable and often enforced. Most people follow these rules because they understand school places are in short supply and the council has a duty to allocate them fairly.

And in return the council is reasonable so - if a family has circumstances (divorce etc) that accounts for a certain 'suspicious' address - then the council will listen to that. It is only people renting an extra house for no obvious reason that fall foul of the rules.

If a parent feels their case is special and they shouldn't be subject to those rules for some reason then they can appeal (or go to court). There is a similar case in the papers at the moment where a parent plans to do just that.

It is a lot of hassle though. The cost of a judicial review is not to be taken lightly. And, even if this parent wins, her child has already missed so much school, she has lost her position and the hearing hasn't even been scheduled yet. In the meantime, many other parents who had their places taken from them accepted it and did not go to court. Appeal panels sometimes hear such cases and don’t have much sympathy with people who basically say they wanted to circumvent the rules to get a place that suited them.

It is much better to know the admissions rules in advance and comply with them than to rely on suing the council at a later date. This is why people have told the OP that her council have made their position pretty clear - and it is very clear she breaches their rules.

She is welcome to legal challenges and all the rest about the legality of those rules but that would be at a later date. Some posters may advise her she will have a good chance of winning (I disagree - these rules are common and often enforced especially over the last 2 years) but what's the good of that? It isn't going to get her a school place for next September which is probably more her concern right now.

tiggytape Wed 13-Nov-13 11:28:21

happy - the council booklets will be very deatils on the subject. It is designed to close loopholes - the ones that used to enable people to cheat. The council booklet won't just say renting is disallowed because that's nonsense.
The booklets normally cover lots of common possibilities. Renting on its own (with no other house) is fine. Divorced parents and split custody is fine and there's an explanation to work out which address is the one that should be used even in a 50:50 split. Owning other properties can be fine eg if it is student accomodation or 600 miles away.

An example here is just one council's explantion (and this is an extract not the whole thing) to make it clear to people where they stand. As I said, they definitely do enforce it whether you think they should or not. If parents don't agree with any decision, they are free to appeal or go to court but they cannot get around the rules to get a school initially. Tis is an extract from Hackney:

We can’t accept a temporary address if you still possess a property that was previously used as a home address; nor will we accept a temporary address if it is used solely or mainly to obtain a school place.

We will also ask the new school to check the child’s home address at the time of admission. If it is different from the address on the application form, we will check whether the previous address was a temporary address, used for the purposes described above.

We carry out random checks on a number of applications. We also investigate a sample of applications where there has been a change of address in the last 12 months, or where a parent moves after 17 April 2013, up to the end of the child’s first term in the reception class.

We will investigate all applications:
• where there are any doubts about the information provided;
• where information has been received from a member of the public to suggest a fraudulent application has been made;
• where the council tax account number is in a different name from the applicant’s.
Any applicant who provides false information will have their offer of a school place withdrawn.

sparechange Wed 13-Nov-13 12:18:26

So Tiggy, explain how Hackney allocates places to children where a couple split up and the resident parents moves into rented accomodation on the other side of the borough with the children, while the NRP stays in the former marital home and either can't or won't sell it?

Are you actually suggesting it would be totally reasonable for a parent to have to make a 1.5 hour round trip to do the school run, just so the council can make sure a few parents don't try and cheat the system.

It is absurd that you can think this is a justifiable position because it might weed out a few people trying to abuse the system

Budgiegirlbob Wed 13-Nov-13 12:43:44

Sparechange, I don't think anyone is suggesting that your example is not justifiable. In fact, Tiggy did say

The booklets normally cover lots of common possibilities. Renting on its own (with no other house) is fine. Divorced parents and split custody is fine and there's an explanation to work out which address is the one that should be used even in a 50:50 split

But the fact remains that many, many parents do rent purely to obtain a place at a particular school, and IMO it is entirley appropriate that there are measures in place to stop this from happening. Unfortunately this does mean that a few genuine people such as the OP will fall fowl of this rule.

It might seem unfair for the OP, but how would you feel if your child narrowly missed out on a school place because cheaters were allowed to play the system? Would that be fair?

