Your housing options
Not everyone who is homeless or threatened with homelessness will benefit from presenting themselves to the Council as homeless. There may be other options that you can consider.
The Council’s allocations policy places people in priority bands according to their particular circumstances. If your home is severely overcrowded or you have multiple housing needs, you may receive higher priority by trying to stay in your home until you are re-housed than if you presented as homeless.
Some housing associations have homes to rent in West Lancashire. Housing associations offer secure tenancies similar to council tenancies and charge similar rents.
If you want to be considered for a housing association tenancy as well as a council tenancy, you must tick the box on our Housing Application Form. You can also contact housing associations direct and join their waiting lists.
Private rented accommodation
These are privately owned houses that are rented out by their owners directly or through a lettings agency. The tenancy you are given is called an assured shorthold tenancy and usually lasts for 6 to 12 months. The tenancy is not secure so the landlord can decide not to rent the property to you again when your tenancy ends.
Rents are usually higher than council or housing association properties and may not be covered by housing benefit. If you need to claim housing benefit to help pay the rent, it is important that you contact the Housing Benefit Service at the Council and find out how much you are entitled to before you sign a tenancy agreement.
Most landlords also ask for a deposit and a month's rent in advance. The deposit is usually the same amount as a month's rent. The council can help people on benefits or a low income by agreeing with the landlord to cover the deposit. See the Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme for more information. By using this scheme, the landlord does not need to worry about protecting the deposit in the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme.
Landlords who take cash deposits must protect them in a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. Landlords who do not comply can be taken to court and fined.
The benefit of renting privately is that you have the flexibility to choose where you live and the properties are usually available to move into straight away. Most private properties are advertised in the local paper or through lettings and estate agents.
Shared ownership is where you part rent and part buy. The property will be part-owned by a housing association and you will rent their share from them. You will own the other share in the property by getting a mortgage. Most shared ownership properties are advertised through estate agents. For more information on shared ownership and new housing developments in the borough, see the new affordable housing developments page.