Family problems and leaving home

Leaving home is a big step, but moving out is easier if you make some preparations before you go.

Don't rush out the door 

Don't feel you have to move before you're ready.

But if you don't feel safe at home or if your parents tell you to leave, get advice on what to do next.

Use Shelter's directory to find a local adviser.

Think about the practicalities of leaving home and getting your own place (rent, bills, doing your own washing and cleaning and so on) as well as all the good things. If you know anyone who has recently left home, talk to them about their experiences.

Talk to your family about wanting to leave home

Explain your reasons to your family for wanting to leave home. They may be able to help you find a new home or help you to organise all the things you need to live on your own. They may even be able to help you with a tenancy deposit.

Visit your council's housing options centre to discuss your options.

Find your local council's contact details using the council finder.

Sort out finances and a budget before you leave

Try to work out what kind of accommodation you can realistically afford. There are lots of things you need to buy or spend money on when you leave home, like gas, electricity, water, and food bills as well as your rent.

Try the Money Advice Service budget calculator for help working out your budget.

If you are moving to rented accommodation, you probably need to pay a tenancy deposit and a month's rent in advance. You probably need to buy furniture or other household goods for your home.

You may be able to apply for a budgeting loan to help spread the cost of leaving home.

Ask to be referred to a furniture project if you claim benefits or have a low income. This can help you with furniture for your new home.

You may also be entitled to financial help called housing benefit to help pay for a place to live, although there are restrictions on how much money you are entitled to.

Try to find somewhere to live before you leave home

Try to find new accommodation to move into before you leave home. You may think you can sleep on a friend's sofa until you get sorted, but finding suitable accommodation could take longer than you think and it's not a great feeling to think that you're getting in people's way.

Think about what sort of place you want and who you want to live with. This could be friends, people you haven't met before, or your partner.

What you'll need for your new home

Depending on the kind of place you are moving into, you may need a lot of things for your home, such as a tv, bedding, a kettle and other household items. Ask your friends and family if they have any of these things to spare.

You can also try:

  • second–hand shops
  • charity shops
  • furniture projects
  • car boot sales
  • jumble sales
  • adverts in the local paper
  • adverts in supermarkets and newsagents

You may find some bargains and it's likely to be much cheaper than buying everything new.

Don't forget to make a detailed inventory of everything in your new home. This makes it easier to avoid problems getting back your deposit when you leave.

Can parents kick a 16 year old out of their home?

Once you are 16 years old, if your parents ask you to leave, you probably have to go.

If you're under the age of 16, your parents have a legal responsibility to look after you and make sure you have somewhere safe to stay otherwise you can get help from social services. However, if you are not getting on with them, they may make you leave anyway.

Get advice immediately if you find yourself in this situation .

Call Shelter's free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444 for advice on where to stay.

Use our directory to find a local adviser.


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