The Homelessness and Housing Advice Service offers a wide range of free services for owner-occupiers, tenants who are renting their homes from social or private landlords, private landlords and people who have lost or are in danger of losing their homes.

If you're at risk of being made homeless

Contact us immediately if you think you are at risk of being made homeless, the sooner you contact us the more likely we will be able to help.

The Gateway, 89 Sankey Street, WA1 1SR.

Housing advice drop-in service

The Gateway, 89 Sankey Street WA1 1SR

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm
  • Wednesday 9am to 12noon and 2pm to 5pm

Pre- arranged appointments can be made on request.

For general enquires please email:

Tel: 01925 246868 - please leave a voicemail if we're unable to answer.

Our service is very busy and it may be up to 10 working days before we're able to get back to you.


Losing your home

If you are facing difficulties with your housing, are homeless or are about to become homeless, you should contact us as soon as possible.

Our Homelessness and Housing Advice Service can offer advice and help in finding alternative accommodation.

We may have a duty to find this accommodation for you if you satisfy certain requirements and are within 56 days of losing your home.

If you are in financial difficulties over your mortgage or rent payment, the service may also be able to assist you before you are evicted and help you to remain in your home.

If you're at risk of being made homeless

Contact us immediately if you think you are at risk of being made homeless, the sooner you contact us the more likely we will be able to help.

f you are at risk of losing your home

If you have an emergency out-of-hours, call 01925 444400.

Housing advice drop-in service

The Gateway, 89 Sankey Street WA1 1SR

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm
  • Wednesday 9am to 12noon and 2pm to 5pm

Pre- arranged appointments can be made on request.

Temporary accommodation when homeless

If you approach the council as homeless, we may decide that we have a legal duty to provide you with temporary accommodation whilst we investigate your circumstances and work with you to find alternative accommodation.

This may continue after we have made a decision about your homeless application.

The accommodation is being made available to you in line with the Council’s legal duties under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996, subsequently updated by the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

Types of temporary accommodation offered

Bed and Breakfast - This is nightly paid temporary accommodation and you may be required to share facilities. Families with dependent children would only normally be placed into bed and breakfast with shared facilities for a very short time whilst alternative self-contained temporary accommodation is sourced.

Self-Contained accommodation - Accommodation varies but will be fully self-contained. This accommodation will be furnished but we do not provide any bedding or towels for example or a television.

Shared Accommodation -  This is House of Multiple Occupation.  Bathroom and kitchen facilities will be shared.  Room offered will be furnished

Paying for accommodation

 You may be required to contribute to your accommodation costs, depending on your income. The council will assist in making an initial housing benefit claim for you, this will be completed at sign up.  If there is a shortfall in the rent and the housing benefit awarded, this will be your responsibility to pay. There may also be a service charge which is not covered by housing benefit, you will be required to pay this charge weekly.

Failure to do so may result in you losing the temporary accommodation. This may result in the Council ending their duty to assist you. If this should happen you would then have to make your own housing arrangements

Bringing pets to temporary accommodation

The council will not generally be able to accommodate your pets. We ask our clients to ask for assistance from family and some charities may be able to assist with looking after your pets whilst you are living in temporary accommodation.

Important information on timings

You will need to be prepared to move to your permanent accommodation at very short notice, sometimes with as little as 48 hours’ notice.

Points to remember when living in temporary accommodation

It is important for people living in temporary accommodation to remember that:

  • you must live in the temporary accommodation that we provide. If you are not living in the property the council may decide that you are not homeless and end its duty to you, meaning you would have to leave the accommodation. Please note, housing benefit is not payable if you are absent from your property and are living somewhere else
  • if you have to be absent from the temporary accommodation for any period of time (e.g. due to an emergency) then you must notify your housing advisor and the accommodation provider
  • it is essential you comply with the rules set down by the temporary accommodation provider. Failure to do so could result in you being asked to leave the accommodation and the Council ending its duty to assist you
  • if you are not working or on a low income you must make a claim for Housing Benefit or to complete a housing benefit claim that the council has made on your behalf
  • you must notify the Housing Benefit department immediately of any changes to your circumstances that may affect your benefit claim
  • you must provide all information requested by your Housing Advisor to support your application. Failure to provide the requested information may result in you being asked to leave the accommodation and the Council ending its duty to you

Accepting the temporary accommodation offered

If you choose to refuse the offer of suitable temporary accommodation at any point then the council may no longer have a duty to assist you and you will have to make your own housing arrangements. We strongly advise that you discuss with your housing advisor if you want to refuse your offer of temporary accommodation.

