Frequently asked questions



  • Who can apply for properties through West Lancs HomeFinder
    You must have been accepted onto West Lancashire’s Housing Register to be able to apply for properties through West Lancs HomeFinder. Anyone aged 16 years or over may apply to join the Housing Register, although there are some restrictions on who will be accepted. Top
  • How do I apply to join the Housing Register?
    You will need to complete an online application. If you experience any difficulties please contact the Housing Options Team. Top
  • Do I need to provide a reference?
    Yes. Unless you hold a current tenancy with West Lancashire Borough Council or are over 60 years of age you will need to provide a reference. Where it is a joint application one reference will be needed for each applicant. If you hold a current tenancy the reference must be from your current landlord and include details of your rent payments and whether there have been any complaints of noise nuisance or anti social behaviour. If you have not rented accommodation before, the reference should be from your employer. The reference should state your suitability as a prospective tenant and should state how you have conducted previous tenancies. If you have never rented accomodation or worked before the reference should be from a professional or someone of standing within the community who knows you. All references must detail your suitability as a tenant.Top
  • What other documents do I need to provide?
    Along with your application form you will need to provide the following:
    • Proof of ID. This can be
      Either: Current passport or current driving licence (Photo)
      OR 2 of the following: recent utility bill, current bank account statement, recent correspondence from DWP, Inland Revenue, Tax Credit Office, or Pensions Service.
      Without a satisfactory reference and ID, your application will not be processed.
    • Evidence of your right to reside in the UK if you are not a British Citizen (e.g. passport & other relevant Home Office documentation)
    • Before you are offered a property you will need to provide additional documents to support your application. We will tell you what documents you need and when to provide them.

ALL SUPPORTING INFORMATION can be uploaded via your Homefinder account.       Top

  • What happens if I do not provide the supporting evidence?
    Providing you have properly completed your application form, and have provided identification and a satisfactory reference, your application will be processed but placed in the lowest band, until all your documents are received, it will then be moved into the appropriate band from the date they are received. Top

    How do I know if I have been accepted onto the Housing Register?
  • You will receive an email or letter confirming that you have been accepted onto the Housing Register. This will tell you the band you have been placed in, the registration date of your application and the size of property you are eligible for. Top

  • Can you refuse to accept me onto the Housing Register?
    There are some people who are not eligible to be included on the Housing Register.
    These are:

    For more detailed information contact our Housing Options team.

    • Certain people who are subject to Immigration Control under the 1996 Asylum and Immigration Act.

    • Certain people from abroad who are not subject to immigration control but who are not habitually resident in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland.

    • People (including members of their household) who have been guilty of unacceptable behaviour that makes them unsuitable to be a tenant.

    • Current Council Tenants who have not maintained their property in accordance with the terms of their tenancy.

    • Those who previously purchased a property through the Right to Buy within the last 10 years unless they are applying for sheltered housing.

    • The Council will not allocate housing to people who already own their own homes, unless you need sheltered accommodation and your home/assets were not of sufficient value to secure such accommodation privately, or you have other exceptional circumstances.

    • Applicants whose income is over £50,000 or have savings/assets over £80,000.Top


  • What are priority Bands?
    Your application will be assessed according to your level of housing need and placed in one of 5 bands, A to E. We will also take into account whether you have a local connection to areas/villages within West Lancashire and whether you are able to afford to resolve your own housing problems. Within each band applications are prioritised by ‘Plus’ status and then placed in date order. For more information on banding please download the Allocations Policy. Top

  • Why cant I bid for a house?
    Given the lack of family houses across the borough, the Council needs to make sure it is making the best use of its available properties, we do this by allocating property types to those groups of applicants who make best use of the space and property type. We would therefore only allocate houses to households with children under 16. In determining eligibility for a house, we would consider whether the applicant is the primary carer for a child, a number of factors can be a taken into account during this assessment including the time that the child spends living with the applicant and whether the applicant is designated the primary carer for benefit purposes i.e. are they in receipt of child benefit etc. Applicants who are not the primary carer, even in cases where care is shared equally between parents, will not be eligible to bid on a house.

  • What do I do if my circumstances change?
    It is very important that you tell us of any changes in your circumstances so that we can amend your application. We will tell you if this results in your application moving to a different band.Top
  • Do I need to renew my application each year?
    Yes, once a year, normally on the anniversary of your application you will be sent a renewal form, which you must complete and return to us. If you fail to return the form your application will be cancelled.Top
  • What if someone in my household has a medical condition?
    If someone in your household has a medical condition you will be asked to provide details, which may then be considered by the council’s medical panel, who will put forward a recommendation. You can continue to choose which properties to express an interest in but must be mindful of your condition and only express interest in suitable properties such as ground floor flat or bungalow if you cannot climb stairs.Top

  • How often are properties advertised?
    Properties available for rent are advertised daily.  As soon as we are given formal notice that a property is due to become vacant we will advertise it. Each property will be advertised for 6 days. For more details click Step 2 -Choosing, part of our step-by-step guide to using the service.Top

  • Where are properties advertised?
    Properties are advertised in the following ways:


