Before you move out, make sure you think about all the things you will have to pay for. Make a budget, work out if you can get any financial help and make sure you can afford all the expenses. Independent living could be more expensive than you think.
Help with rent and household expenses
If you’re on a low income make sure you find out if you’re eligible for housing benefit, which could help you pay your rent. There are special rules about claiming housing benefit if you plan on renting from a family member or if you are a student so make sure you check whether these apply to you.
A single-room rate for most young people living in private rented property and claiming housing benefit applies until you reach the age of 35. This means you are only entitled to housing benefit for renting a single room in a shared house, even if you live in self-contained accommodation. There are exceptions for young people with disabilities and care leavers.
There might be some essential things you need to buy for you new home. Use our Leaving home checklist to help you think about everything you might need. You may be able to get some help for household essentials by claiming a budgeting loan, or, if it’s an emergency, you may be able to get help from the Discretionary Assistance Fund.
Help with tenancy deposits and rent in advance
If you want to rent from a private landlord you’ll probably need to plan how to pay for a deposit (which should be protected in a government-backed scheme). If you don’t have money for a deposit there may be a bond or rent guarantee scheme in your area that can help you, or you may be able to claim a discretionary housing payment from your local council. Click here for more details.
Many landlords will also want the first month’s rent paid in advance. If you are on a low income you might be able to claim a budgeting loan or advance from the DWP to help you pay this. Click here for more details.
Leaving care or disabled?
If you’re leaving care or have a disability, you may be eligible for help from the Discretionary Assistance Fund to help you get settled. Some care leavers can get housing benefit, but you’ll probably be financially dependent on social services until you turn 18. See our pages on care leavers for more information.
Take a look at our useful links for details of organisations that might be able to help you.
Rent arrears and other debt
If you are struggling with rent arrears or other debts, act quickly so you don’t find yourself at risk of eviction. If you fall behind with your rent, your landlord could take steps to evict you and can ask for a court order to make you pay back what you owe.
If you do get into arrears, the sooner you take action the better. You may be able to negotiate a payment plan with your landlord so you can pay off the arrears gradually.