If you accept the temporary accommodation offered to you this will be under a licence arrangement. You may also be required to move between different temporary accommodation units. In some instances the offer of temporary accommodation may be located outside of Warrington Borough Council. This is due to the demand on temporary accommodation.

Reporting homelessness and rough sleeping

We provide services for people who are sleeping rough in Warrington.

If you believe that someone is sleeping rough, please contact us so help can be provided.

Let us know about someone sleeping rough

You can also report someone sleeping rough to StreetLink at any time and they will pass on the information to us or all 0300 500 0914

Conflict or harassment at home

If you are experiencing issues at home, the Homelessness and Housing Advice Service offer a number of specialist services and advice.

Sanctuary scheme

If you have experienced domestic abuse and still living in the home, you may feel vulnerable and unsafe even after the offender has moved out of the property. The sanctuary scheme provides security, safety and support measures, such as upgrading door and window locks and improving security lighting around the property.  

Domestic abuse

If you're suffering from domestic abuse, there are a number of local and national domestic abuse support services that can offer advice and assistance. The Homelessness and Housing Advice Service can offer advice on housing options available and can make arrangements for temporary accommodation to be provided in some cases.

Harassment and illegal eviction

If you are a private tenant and are illegally evicted, then the council may be able to assist with finding you alternative accommodation. We may be able to negotiate with the landlord on your behalf or support a prosecution against your landlord, if there is sufficient evidence.

If you have any issues with your landlord, Shelter provide useful information about what constitutes harassment by a landlord and how to deal with it.

Get in touch

The Gateway
89 Sankey Street
WA1 1SR.

Email at or call 01925 246868.

If you have an emergency out-of-hours, call 01925 444400.

Housing support for 16 and 17 year olds

If you are 16 or 17 years old, currently with nowhere to stay and in need of some help to look at the available options, you should contact the MASH team on 01925 443322

Who are MASH?

MASH are a team of social care professionals who will be able to give you some advice and let you know what support is available. 

There are certain processes we need to follow to make sure you are getting the right support, this could include talking to your family and friends before making any big decisions about where you are going to live.

We are interested in hearing about your story and understanding whether you need additional support outside of your family and friends. In order to do this we will need to complete some assessments to get to know you better. 

One of these assessments will be completed with the housing team and another will be completed by a social worker.

All through this process you will be supported by your own Families First Worker.

Your options

One of the first things you will be asked is whether you have anywhere to stay tonight. If you don’t, we are responsible by law to ensure you have a safe place to sleep.

If you do have somewhere to stay tonight, but you are worried about where you are living or that it might not be for the long-term, we can still offer you support. 

You will be given the option to come into local authority care - this could mean you go to live with a foster family or in a residential home with other young people in care.

Your social worker will explain more about this to you when they meet you and answer any of your questions.

If you don’t wish to come into local authority care, we will still make sure you have somewhere to stay.

This might mean you stay for a short time in our direct access beds at Verve Place (Young people’s housing scheme in Warrington) and receive support from your Families First Worker.

This will be until we are all happy that you have somewhere to live in the longer term -for many young people, this has meant going to live with family or friends, whilst others have secured their own flat at Verve Place with continued support.

You need to know that:

  • Your social worker or families first worker will make sure you have all the information you need and that your views are recorded and considered. You can also choose to have an independent advocate.
  • Your family will be included in your assessments and plan if it is safe to do so.
  • Some accommodation isn't free, but you will be supported to understand about benefits and budgeting.

What does being in care mean?

‘Being in care’ (sometimes called ‘looked after’) means that children’s social care are responsible for making sure you have somewhere safe to live. 

Being in care can include living with foster families, in a residential homes or sometimes with an adult you may already know. Every young person who is in care will have their own social worker, they will get to know you and listen to your wishes and feelings. 

You will also be invited to regular meetings with professionals to discuss your care and future plans.

Children's services MASH team

  • 01925 443322
  • 01925 444400 (out of hours)

NYAS (young people's independent advocacy service)

Shelter helpline

Duty to refer for professionals and agencies

Buying or renting a home

Affordable Housing

We work with housebuilders and registered providers in order to ensure, as much as possible, that residents have access to high quality of housing at a price they can afford.

We apply policies to new housing developments that require a certain number of the houses or apartments to be provided as ‘affordable homes’. These affordable homes are generally provided in an equal mix of rented properties, which are let via registered providers and housing associations, and affordable ownership properties such as shared ownership. These are again normally provided via registered providers, or discounted sales, which may be sold directly by the housebuilder.  

We do not hold any affordable housing stock. All affordable housing, other than some very specialised supported living units, is owned and maintained by registered providers.

