Leaving home is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. The best time to leave home is when you:
- Feel ready to live independently
- Have help to find somewhere and set up a new home
- Know that you can look after yourself and manage your money
It’s not a good idea to rush into leaving home. Ideally, you should stay with your family until you can move out in a planned way.
Am I ready to leave home?
There is lots to think about:
- Where do I want to live?
- How to find somewhere?
- How much rent will I have to pay?
- What about other bills like heating and broadband?
- Are there any benefits available?
- Can I stay in education and claim benefits?
Finding somewhere to live
Young people often stay with friends or rent a room in a shared house. If you are under 18, you will not be able to hold a tenancy in your name unless you have a guarantor. A landlord may also ask for a guarantor if you have not held a tenancy before.
Shared accommodation, also known as a flat share, house share or room share, is a living arrangement where each individual typically has their own private bedroom and shares common spaces such as the kitchen, bathroom, and living room.
You can make plans to share a property with friends, or you can live in a house with people you don’t yet know- it all depends on your circumstances. Some properties are advertised as a house share, while others require renters getting together beforehand to rent a home together.
Once you’ve found a property, it all goes ahead the same as a typical rental deal.
Home sharing is the most common type of house or flatshare: it’s an easy and cost-effective way to live. If you decide to rent out a property with friends, it will be a joint tenancy. This means that all tenants are jointly liable under the contract. So, if one tenant moves out, your landlord could demand that the remaining tenants make up the difference in rent. However, in the majority of cases, the landlord will find another tenant and a new tenancy agreement will begin.
If you decide to rent a room in a shared house, each tenant has a separate agreement with the landlord. There are obvious advantages to this as you only need to worry about yourself. The downfall is that you don’t know who you’re going to be living in with, and you may not get along.
The 7 Habits of Highly Happy Roommates! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNI1fWTlGwY
Housing association homes
Housing associations offer similar types of housing as local councils – often to people on a low income or who need extra support.
You can apply:
- directly to a housing association
- often through your local council
You can apply to more than one housing association at a time.
Waiting list- Once you apply, you’ll be put on a waiting list. Housing associations normally offer housing to people most suited to that particular property. You may have to wait a long time for a suitable property to become available.
You’ll need to consider several things when you’re looking for a home to rent. For example, whether to rent from a landlord or letting agent and the best way to search for a property.
Whether it’s better for you to rent from a landlord or letting agent will depend on your budget and needs. Each option has pros and cons.
If you rent directly from a landlord:
- you might have less to pay before moving in
- you might not have to give so many references
- your landlord might not insist on doing a credit check
If you rent from a letting agent, you can:
- tell the letting agent if repairs need doing (if they manage the property) – they’ll speak to the landlord and arrange the repairs for you
- complain to an independent complaints body if you’re not happy with their service
You also need to think about what questions to ask your landlord or letting agent so you don’t lose money.
Many landlords ask for a damages deposit and rent in advance.
If you are single there may be limits as to how much you can claim through housing benefit or Universal Credit; this is called the shared room rate and how much you can claim depends upon your situation.
You apply for council housing through your local council. Each council has its own rules. You’ll usually have to join a waiting list and you’re not guaranteed to get a property. Ask your council how long you’re likely to have to wait. You can apply if you’re 18 or over (some councils let you apply if you’re 16 or over). You may be able to apply even if you do not live in the area.
Councils decide who gets offered housing based on a ‘points’ or ‘banding’ system. Points and bands are based on housing need. For example, you’re likely to be offered housing first if you:
- are homeless
- live in cramped conditions
- have a medical condition made worse by your current home
Once you’re high enough on the list, your council will contact you about an available property.
Ready to buy my own home
Before you start looking for a new home, you should have an idea of how much you can afford to spend on a property. Most buyers will require a mortgage in order to purchase a home.
You can typically borrow a multiple of your household income and this amount will be influenced by your credit score. Adding this sum to your deposit will give you an indication of your budget.
The larger your deposit, the more favourable the mortgage deals you are likely to be able to access.
Government has a range of schemes to help people buy a home. These include:
- Help to Buy: Equity Loan
- Help to Buy: ISA
- Lifetime ISA
Shared Ownership may be able to help you buy when you aren’t able to afford a property on the open market in a specific location.
Help and advice
Centrepoint advises young people, 16 to 25 years. They can also help if you are worried about a young person you know.
Call free on 0808 800 0661 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Citizens Advice advises on housing, claiming benefits and day to day problems. Call their free advice line on 0800 144 8848.
Coram Voice advocates for and supports children and young people in care, leaving care, with a social worker or needing one. Call 0808 800 5792.Shelter has lots of information on its website for young people about housing. https://england.shelter.org.uk/