Rent a place

(28 Posts)
wrinkly Mon 25-May-15 12:25:23

Does anyone know of anyone who has rented a house in preferred catchment then moved back again? Any penalties?

titchy Mon 25-May-15 12:57:44

Why? There are plenty that get away with it and plenty that don't. Anecdotal evidence from a few internet randoms isn't going to be informative.

meditrina Mon 25-May-15 13:22:02

The main penalty is that you are stripped of the school place (which can happen even after DC has started). Being dobbed in by other parents is one of the more frequent ways this is surfaced.

If you have not disposed completely of your previous property, then that is the one that the LA will take as your residence for admissions purposes, irrespective of whether you live in the rental property for a while. If the first address is within commutable distance, then expect the rental to be disallowed. (If you've moved from Sunderland to Surrey, then no problem).

PettsWoodParadise Mon 25-May-15 16:23:13

many local authorities have certain properties on their radar as they are known to be used for such purposes. If you are renting and it is a fairly recent move they will usually expect evidence you have 'cut ties' with your previous property. I know a landlord nearby to me who has a flat they rent out to tenants in a prime location and actually wouldn't dream of letting it to someone who was just trying to buy a place in the nearby highly oversubscribed to primary as firstly they morally object and secondly the tenants are likely to move on which is a phaff. I agree with their stance. As more local authorities and schools especially in London find themselves on the receiving end of this sort of deception they are looking at ways to make it less attractive to do including removing the sibling rights.

tiggytape Tue 26-May-15 10:06:00

As meditrina says, this isn't allowed so if you get caught when they do the council tax history checks, the penalty is they won't allow you to use the rented address and will use your real address instead (so you probably won't get the school you want).

If you get caught after March allocations are made, they can withdraw the offer.

If you get caught after Sept when your child has started they can remove the place and force your child to leave the school.

Those that get away with it either did so 3+ years ago when some councils were less on top of the issue or are cheating for less popular schools or in less busy areas (the heavily oversubscribed towns and highly popular schools attract the most checks)

var123 Tue 26-May-15 14:05:46

I know two families doing this.

I used to live in a village which was geographically closest to an outstanding, highly-sought after, secondary school in a neighbouring village. The only problem was that the catchment area is about 500m from the school gates, so no child from my village could get a place, and there were even children in the same village as the school who would miss out.

There were two other potential (mediocre) secondary schools the Dc might be able to get into (if they were lucky), but one was about 4 miles to the East and the other 4 miles to the south (with no bus service). So even those schools were not certain.

So, when their eldest DC was in year 5 , my next door neighbours rented out their owned home and rented a house next to the outstanding secondary school. Then they got the place and gave their tenants notice in the summer before year 7 started. (The tenants were very annoyed!).

I moved away, but I bumped into another ex-neighbour a couple of months ago. Her eldest is in year 5 now, and she was telling me that her family have now done exactly the same thing so that they can make their applications for the outstanding secondary next October.

MrsUltracrepidarian Wed 27-May-15 19:02:35

As with all things, what used to be easy to do became popular, and is now difficult. I know a family who did this about 10 years ago. No-one dobbed them in, but no-one spoke to the mother.

var123 Wed 27-May-15 20:44:59

This thread has got me wondering about my ex-neighbours and the application they'll be making in a couple of months time. Will they get away with it?

Four years ago, the other neighbours certainly got away with it, but posters here are saying that times have changed.

What happens to children who have their places taken away due to fraud when all the other local secondary schools are full to bursting?

TheoriginalLEM Wed 27-May-15 20:46:43

dunno, its pretty cuntish though isn't it ?

Opaque Wed 27-May-15 20:54:04

"What happens to children who have their places taken away due to fraud when all the other local secondary schools are full to bursting?"

An even better question might be: What happens to children who have their rightful places taken away by the fraudsters?

var123 Wed 27-May-15 20:59:58

Both questions are valid. Its not the children's fault that their parents try to play the system.

In our neighbours case, you don't know that its a secondary school blackhole until you move there and hear people talking about it. I think their children were toddlers at the time they moved in, so its a bit much to criticise them for not thinking 10 years ahead. I know they had their house up for sale for quite a while, but couldn't get a buyer. So, they resorted to this renting thing.

