Housing advice for young people
Information on preparing to leave home
Leaving home is a normal thing to do at some stage in your life, but it doesn't mean that it's an easy option. Unless you are in danger at home, or have been told you have to leave right away, take your time and think about it as living by yourself is a huge step.
The following websites can all offer help and advice on leaving your home:
- Shelter Scotland – help and advice if you need to leave home in a hurry
- Citizens Advice Scotland - young people and housing
- Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People – advice on leaving care (PDF)
- Shelter Scotland – advice on leaving home if you are disabled
- Shelter Scotland - Leaving home if you are LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender)
Housing rights for under 16s
If you're under 16, an adult needs to take responsibility for you. So you can't make the decision to leave home yourself.
If you are having serious problems at home, the council can:
- help you work out if there's any way that you can stay at home.
- arrange for you to live with another family member or adult, like a friend's parent.
- look into local authority care or living with a foster family.
- find you emergency accommodation if you are worried about violence or abuse at home.
- try to work out if there's any way that you can return home. If living at home is too dangerous or impossible, they will look at other options including local authority care or living with a foster family.
Housing rights if you're 16 or 17
When you are 16 and 17, the housing team can help find you somewhere to live.
If any of the following apply to you though you will need to talk to social services (details below):
- if you have lived abroad and are not a British citizen.
- if you have spent at least 13 weeks in care since the age of 14.
- if you are classed as a 'child in need'.
Social services will check your situation to see if there's any way you can return home, or go and live with another relative.
Housing rights if you're 18 or over
Once you're aged 18, you need to apply to the council as being homeless, to find out whether you qualify for housing. To do this get in touch with the homelessness team on the details below.
When you send in your application, the team will assess whether:
- you need emergency accommodation while your application is being looked at
- it's reasonable for you to stay in your current place
- your current accommodation suits your needs
If your homelessness application is unsuccessful, the council can still help you find somewhere to live, and let you know of benefits or financial help you may be entitled to.
When leaving home, many things need to be considered - such as money and looking after a house.
The Guide for young people preparing for a new tenancy (PDF) provides advice on these issues and more.
If you’re not safe at home
If you are in danger of violence or abuse in your home, it may be essential that you get out immediately. It is possible to arrange somewhere safe to stay at short notice, and there are people who can help you plan how to leave and where to go as safely as possible.
For more information on this see Youth homelessness.