The main registered providers operating in the borough include:

Discounted for sale/discount to market housing and ‘first homes’

What is a discounted for sale home?

Most major residential schemes are required to provide a certain number of properties for sale to eligible people and families at a discounted price.

The level of discount may vary between sites and locations, but typically it will be between 20% and 30% of the value of the properties when sold on the open market. If a ‘first home’, the discount could be far greater. This means, for instance, that a house normally worth £200,000 on the open market would be available for sale to eligible people at a price of £160,000, if discounted by 20%.

Please be aware that if you purchase a discounted property, when you come to sell it, you must sell it to another eligible person or family at the same discounted level. This is because the discounted rate is applied for the lifetime of the property in order to ensure it remains permanently affordable. The requirement for this will be written into the title or lease of your property.

Normally, we will be responsible for agreeing the discounted price with you or your estate agent, and making sure that the new owner meets the eligibility criteria. You should be aware that, although we try and be as efficient as possible, these checks can sometimes slow down the sales process. The legal responsibility is for you to contact us before you put your home on the market so that we can advise you of your requirements at that stage.

If you purchase a discounted for sale home, then you will own and be wholly responsible for the property. You will not have to pay any rent. You may, however, have to pay service charges for the upkeep of the estate (such as green spaces or play areas, or if you have purchased an apartment, the common areas of the apartment block such as the foyer and corridors), and you will need to check this with your solicitor before purchasing.

Who is eligible?

The eligibility criteria for discounted homes will vary from site to site and you will need to check with us or your solicitor about the details of the property you are interested in.

Normally, the requirements will be set out in the planning agreement (the ‘section 106 agreement’) at the time permission was granted for the housing development. Some older planning agreements have very few restrictions on who can occupy the affordable homes, whereas others, especially those brought forward with government funding, may have strict eligibility criteria.

As a general rule, we would normally require that purchasers of discounted for sale homes are first-time buyers aged between 23 and 40, or otherwise that they live or work locally and cannot afford to purchase a similar property on the open market. If the latter, you will be required to send us a signed, letter headed statement from an FCA accredited finance advisor.

Your finance advisor will need to let us know that, based on your circumstances, you would not be able to afford the property you are applying for at the full open market value and could only afford it at the discounted price. You will also be required to provide confirmation of local connection. If you live in Warrington, we will need proof of your address such as a utility bill or council tax bill. Alternatively, if you work in Warrington, we will need evidence of this from your employer.

If the discounted home is provided under the 'first homes’ initiative, then the eligibility criteria that have been set by the government are that:

  • You should be a first-time buyer as defined in paragraph 6 of schedule 6ZA of the Finance Act 2003 for the purposes of Stamp Duty Relief for first-time buyers; and
  • You should have a combined annual household income not exceeding £80,000 in the tax year immediately preceding the year of purchase; and
  • You should have a mortgage or home purchase plan to fund a minimum of 50% of the discounted purchase price.

These national standard criteria also apply at all future sales of a first home.

How do I apply?

New discounted properties are normally sold to eligible applicants directly by the housebuilder. If you are interested in a new discounted property on a particular estate, you should contact the housebuilder’s sales team and tell them that you are interested in the discount for sale properties.

The sales team should take your details and your evidence of eligibility (see below) and pass them on to us for verification. If you are eligible, then we will issue a certificate to the housebuilder in order to let the purchase proceed.

Second-hand discounted homes are normally sold in the same way as open market homes using estate agents and web-based platforms. The vendor should stipulate the restrictions on the property, and make it known that it is only available at a discounted price to eligible households.

If you are interested in a second-hand discount for sale property, then the same verification process takes place, and you should ask your solicitor to forward your details to us. Your solicitor should advise you on any occupancy restrictions that have been placed on the property.

Shared ownership

What is shared ownership?

Shared ownership is a means of attaining a legal interest in a property that is tailored to your budget. You can now buy as little as a 10% share, or as much as a 75% share, of the property. You will pay rent on the remaining equity, which will normally be held by a registered provider.

When you can afford it, you can buy out the remaining interest of the registered provider and own the home in a process known as ‘staircasing’. This enables you to buy shares in the home of 5% or more as and when you are able. As your equity stake increases, the rent you pay to the registered provider will decrease.

We recommend strongly that you take detailed financial advice before committing to a shared ownership property, to ensure that you are confident you can afford the equity payments and the rent, along with other costs associated with the property, which may include service charges. You should also note that the price of the shares is linked directly to the changing value of the property. If your property has increased in value since you bought your initial shares, the cost of purchasing any additional shares will increase by the same percentage. 