  • What information will the property adverts contain?
    The adverts will tell you the location, size, rent and other features of the property. Where available, a photograph of the property or a similar house type will be provided and you will be able to access information about the local area and facilities.
    The advert will also tell you if there are any special requirements that the applicant must meet, such as age requirements. It also tells you the number of bedrooms that applicants applying for the property need to be entitled to. If your bedroom entitlement is different to this you will not be able to bid for that property. Top

  • What if I would like some additional information about the property?
    If you have any specific questions about a property you should contact the Lettings Team please do not approach the current residents of the property direct. Top

  • How do I apply for a property?
    You can express your interest or bid, as it is also known, in the following ways:

    • Online

    • Through our 24hr automated telephone service on 0300 777 1370

These properties are available on a first come first served basis, there is no need to place a bid, just contact us to express your interest. You will need to be on the councils Housing Register, and all offers are subject to affordability checks. If you are interested contact the Lettings Team on Tel: 01695 577177. Top

  • How do we select which properties will be Available Now

An Available Now property will have been advertised for bidding via Homefinder, and either received no bids or where refusals have resulted in an empty shortlist. Before designating as ‘available now’ the property will have been made available for bidding to all applicants who would be eligible for the property type eg a 3 bed house would have been made open to all applicants eligible for 2 or 3 bed houses. Top

  • How many properties can I express an interest in?
    You will be able to express an interest in a maximum of three properties each time properties are advertised. However, you will only be able to express interest in properties that are suitable for your family. Top

  • How long will I have to bid for a property?
    Properties can be advertised on any day of the week, the advert will run from 00:01am on the first day until 23:59pm on the 6th day. Top

  • Will I know how many other people are interested in the same property?
    Yes, when you bid for a property you will be told where you are in the queue. This is likely to change frequently due to other people bidding for the same property. Using this information you may decide to withdraw your bid for one property and bid for a different property for which you are higher placed in the queue. You can do this at any time before the closing date. Top

  • How do you decide who is offered a property?
    Once the closing date for bids has passed a shortlist of interested applicants is drawn up. The shortlist is in order of eligibility according to the criteria stated in the advert details for that property. The applicant at the top of the list will normally be offered the property. For more details -visit Step 3 -Offer. Top

  • If I successfully bid for a rented property, can the landlord refuse to let it to me?
    You may not be invited to view the property for the following reasons:
    • You owe rent or have other housing related debts

    • We have carried out an assessment of affordability and determined that you would be unable to afford the particular property.

    • You are a Council tenant and legal action has been taken against you because you have broken your tenancy conditions

    • You have not provided the required documentary evidence to support your application by the date given

    • Your circumstances have changed and this results in a reduction in your level of priority.

    • You have provided incorrect or misleading information, which has resulted in your application being awarded a higher priority than it deserves.

    • The property does not meet your housing needs, for example if you have told us you need a ground floor property for medical reasons and the property you have bid on is upstairs. Top

  • If I am offered a property, will I be able to view it before making up my mind?
    Yes. You will be given an opportunity to view the property and decide whether you would like to accept it. An accompanied viewing will be arranged with one of the Lettings Team please do not approach either the current residents of the property or the councils maintenace contractors.   Top

  • What if I don’t like the property when I have seen it?
    You will still be able to express interest in properties that become available, however if you are in Band A or B and refuse three properties your Band will be reduced to Band E. Top

  • How will I know what has happened to the properties advertised?
    Information about homes that have been successfully let is published. We tell you the number of applicants that expressed an interest in each property, the band and the registration date of each property. To see the results of properties that have been let click Recent Lets. Top

  • What other options are there for housing?

There is a severe shortage of homes in the West Lancashire area, particularly houses. Most applicants on the Housing Register will have to wait a long time for re-housing and many of those in the lower bands will still have little chance of re-housing in the local area. Depending on your circumstances you may wish to consider other options such as renting in the private sector. For advice contact the Housing Options team. Top

  • What if I become homeless?
    You should contact the Homelessness Advice and Prevention team on Tel: 01695 577177. We will work with you to try to prevent you becoming homeless and will discuss your housing options with you. Applicants assessed as being owed a homelessness prevention duty are expected to actively make bids against suitable properties. Bidding patterns will be monitored on a weekly basis. In situations where bids are not being made or all bids are against unobtainable properties, the Homelessness Officer will place bids on the applicant's behalf. The Council’s duty will be discharged through the first successful bid.
    Applicants assessed as being owed a homelessness relief duty or those where a statutory decision has been issued finding them to be unintentionally homeless and in priority need and owed the ‘main housing duty’ will be made an offer of accommodation through Direct Matching. This offer will discharge the Councils duty. Top

  • How do I request a review of a decision?
    If you disagree with any of the following decisions you can request a review:
  • You are not eligible to join the housing register

  • You are not eligible for an offer

  • Your application has been cancelled other than at your own request

  • You think that you have been placed in the wrong band or given the wrong priority date

    If you want to appeal against a decision we have made about your application, you must email or write to the Tenancy Services Manager within 21 days of receiving the decision, at:


Tenancy Services Manager
Elson House
49-51 Westgate
West Lancashire

Your letter should explain why you think our decision is unfair and against council policy. You should include any evidence you have to support your appeal. There is no further right of appeal if you are unhappy with the decision. Top