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Leaving home and family problems

You can leave home without your parents' permission when you are 16. 

Make sure you're ready. Living on your own is challenging. It can be hard to get a place of your own before you’re 18.

If you are homeless or have to leave your home

If you’re under 16 and cannot live at home, contact Childline about problems.

Your parents cannot legally tell you to leave home until your 16th birthday.

You can get free advice on your rights and options from the charity Centrepoint if you are 16-25 years old and homeless or about to lose your home.

Message them on web chat or contact them on 0808 800 0661.

Find out how to get advice from Centrepoint.

16 and 17 year olds

The council's social services team should help if you're homeless, for example you’re staying with different people short term because you have nowhere to go.

If you’re asked to leave because of money worries, your family could get financial help from a local hardship fund or welfare assistance scheme.

The council's housing team must give you emergency housing if you go to them first but they usually ask social services to look at your case.

Find out more about:

18 or over

If you’re 18 or over, contact the council's housing team to make a homelessness application.

You may not get emergency housing, but you should get a personal housing plan with advice on finding a home.

If things are bad at home

You might get support to sort out problems. Your council's social services could help you find a mediator. This is an independent person who helps you and your family work out problems.

Find out more about social services' help from Childline.

If your parents say you can stay

Your council may not help with longer term housing if your parents say you can stay at home and it is safe.

Social services could say this means you have a suitable place to live and do not need their help with housing. You could ask for help with mediation.

If you leave home when you could stay, you council's housing team may say you are intentionally homeless.

Money help if you have to leave

It can be difficult to get universal credit or housing benefit to help pay rent if you are under 18.

Use the entitledto benefits calculator to see what you could get.

If you need help with costs such as a tenancy deposit or rent in advance, look for a rent deposit, rent guarantee or bond scheme in your area.


Many private landlords only rent to young people if they have a guarantor, such as a parent. A guarantor is someone who must pay the rent if you do not.

Finding furniture

Ask your friends and family if they have spare furniture and household items. You could also try:

  • secondhand and charity shops

  • jumble sales

  • placing ads in shop windows

  • social media selling sites

  • websites such as Gumtree and Freecycle

You could also contact the council or your local Citizens Advice for details of any organisations that could help with furniture.

Last updated: 11 January 2023

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