If you own a share of your home, the landlord has the right to find a buyer for your home. The landlord also has the right to buy it first (known as ‘first option to buy’ or ‘pre-emption’). You can sell your share yourself if the landlord does not find a buyer and they do not want to buy it themselves. If you own 100% of your home, you can sell it yourself.

In the vast majority of cases it may be possible to staircase to 100% and own the property outright. On certain sites, however, staircasing may be restricted. You will need to check this with us or the registered provider.

Who is eligible?

Details on the eligibility criteria for buying shared ownership properties can be found at Applying for Help to Buy: Shared Ownership

Normally, you can buy a home through shared ownership if both of the following apply:

  • your household earns £80,000 a year or less
  • you cannot afford all of the deposit and mortgage payments for a home that meets your needs

In addition, one of the following must also be true:

  • you’re a first-time buyer
  • you used to own a home, but cannot afford to buy one now
  • you own a home and want to move but cannot afford a new home suitable for your needs
  • you’re forming a new household - for example, after a relationship breakdown
  • you’re an existing shared owner and want to move

How do I apply?

A schedule of available and upcoming properties is also maintained by the North West Help to Buy Agent.. The Help to Buy Agent is the agent appointed by the government to provide access to help to buy and shared ownership products in Warrington. They can also be reached on 0300 790 0570.

If you meet the criteria, you can contact the Help to Buy Agent and review the properties available in your area. Alternatively, you can contact registered providers directly in order to see what is available, or what may be becoming available in your area.

Affordable and social rent

What is affordable rent?

Affordable rented properties must be provided to eligible households at not more than 80% of the open market rent, inclusive of all service charges. They are normally delivered and maintained by registered providers, with which you would enter a tenancy agreement. Some affordable rent properties may be delivered directly by the housebuilder or developer if they form part of a larger ‘Build to Rent’ scheme. These are known as affordable private rent properties and, again, must be offered at not more than 80% of the open market rent, inclusive of all charges.

In practice, the vast majority of those affordable rent properties provided by registered providers are made available to tenants at rents that are covered by local housing allowances (‘housing benefit’). However, this is not always the case.

The stock of affordable rented properties is controlled by the ‘Under One Roof’ allocation system. This is explained in more detail below.

You may have the right to buy your rented property if you have been a tenant to a public sector landlord (such as a registered provider) for over three years. Further information on this can be found at Right to Buy: buying your council home - GOV.UK (

Who is eligible?

Anybody who is over 18 can apply to Under One Roof unless one or more of the following apply:

  • You earn more than £60,000 a year or own assets worth more than £24,000; or
  • You have been found guilty of unacceptable behaviour in the past; or
  • You owe money for housing related costs.

Once you have submitted the online form, we will check that the information you have given to us is correct and that you can provide evidence to support your situation. We will let you know what information you need to provide and when.

You will not be able to see which homes are available or choose the ones you are interested in. Instead we will match available homes with members who have the most housing need and have been registered for the longest amount of time. This will be based on the areas you have chosen and your family type. 

Although you can tell us which areas you would like to live in the most, Under One Roof cannot guarantee that homes will become available in those areas. The time taken to allocate housing to you will depend on a number of factors, such as the type and size of property that you need and the availability of those properties.

How do I apply?

You will need to register with ‘Under One Roof’ before you are allocated an affordable rented property. Eligible households can become a member of Under One Roof by registering and completing an online application though the Under One Roof website.

If you already live in a social housing property and want to move but don’t have an urgent housing need we may ask you to register with HomeSwapper instead. HomeSwapper is a national scheme which allows people living in a social home swap their home with another person. Registration is free for all existing social housing tenants.

Sheltered accommodation

We do not hold any housing stock. All accommodation, including sheltered accommodation, is allocated via Under One Roof (U1R)

You can also approach social landlords directly to see if they have any waiting lists. Torus and Your Housing Group don’t have lists as their properties are allocated through U1R.

Warrington Housing Association hold a separate list so you may wish to contact them directly to register your interest.

Property inspection

Immigration property inspections

We offer a service for Warrington residents to carry out house surveys in support of applications to UK Visas and Immigration for entry clearance into the UK. An independent assessment of the property is required as part of the application.

Visit our immigration inspection page to arrange an inspection

General information and services


If you're a Housingplus customer living in temporary accommodation, you can now pay rent and service charges by card, either over the phone or at reception. You can also pay via direct debit or via cash or cheque at reception at the Homelessness and Housing Advice Service reception in The Gateway.

Internet access and IT support

In addition to the self-service computers, we have a customer help desk with staff to help you access online applications, search for PRS property and set up email accounts etc.

This service is available on request (where possible) or you can make an appointment with one of the customer service staff.

13 May 2024