Frequently Asked Questions

Applications and the Housing Register

You must have been accepted onto Lancaster City Council's Housing Register to be able to apply for properties. Anyone aged 16 years or over may apply to join the Housing Register. Once you have been accepted onto the housing register you will receive an application number and you can start bidding for available properties.
You will need to complete an application form. The quickest and easiest way to do this is by completing an online application form.
Along with your application form you will need to provide the following:


• Proof of identity for all household members (e.g. passport, birth certificate, driving licence, medical card)

• Proof of current address (e.g. recent utility bill, recent benefit letter)

• Evidence of your right to reside in the UK if you are not a British Citizen (e.g. passport & other relevant Home Office documentation)

• Proof of children (e.g. child benefit letter, child tax credit award letter, letter from school)

• Proof of income (e.g. wage slips, bank statement)

• Proof of three years residency in the Lancaster district

Your application form will not be fully assessed, and you will not be eligible to apply for properties, until we have received all the required documents. This will cause your housing application form to be delayed.
You will receive a letter confirming that you have been accepted onto the Housing Register. This will tell you the band you have been placed in, and the types of property you are eligible for.
There are some people who are not eligible to be included on the Housing Register. These are:


• 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 Common Travel Area (which include the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and 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.

Bedroom requirements are based on assumptions that a bedroom is suitable for:


• Each adult couple.

• Any other person aged 16 or over.

• Two children of the same sex aged under 16.

• Two children, regardless of sex, aged under 10.

• Any other child.

• A disabled child or adult who needs their own bedroom on medical grounds.

• A carer, or team of carers, who has a home elsewhere, who uses a bedroom on a regular basis to stay overnight because an adult member of the household requires overnight care.

If you feel you need an extra bedroom for medical reasons you can complete a medical self-assessment form and provide evidence of this. The Council's medical officer will look at this and assess whether an additional bedroom is required.

Yes, once a year, normally on the anniversary of your application we will write to you and request that you complete a renewal of your application, which you must complete and return within 28 days. This is to ensure that your application is kept up to date, and that you still wish to be registered with Ideal Choice Homes. If you fail to renew your application, we will write and tell you that your application has been cancelled.

You will need to provide us with an email address and password when you start your housing application form. This is so that if you do not complete the form now, you can come back to it later and finish it. The password is to make sure only you can access the form.

You can choose any password, but it must be at least 8 characters, contain 1 lower case character, 1 upper case character and 1 number.

If you do not have an email address here are some links below to providers that will have you up and running in no time.

gmail - this link will take you to the Google Mail site where you can set-up your own email account.

hotmail - this link will take you to the Microsoft Hotmail site where you can set-up your own email account.

YahooMail - this link will take you to the Yahoo Mail site where you can set-up your own email account.

Prioritising Applications

Your application will be assessed according to your level of housing need and placed in one of 6 bands:


•Band A - Emergency housing need.

•Band B - High housing need.

•Band C - Medium housing need.

•Band D - Low housing need.

•Band E - Very low housing need.

•Band F - Social and supported housing tenants moving to make the best use of the social housing stock.


The banding scheme prioritises applicants by putting those with a similar housing need in the same band. Within each band applicants are prioritised in date order.

You are placed in a particular band based on your current circumstances. If your current circumstances do not change, then you will stay in the same band.
It is very important that you tell us of any changes in your circumstances so that we can amend your application. The easiest way to do this is by updating your application online. We will tell you if this results in your application moving to a different band. If you move up a band the date of your application will be the date you move into that band.


Changes to your circumstances also include your contact details. If we try and contact you with an offer of accommodation and you do not respond, or if we offer you accommodation and discover that the details on your application are not up to date, the offer may be withdrawn.

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 Advisor, 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 properties which are suitable for you, and which meet your needs.

Property Adverts

A new list of available properties is advertised each week. As soon as we are given formal notice that a property is due to become vacant, we will advertise it.
The property adverts will contain information about, amongst other things, rent, number of bedrooms, heating type, suitable household size and whether pets are accepted, as well as giving information on local services and amenities. The advert will also indicate the priority band of applicant that preference will be given to. The advert will also state who the landlord of the property is.


The advert will also tell you if there are any special requirements that the applicant must meet, such as age requirements, which bands may bid for the property, and which will be given priority for the property. 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.


Properties may be advertised during the notice period given by the outgoing tenant. If the notice is withdrawn by the tenant during this period, the property will therefore be unavailable to be let.

Placing Bids

When you bid for a property, this simply means that you are expressing your interest in a vacant property - this does not involve any money. By bidding you are putting your name down on a shortlist along with the other people who are interested in that property. You can only bid for a property if you are eligible for it.
Once you have joined the housing register, you can place a bid using your application number in the following ways:


• Online through our website,

• By contacting Customer Services on (01524) 582005

• By visiting either Morecambe or Lancaster Town Hall

You can bid for a maximum of two properties during each weekly advertising cycle. Remember, you can only bid for properties which you are eligible for and are suitable for your needs.
The weekly advertising cycle lasts for 6 days and runs from Wednesday to the following Monday. Once this cycle has ended you can no longer bid for these properties, but a new advertising cycle will start each Wednesday with a new list of properties. When you bid for a property, it is not first come first served. You can bid at any point during the weekly cycle and your position in the queue for a property is based on your priority need, not when you placed the bid.
Yes, when you bid for a property, you will be told where you are in the queue for that particular property. 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.
If you don't place any bids, you will not be offered any accommodation. If you do not see any vacant properties that you are interested in, then you don't have to place any bids. You will not be penalised for not placing bids.

Offer of Accommodation

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.
You may not be invited to view the property for the following reasons:


• You owe rent or have other housing related debts.

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

• You have sufficient resources to solve your own housing problems.

• 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.

Yes. You will be given an opportunity to view the property and decide whether you would like to accept it.
You will not normally be penalised for refusing a property that you have been offered and will still be able to express interest in properties that become available.
Information about rented accommodation which has been let is published on the website. It will tell you the number of applicants that expressed an interest in each property, along with the band and the registration date of the successful applicant. This will help you to understand how popular particular areas and types of property are and may help you to decide which properties to place bids for in the future.