To me, it doesn't feel right, but I am not sure what they should have done.

prh47bridge Thu 28-May-15 00:42:10

What happens to children who have their places taken away due to fraud when all the other local secondary schools are full to bursting?

The LA has to come up with a place somewhere. That will normally be at the nearest school with places available. If there are no places within a reasonable distance the LA will allocate a place at whichever school is best able to handle an additional child. Unfortunately this will often mean that the child ends up in a less popular school than they would have got if the parents hadn't attempted to cheat the system.

I am not sure what they should have done

Whilst I sympathise with their situation the simple answer is that they should apply using the address of the house they own. If they try to cheat by renting they need to hope that they are found out before places are allocated. That way their child is likely to get the school they would have got if they had been honest. If their cheating is not discovered until after places have been allocated their child may end up in a less popular school even further from home.

littlelz Thu 28-May-15 16:26:39

So my question is: if the parent buy a property in the catchment area, but didn't move until DC get a place in the secondary school. Is that OK? it means Dc is still attending the original primary school which is quite far from the desirable secondary school. is it suspectable?

titchy Thu 28-May-15 16:43:34

Littlez - if at the time of APPLYING, the family haven't moved into that address, even if they had bought it, that would be regarded as fraudulent, regardless of future intentions.

titchy Thu 28-May-15 16:46:06

To clarify, they should use the address they live at, not the one they will move to once child due to start. They could move and have a crappy journey to primary for a year (or move primary school), or apply from where they live and risk being too far to get a place.

littlelz Thu 28-May-15 16:47:19

thanks titchy, so Dc must move it? actually this is my case. I will move in, but not DD and DH, is that OK? does the admission policy explain it officially?

Charis1 Thu 28-May-15 16:51:20

Any penalties?

wasn't someone charged with fraud recently? I don't know what the outcome was.

prh47bridge Thu 28-May-15 17:41:38

I will move in, but not DD and DH, is that OK?

You will almost certainly find that your LA's policy specifies that you must use the address where the child is living. So no, it is not ok for you to move and use that address while your child lives somewhere else.

wasn't someone charged with fraud recently? I don't know what the outcome was

The case was dropped as it is unclear whether the Fraud Act covers using a false address to get a school place.

tiggytape Thu 28-May-15 18:21:50

You need to apply from the address the child lives at. The application form will show your child's current primary school. If that primary school is miles away from the address you claim the child lives at, it is going to be very obvious that you aren't telling the truth.

Councils don't bother with criminal or fraud action over this issue.
The only penalty is loss of school place and this works well all round. It is suitably devestating to most parents to put them off lying. Nobody wants to go to all that expense then have their child rather publically thrown out of school (people invariably find out what's happened). And on the plus side for the council, it doesn't require a court case so the council don't have to absolutely prove their suspicions, only reasonably suspect it.

If they had to prove if beyond all doubt a lot more people would get away with it. As it stands, by not going to court, they only have to feel reasonably certain that cheating has gone on to take action against the family and withdraw the place.

Blu Mon 01-Jun-15 19:59:49

At a school quite near me two children were removed from the school, in the middle of the school day, when it was found their places had been allocated on the basis of a temporary rental for the purposes of getting into the school.

Poor kids.

londonlife Tue 02-Jun-15 22:09:45

Wow Blu - poor kids! But serves the parents right. Whereabouts was this? I think this is rife near us - I hope the LEA are tightening up on it.

Ionacat Tue 02-Jun-15 22:30:19

It is rife in a LEA near me and several parents have lost their places for September as they have been caught renting on a temporary basis near the school or using a relative's address. Lots of whistle blowing from agrieved parents who genuinely live in catchement.

Blu Wed 03-Jun-15 08:39:00

Londonlife: it was in a Southwark school.

Blu Wed 03-Jun-15 08:40:22

Oh, and sorry, I meant to say in my first post it was actually a primary school, not secondary, but it does demonstrate that LAs take it seriously.

mummytime Wed 03-Jun-15 09:44:34

I do - and their penalty was it was actually a waste of time - as they'd have got in from their original address anyway. You do have to actually move in though, and live there for at least a year. If they think you did it fraudulently then your place can be taken away, even after your child has started school.

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