Shootingatpigeons Wed 13-Nov-13 12:50:27

sparechange it wasn't a few people abusing the system, when I was applying to a popular school 15 years ago, that my road had always been in catchment for, but found myself first on the waiting list having missed the last place by 1.5 metres, the catchment having shrunk to 400m, the Education Department provided me with the names and addresses of siblings who had got in on sibling priority after parents had maintained a local address for 6 months to get a first child a place. In a two form entry school there were 10 of them, and they were travelling up to 10 miles, a journey which would frequently take more than an hour, they were delivered by a people carrier taxi arranged by wealthy parents. Of course because they didn't at that time carry out checks they could not tell us how many parents were doing the same for their first children that year, but it was known that you could command high rentals for properties near the school. They wanted us to contact MPs Councillors etc so that they could implement more stringent regulations. The incident in Camden also involved a significant proportion of the year.

In our borough the pressure on places is now such that parents regularly don't get places at their 6 local schools and the Council can only offer them places at the two undersubscribed schools situated away from the main bus routes at the other end of the borough (and even then often not until other parents have turned down their initial offers there). In those circumstances the pressure on parents to play the system are huge.

Ironically the Councillor Tiggy mentioned has indeed rented temporarily near the school I applied for, and actually lives near the second unpopular school I mentioned. To say parents are hmm is an understatement.

tiggytape Wed 13-Nov-13 12:56:15

In your scenario, the children have 2 homes but each parent has just 1 home.
It isn't the same as the OP's case where the parents jointly claim to have 2 homes simultaneously.

In the case of a split, the council would ask the parents to declare which house the children sleep at for most weekday nights. That is the address they would use. If the split is genuinely 50:50 (alternating weeks for example) the council would use the address that Child benefit is registered at as the tie breaker.

This is also all covered in Hackney's brochure (and all other council brochures). I only quoted a tiny exert earlier - the council brochures ocver pages of this stuff.

The council aren't trying to be unfair. They are trying to make sure that school places go to the children who genuinely live locally and whose parents aren't manoeuvring to gain an advantage. This isn’t a court of law where the council needs definite proof to act. They can make a judgement call based on the parents situation, extra enquiries and following its own rules. This is a good thing. There are a thousand scenarios you could come up with whereby someone is renting for a perfectly innocent reason and these people will be treated fairly. Only when there is no obvious reason to suddenly rent in catchment and keep the family home nearby will the council clamp down on the application. OP finds herself in this bracket.

And the fact is that whilst it was just a few people cheating once upon a time, school place shortages and the panic this causes has made cheating a much bigger problem in the last 2 years or so. Councils are being fair to those with genuine reasons but must act in the cases of suspicious applicants because it just isn't fair to do otherwise. There are 4 year olds being sent to school 3 miles away or more by bus because all their local schools are full. If those schools are genuinely full then that is annoying but bad luck. If however, it is caused by people edging them out by renting closer than them, that is just not on and is the reason councils want to be sure.

fufulina Wed 13-Nov-13 13:11:46

But it is fraudulent. If you're not willing to take the financial hit to sell now, why are you willing to take the financial hit to rent? You can house hunt from 45 minutes away; you don't have to be living in an area to house hunt there. Rightmove is a wonderful thing. You've moved precisely because you want a place at the school.

CreamyCooler Wed 13-Nov-13 13:23:45

I have read the whole thread but couldn't see if the OP mentioned what school years her DC are in, I'm just curious to know.

TheDoctrineOfWho Wed 13-Nov-13 16:54:22

Me too, Creamy...

intitgrand Thu 14-Nov-13 09:03:14

We can’t accept a temporary address if you still possess a property that was previously used as a home address

But read what that actually says! All it says we will not accept an application from a temporary address
It does not say a rental address where parents retain a previopus house will be treated as a temporary address!

TheDoctrineOfWho Thu 14-Nov-13 09:12:24

Intit, I would read that as "we can't accept a rental address if you still possess..." Ie a rental or temporary address is find if you don't own another home.

What do you think is meant by temporary in that sentence, then?

intitgrand Thu 14-Nov-13 09:18:12

Yes and I bet a lot of other people read it like that too.But that isn't what it actually says.
I suspect the word 'temporary' is included because they cannot lawfully say that they will not an accept an apllication from an adress where the parents own another house.

TheDoctrineOfWho Thu 14-Nov-13 09:23:14

I think it's more if a parent owns two houses, that would be OK.

Anyway, it isn't that useful to OP as the council will almost certainly use her old address then she'll be taking them to court on the meaning of temporary - meantime, she doesn't have a school place.

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