Finding accommodation and paying rent
The council believes that everyone has the right to a decent and secure home and works with private landlords and their tenants to help achieve this.
Finding the right home to meet your needs is not easy. This page tells you where to look, and gives you some pointers about what to look for to make sure you get the right home for you.
How Can I Find A Place To Live?
See our Apply For A Home page - we are one of the largest providers of affordable rented housing in the district.
The council runs an Accredited Property Scheme. Properties that are accredited have been inspected and approved by the council and will all be of a good standard. Landlords of accredited properties have undertaken to meet and maintain specified standards. Lists of vacant accredited properties are available from our housing offices and from other local agencies.
Local papers often carry adverts giving details of property available for rent. The advert will usually say if a deposit is required, and whether the landlord will accept Housing Benefit claimants, children or pets. There is no guarantee that the properties will have been checked by the council.
Shop windows are also a good place to look for adverts (especially post offices and convenience stores in the area you would prefer to live in)
Letting Agencies are usually able to offer a choice of accommodation. However some agencies have policies that exclude young and unemployed people, and some may also charge you a fee for drafting tenancy agreements and inventories. Some agencies have accredited properties on their books
Housing associations are organisations that receive funding from the government to provide affordable housing. You can be allocated a property owned by a housing association by being on the council's housing register. You can also apply to them directly since they all hold their own waiting list too.
Local advice agencies may help with finding accommodation.
Can I Get Help If I'm Homeless?
If you don't have a home of your own or have nowhere to live you should contact the our Housing Needs Advice Service on 01524 582929 for help and advice.
What If I Or Someone In My Household Has A Physical Disability Or Other Special Housing Need?
Disabled Facilities Grants are available from the Council to help pay for adaptations to your home to meet your needs.
Adapted Housing. The council and local Housing Associations have accommodation that has been designed for people with special needs, or can be adapted.
How Do I Pay For My Home?
Running a home is expensive, not only do you have to pay the rent but there are other things you must pay for too such as gas, electricity, water rates, council tax, telephone and TV licence. You may also have to pay a deposit and rent in advance before you move in. If you are on a low income or unemployed you may be able to get help towards the rent from Housing Benefit. Always make sure before you move in to a new home that you can afford to live there.
Housing Benefit may be provided to help you towards the cost of paying your rent. The amount of Housing Benefit you eventually receive will depend on:
- Your income
- The size, gender and age of your family
- The property you are renting and how old you are.
If you live on your own and are under 25 you will usually only receive a reduced level of benefit. You should also bear in mind that Housing Benefit will only pay for the size of property that you need, so it won't pay for any spare rooms. If the Housing Benefit you receive is less than your rent, you must make up the difference unless you can agree a lower rent with your landlord.
You can find out how much Housing Benefit will be paid before you move in by filling in a Pre-Tenancy Determination form and sending it to the Housing Benefit Service. You should get an answer in about a week. You can get more information about Housing Benefit by contacting them direct.
Quality and Standards of Rented Property
There is a lot of good quality, well-maintained privately rented property in the district. Here are some things you should look out for:
Accredited Property Scheme membership will always be a good thing to look for, because the Council will have already inspected the property to make sure it is of a good standard
Houses in Multiple Occupation Registration (HMO) Scheme membership. Most blocks of flats or bedsits where there are three or more flats in the block should be registered with the Council. Registered Properties will have been inspected by the Council to make sure they are safe and are being properly looked after. If they are not already up to standard the works will be underway. All Registered property should have a certificate of registration near the front door, for everyone to see
Remember - always have a good look round the property yourself before you agree to move in. You should check for:
- Leaks and damaged plasterwork, make sure the kitchen and bathroom are in good order and that everything works. Its also a good idea to check the stairs are safe
- That the gas appliances have been inspected - there should be a copy of a current safety certificate in the property
- Adequate fire precautions are in place. If you are not sure, ask the Housing Standards Team
- That upholstered furniture and mattresses provided by your landlord have labels stating that they are fire retardant
If anything goes wrong let the Housing Standards Team know. They can advise you about tenancy matters and even make sure your landlord carries out repairs.
Help With Equipping Your Home
The Social Fund can sometimes offer grants and loans for furniture, beds, bedding and other essential equipment and appliances you will need for your new home. The fund is run locally by the Department of Works and Pensions at Mitre House in Lancaster. You can phone them on (01524) 302000.
Furniture Matters can provide recycled furniture including beds, settees, wardrobes, washing machines and other basic essential equipment at a low cost if you can't afford to buy your own. To apply you need to be referred from a local advice agency. To find the agency nearest to you call Furniture Matters on (01524) 426633.
Customer Service Centre
Other Useful Contacts
(Info Shop provide a free telephone for you to ring housing providers)
58, Regent Road
Tel: (01524) 419597
Housing Advice Service
Council Housing Services
Lancaster City Council
Tel: (01524) 582528
Housing Benefit Service
Morecambe Town Hall
Tel: (01524) 582965
Housing Benefit Service
Lancaster Town Hall
Tel: (01524) 582965
Morecambe and Heysham Citizens Advice Bureau
87, Queen Street
Tel: 08444 994197
Lancaster Citizens Advice Bureau
87, King Street
Tel: 01524 400405
Lancaster and District Homeless Action Centre
Morecambe Homeless Action
Trinity Methodist Church
(Tuesday 10 am - 1 pm)
(Wednesday 7 pm - 9 pm)
West End Community Centre
(Thursday 10 am - 1 pm
Friday 7 pm - 9 pm)
North British Housing Association Ltd
The Old School
13, Talbot Road
Blackpool FY1 1LB
Tel: (01253) 290829
Northern Counties Housing Association
10B Brennand Close
Lancaster LA1 5JL
Tel: (01524) 598700
Collingwood Housing Association Ltd
1 Outram House
Great Ancoats Street
Manchester M4 7AA
Tel: (0161)274 4744
County Palatine Housing Society Association
56 King Street
Leigh WN7 4LJ
Tel: (01942) 608715
Home Housing Association and Lune Valley Rural Housing Association
16 Woolpack Yard
Cumbria LA9 4NG
Tel: (01539) 735382
The Windmill Housing Association Ltd
139 Red Bank Road
Blackpool FY2 9HZ
Tel: (01253) 351089
North West Regional Office
Chorley West Business Park
Chorley PR7 1NL
Tel: (01257) 261009
Two Castles Housing Association
3 Paternoster Row
Tel: (01539) 733319
Anchor Housing Association
Cumbria CA11 7XR
Tel: (01768) 891817
Johnnie Johnson Housing Trust Ltd
G/F Harwood House
Cheadle SK8 2LA
Tel: (0161) 428 7300
The Methodist Housing Association For The Elderly
C/o Wesley House
Lancaster LA1 1PX
Tel: (01524) 37328 (warden)
Carr Gomm Society Ltd
14 Brindley Road
City Park Business Village
Manchester M16 9HQ
Tel: (0161) 877 8847
New Era Housing Association
West Yorkshire WF2 0AE
Tel. (01924) 3787