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Buying house closer in catchment - renting out current house

(71 Posts)
TheWayOfTheWorld Mon 02-Dec-19 21:28:44

Not sure where else to put this - hoping someone will know if this is generally ok or not.

We live in the South East in a city with great state schools, but I cocked up when buying our house a few years ago in that it is not really in catchment for any of those secondary schools (we'd get into a single sex school or a faith school, neither of which would be appropriate for our DC).

Ideally we would sell current house and move closer to the secondaries we want, but given how things are with the market etc I'm worried we wouldn't be able to accomplish this in time for school applications. I'm therefore making contingencies in case we find a house we like but can't sell existing one quickly enough

I know it isn't on to rent a school in catchment and continue to own a house nearby. Does anyone know what the typical rule is if you overlap - ie rent out the existing owned house to tenants and move into a new owned property (in catchment)?. Thanks.

AlunWynsKnee Mon 02-Dec-19 21:34:30

If you owned both houses you might get away with it but wouldn't you end up paying extra stamp duty or capital gains at some point?

PatriciaHolm Mon 02-Dec-19 21:45:11

You would need to read your local admissions authorities guidance on this, but in many cases if you own 2 properties but move within a certain time before application, the previous address will be used. You would need to sell the other property to avoid this.

PatriciaHolm Mon 02-Dec-19 21:47:47

Surrey, for example, say -

"We will not generally consider an address to be a child’s habitual residence if the applicant owns or rents an alternative property that the child previously lived in. Where an applicant still owns or rents an address at which their child previously lived, they must explain and evidence the permanence of their house move. Renting out an owned property or putting it up for sale would not normally deem it unavailable to the family. A property would normally only be deemed unavailable to the family from the date it is sold but this would not alter the outcome of an application for a school place where the decision has already been made."

Nextphonewontbesamsung Mon 02-Dec-19 21:50:09

I think most schools are catching onto this sort of admissions scam and you are increasingly unlikely to get away with it.

chickenstrippers Mon 02-Dec-19 21:54:21

When do they check this stuff? I mean you put down your current address and It doesn't ask how long you've lived there. I know there's a section about moving, but if it's all done and you've already moved then how do they know ?

PettsWoodParadise Mon 02-Dec-19 22:14:38

They know as someone will ‘tell’. Either a disgruntled parent whose child didn’t get a place, someone you thought was a friend but turns out they don’t agree with what you did, etc.

I had some friends who decided to move after grammar results day in early October and before the change of address date in early Dec. They put house on market and rented a new place. Admissions were adamant they had to have exchanged contracts or sold for the old address to be ignored. They managed it but had to sell at a massive discount. Moving in a rush comes with its own emotional and financial pitfalls.

PatriciaHolm Mon 02-Dec-19 22:21:57

Council tax records will also show when you moved, and usually these are required as proof of address in the boroughs where fraudulent addresses are a problem.

etluxperpetua Mon 02-Dec-19 22:34:21

Schools will often ask for two years' worth of council tax, and if you haven't got two (ie you've moved since the previous March) then they will ask for further evidence to demonstrate which dates you were resident where. They will also ask for dated evidence to show that your application address is your child's main residence (eg child benefit letter, hospital letter) and has been for some time.

XelaM Mon 02-Dec-19 23:11:07

It's not a "scam" though if people are genuinely moving to get into a good school. Why do people have such a problem with this? What's wrong with moving specifically for the pupose of getting into a good school if the family is really genuinely moving? It's only a scam if they're not really living at the new address

Nextphonewontbesamsung Tue 03-Dec-19 02:37:30

It is a scam if you rent a house in the catchment of a good school in order to get a place, but keep hold of your other property nearby and move back to that after a year or two. OP would have to prove (somehow) to the school that she wasn't planning on doing this.

Bluerussian Tue 03-Dec-19 03:04:56

I think it is worth a try, a lot of departments don't 'talk to eachother'; when you apply for a state school and put down your address, no one is going to ask whether you rent or own.

Please be aware though that schools will take pupils from outside of their catchment area; that happens near to me where there are some very good schools and children do go to them who live a bit further away. My next door neighbour's children went to one not too far but definitely not in the same education area. My son was offered a place at one out of the catchment, he didn't go there in the end but he could have. It all depends on how much the school wants the child.

I hope all works out. Please let us know.

myrtleWilson Tue 03-Dec-19 06:15:08

That's an interesting interpretation of state school admissions policy Blue
Not all schools have a formal catchment area.

Some policies (especially in some localities) will have complex inter related admissions criteria which could include reference to nearest school which can make it more confusing from the outside.
Some policies will include reference to catchments but will attach this to sibling rules.
Am not seeing the capacity in the system for schools to determine their admission policy on "how much they want the child".

