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School places when trying to sell your house

(14 Posts)
Becksterboo Mon 07-Jul-14 11:25:22

Hi there, we are thinking of moving house into a neighbouring borough and plan to change schools for my eldest and apply for a reception place for my youngest. We also planned to keep on our existing house for a short while, taking time to finish off all the old jobs that need doing and decluttering ready for selling, this may take a few months as there is a lot to do!

However this would mean paying all bills on two properties for a short time which we think we can afford however to get a school place in the new borough the new council requires us to prove we are paying council tax in the new borough (that's ok) but also needs us to prove we are not paying at the old property in the old borough which we won't be able to for a few months at least while we sell.

I can totally see why they need this but we are not trying to defraud anyone, we simply want to get the best price for our old place.

Has anyone been stuck in this position? What about those home take ages to sell? I would be really grateful for any advice you can offer.

Thank you.

airplanesandsun Mon 07-Jul-14 11:28:21

I suspect there are very few people who can have two properties at once without renting one out. Most people simply can't afford that ideal

Becksterboo Mon 07-Jul-14 11:50:50

Believe me we can't do it for long but as we have a fair few things to do and two young children we thought it better to try and cover it for a short time.

Floggingmolly Mon 07-Jul-14 11:56:18

Your old house would almost certainly be taken to be your primary address for school admission purposes.
Up to you whether you want to take the hit or not; most people have to compromise one way or another to get their kids into their preferred school...

airplanesandsun Mon 07-Jul-14 12:08:05

I have known people do it for e.g a month, but not any longer. Your only other option is to get house A on the market and try and convince the council you are selling for definite.

Becksterboo Mon 07-Jul-14 12:13:07

Hmmm that would be a problem if our old property was used. Surely if we can prove we are actually living in the new house (with council tax and utility bills etc) this should help. What if it takes a time to sell? Couldn't we inform the council we're not living in it (but continue to pay) this should be taken into consideration. To be honest it will take a while to get a place at the new school as they're very popular so I will end up driving my two from the new place to the school near our old property each day anyhow!
Either that or we try somehow to rush through all the jobs in our existing place.

airplanesandsun Mon 07-Jul-14 12:28:32

If you are paying council tax on old property as an unfurnished property for sale you could have a chance - they may come round and check? I guess its just about sorting out a paper trail of it all and having it ready if you are later challenged on it, to prove your genuine address.

Becksterboo Mon 07-Jul-14 12:47:03

Thank you, that sounds a bit more promising. We would be moving all our stuff out straight away pretty much (may leave an odd piece of furniture to dress the house).

I know there have been some houses on the market for months whilst they have moved into their new property so it must have happened before.

Anyway we've not even had the offer accepted on the new place yet so I am jumping the gun a bit but best to be organised!

happygardening Mon 07-Jul-14 13:17:12

We ran two homes for a 3 months and paid council tax on both but if we could have proved that our new home was uninhabitable due to the building work required on it (it wasn't that bad) or had no furniture in it or there was no furniture in our old home we would not have had to payed the full council tax on both. Speak to your council apparently different councils have different policies I was told some don't charge the full council tax on 2 nd properties.

happygardening Mon 07-Jul-14 13:18:27

Obviously not paying the full council tax would be sufficient proof that you weren't actually living there.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Mon 07-Jul-14 14:44:02

Our local council used to give you 6 months grace on a property you were no longer living in and only charged you 10% council tax but they've stopped this now to discourage houses sitting empty for too long.

Becksterboo Mon 07-Jul-14 15:38:09

Thank you. I just had a look at that and apparently the rules changed last year and we would have to pay full council tax on our existing property (eek!) as well as our new property. Maybe if we'd have moved a few years back we wouldn't have paid as much.

Maybe we just sell it as is but I would have preferred to wait.

hobblebobble Mon 07-Jul-14 18:20:57

We used to pay only 10% too on an empty property while it was up for sale in 2008. We ended up renting it out but it has been back on the market for a year and we now pay 90% council tax due to change in rules ..,

tiggytape Mon 07-Jul-14 22:36:36

Hmmm that would be a problem if our old property was used. Surely if we can prove we are actually living in the new house (with council tax and utility bills etc) this should help.

The reason for the rule is that nothing would stop you moving back to your old house once you'd secured a school place using the new address and this isn't allowed. Therefore many councils want proof you have "disposed" of any other proerties once used as a family home. Councils don't just care about where you live but also if you have an unsold house elsewhere.

Obviously if your unsold house was 400 miles away, they'd know you weren't looking to secure a school place before going back to your original home. But if they are within commuting distance for school, they will suspect that you are not planning a proper move unless you can prove otherwise.
Examples of proof would be the unsold house is uninhabitable, is being converted into bedsits for students or is so far away from the school you apply to that there's no chance of you commuting to it. If you could not offer an explanation that gave the council certainty that there's no way you'd move back home again, they would almost certainly take the original house as your address. You could dispute this at appeal but they too would want evidence about the new address being your 'real' one despite you living there at that time.

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