Legal to move out?
I'm 16 years-old and I hate living with my parents because we have so many arguments. I have a full time job and I've seen an advert to rent a room in someone's house - is it legal to just up and go?
If you aren't getting on with your parents, you may be able to get help to sort out the problems at home, such as mediation and counselling. If nothing can be done, you'll need to think carefully about what housing is available and what you can afford.
If the situation is bad and you need to leave home in a hurry, you may be able to apply as homeless to your local council. This would be the case if you were not safe at home due to violence or abuse. You should seek the help of an adviser if you're in this situation.
Once you are 18, the law says you can leave home without your parents' or guardians' permission. If you are 16 or 17 and you want to leave home, you need your parents' official consent. However, if you leave home without it, you're unlikely to be made to go back home unless you are in danger. Even if you do have permission to leave home, it's not usually a good idea to go. If you're feeling desperate, try to get advice before you pack your bags.
You won't be legally entitled to a tenancy until you turn 18, so you're likely to have problems finding a place to live. It may be possible to get someone to hold the tenancy on trust for you until you turn 18. This can be the landlord or another adult, such as a social worker if you have one. If you're under 18, a landlord may require a guarantor, who would be liable for the rent if you failed to pay it.
To find somewhere to rent privately, you can try estate agents/lettings agencies or advertisements in local newspapers. If you use an agency, they will usually charge fees for things such as references and administration charges. You will need money up-front to pay for rent in advance (usually one month) and a deposit (at least the equivalent to one month's rent).
Council housing, housing associations and housing co-ops can be cheaper, but in many areas you have to wait a long time to get a place. If you'd like to live somewhere where you can get help and advice, you could try foyers for young people or supported housing.
When you find somewhere to rent, you may be able to claim housing benefit to help pay the rent. Housing benefit for people under 25 will usually be restricted to the average amount for a single room in a shared house in your area. There are exceptions: for example, if you have a child or live with your partner. Other restrictions could be made, for example if the rent is considered too expensive. If this is the case, you will have to make up the difference yourself.
If you are studying on a non-advanced course for example, for GCSEs or A-levels, then you can claim housing benefit until your 19th birthday. Your rights to other benefits would depend upon your personal situation. Your local Connexions service may offer you advice about your choices and benefits. To talk through your options you could try to find a local advice agency or you could call Shelter's free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444.
Question answered by Shelter