LolaSmiles Tue 03-Dec-19 06:24:37

Admissions are often more complex than catchment areas.

The issue isn't moving for schools, it's moving for schools in a way/time that suggests admissions fraud.

If someone sells a house and buys somewhere else and is living there then that's going to have fewer issues than keeping the family home, renting it out, renting close to the school for admission purposes whilst the family home is still within commuting distance and can be available to the family.

Unless the main family house near by is sold then it's got to much potential for coincidental claims of "honestly we were going to move, but since getting DC into the school we wanted it's just not the right decision for us any more", which is admission fraud and is doing another child out of a place.

etluxperpetua Tue 03-Dec-19 06:26:48

Bluerussian, sorry but that is rubbish on a lot of levels. First, the majority of schools no longer have catchment areas, they have a list of criteria, the last of which is usually distance. Second, a school could offer a place to a child ten miles away quite legitimately if they're either under subscribed at Reception or there happens to be an in year place. Thirdly, if they are prioritising children they 'want', then they are breaking the law. And fourthly, they will absolutely ask if you're renting or buying, and will ask for the council tax, the rental agreement or the exchange of contracts depending on circumstances.

LolaSmiles Tue 03-Dec-19 06:33:27

Etluxperpetua
The advice of schools cherry picking comes up every year. Earlier this year on another thread a poster claimed that they were getting preferential entry to their local primary because they'd been on the PTA since their DC1 was 1.5 and they made friends with the teachers/head.

ElluesPichulobu Tue 03-Dec-19 06:34:25

it is a scam if you don't get rid of the old house, because typically the houses that are not in catchment for a great school are tens of thousands cheaper than houses of the same size that are firmly in catchment and having on to three old house means you can move back as soon as the kid starts school.

you simply have to get the sale to exchange of contracts at least before the closing date. if that means pricing £50k below true value then so be it.

Zodlebud Tue 03-Dec-19 06:41:10

In our LA if you own another property within 20 miles of the one you live in then and have only recently moved to the new address then your application is flagged as being potentially fraudulent. It doesn’t matter how genuine the move is, they have no way of knowing whether you are telling the truth or not.

BlouseAndSkirt Tue 03-Dec-19 06:41:39

Bluerussian

t all depends on how much the school wants the child

Rubbish.

every year people fall victim to misinformation and myths about school admissions. Please do not spread such ill informed myths.

TheWayOfTheWorld Tue 03-Dec-19 06:49:00

Thanks everyone, a few things to think about.

This would not be a "scam", we would not be renting close to the school and then moving back to the other one, it would be a genuine house move - I'm just contingency planning in case we found the new house bur couldn't sell our current one on the same timescale (we all know things don't always pan out exactly as we'd like them to).

ElluesPichulobu Tue 03-Dec-19 07:43:31

because things don't always pan out exactly as you'd like them to is precisely why it will be treated as a scam even if there is no intent for it to be so. The LEA don't have the resources for the detective work that would be necessary to work out if a scenario is a scammer trying it on or an honest person who had been unlucky. the criteria need to be specific, measurable and quickly verifiable without requiring anyone to make a judgement call on whether you seem to be earnestly doing everything you can to actually move. the criteria used are whether you still own the more distant property. your intentions are irrelevant because they can't be measured or independently verified.

RedskyToNight Tue 03-Dec-19 08:01:17

First, the majority of schools no longer have catchment areas,

This is entirely area dependent. There are many areas of the country where all schools have defined catchment areas. Not really helpful to post such blanket statements.

The most important thing for OP to know is that she should read her actual area admissions criteria carefully.

OP - I presume your house is on the market already? If not, the later you leave to put it on, the more it will appear that you had no genuine desire to sell.

BlouseAndSkirt Tue 03-Dec-19 08:03:34

If you are aiming at next October admissions deadline stuck your house in the market in the first week of January and see how you do.

As soon as you have an offer you will have your pick of what’s on the market.

Mumto2two Tue 03-Dec-19 08:26:45

If you were based in our county, this would be considered a fraudulent application. And you would need to be actually ‘residing’ at your new address, not just at the exchange of contracts. I know this from my own experience, as we moved within county, but one school was in one catchment area, and another was not. We could only apply on distance, if that is what we wanted.
Rules like this exist for a very good reason, and renting temporarily to bag yourself a place, is in spite of what you may feel is all very legitimate, is not.

LolaSmiles Tue 03-Dec-19 08:31:18

Nobody is disputing your intentions OP but the bottom line is admission fraud is a big issue that affects children losing out on their rightful places, and what you're proposing to outside eyes is textbook admission fraud (renting close to a school for admissions purposes whilst owning another property in the area).

There's another poster on here whose name escapes me who is brilliant on admissions advice. Hopefully they'll be along.

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