School applications and proof of address: when to sell the old property?(8 Posts)
We still have a bit of time before our application, but are trying to understand how the system works.
We might move to another area of London (from Southwark council to Wandsorth), mainly because of better transport links (schools are good where we live and seem less oversubscribed). One of the many options we are considering (among moving to some tropical island and opening our own bar!) is to hold on to our current property, renting it out for about a year, then selling it. We need to sell within 18 months of buying elsewhere, otherwise we don't get the additional 3% stamp duty back. Not entirely sure it makes financial sense (we still have to run some numbers) but that's not the question.
The question is: by when should we have sold the old property, so as to make sure the council does not suspect we cheated on the application form, and does not suspect we might move back to our old property once our child is offered a place?
Yes, I understand there are lots of people who cheat.
Yes, councils are suspicious and check lots of details - rightly so.
No, we have no intention of moving back: dropping off and picking up our child would be a logistical nightmare.
But of course I understand the council cannot know this and might rightly treat our application as suspicious.
Should we have sold the property by April, when places are offered? Or by January, i.e. the application deadline?
PS I had to break the post in two messages otherwise the website would log me out - and I have no clue why!
You apply from your residential address as it is in January so would be best to eliminate any potential queries before then.
I see. And how are buy-to-lets viewed? I'd think that, if you own a smaller property, which you have never lived in, on which you have a buy-to-let mortgage (whose terms prevent you from living there yourself), etc., it shouldn't be seen as suspicious, or can it be?
PS One of the paradoxes of so much cheating is that those who don't need to worry their legitimate behaviour might be seen as suspicious!
Wandsworth are one of the councils that automatically assume that, if you own two homes, your first address is the valid one (even if you are living in the second one). You have to dispose of the first address before application to make the second address count.
They do say that they collect evidence on this and have a process whereby you can state your case to them abotu why the first address should not count (they note for example that renovations to the first home is not allowed as a reason to use the second address for allocations) but if you want a smooth application and not have to prove your status (and risk them rejecting your reasons) then you'd need to dispose of your current home before you apply.
The pdf link to the booklet with all the details is here (see under Step 4 for address rules)
Wandsworth isn't that well connected for transport, so I can see why your case would seem weird
There is a pan-London system for schools admissions (you apply to your own borough,a nod then all boroughs and Surrey co-operate) and this includes council tax records.
So yes, I think you need to aim to have sold up by the December before applications close in January (as that gives you a couple of weeks slippage).
(Owning a second property in which you have never lived and from which you are not applying may be looked in to, but will probably be OK, especially if the second property is less suitable as a family home for your sized family. Especially if you can demonstrate that is was buy-to-let throughout)
Do however remember it is up to the family to prove their circumstances, not the borough to prove cheating.
I see. Btw, Wandsorth isn't that well connected? Well, all is relative, isn't it? From some train stations in Wandsworth there are trains to Clapham Junction, and then Victoria or Waterloo, every 3 minutes or so during rush hour.
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