Leaving home if you are under 18

Finding housing when you are under 18 years old is not easy.

You cannot legally hold a tenancy until you are 18 years old and the amount of Housing Benefit you may get towards your rent will be restricted to the cost of a single room (normally around £54 per week). This means that you will need to look for a room in a shared house and many private landlords are reluctant to accept young people.

Getting council accommodation

You can apply to go on the housing register if you are over 16 years old and have left school.

Acceptance on the housing register does not guarantee you would be housed immediately and it is unlikely you will be given a council flat.

Instead it may be more suitable for us to refer you to a supported accommodation scheme. Living by yourself for the first time can be a bit hard if you’re having to cook, clean, do shopping, pay your bills and handle difficult neighbours and supported accommodation will give you the skills to deal with these things.

Staying at home

It is often the best option to stay at home while you plan your move.

If you are having problems at home contact us as soon as possible so we can advise you or arrange a mediator if that would help.

A mediator is a sort of neutral referee who can help you and your parents sort out your problems. They don’t take sides, decide ‘who is right’, or tell you what to do. Instead, they’ll help you work things out for yourselves. Most family difficulties and disagreements can be sorted out, without the need for you to leave home.

If you cannot stay at home

Sometimes you just can't stay at home, or you may have been kicked out or not feel safe.

If you find yourself homeless or threatened with being made homeless, you should apply for temporary accommodation while your housing application is being looked at.

If your application is accepted, you will be offered more permanent accommodation, this is likely to be supported accommodation until you are 18 because you are not old enough to hold your own tenancy.

What is a ‘child in need’?

You will be considered to be a child in need if you need help to manage the things that affect your health and development, such as:

  • You don’t have money for food
  • You don’t have anywhere to live
  • You are having problems that affect your health or education
  • You are living with a violent person

Where should I go for help?

You might get help from ourselves or from the council. Contact us to find out if you are entitled to help and what you need to do next.


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