Young people and housing
This information applies to Scotland
If you are under 18 you do not have to pay council tax.
For more information, see Council tax.
In most circumstances, you can leave home without the consent of your parents once you are 16.
If you are in conflict with your parent(s) you may be forced to leave home. Mediation may help you to resolve the conflict.
If you are over 16 your parents only have a responsibility to provide guidance and this may not include the provision of accommodation. Unless you are either a joint owner or tenant in the property you will not have any right to stay. If your parents are married either can ask you to leave. However, if they are not married and only one parent is the owner or tenant, it is only the owner or tenant who can force you to leave. If you are under 16, or you are over 16 and you have previously been in care, and you are forced to leave by your parents, the local authority is likely to get involved and must provide care and accommodation for you.
If you are 16 or over you can apply to the local authority for a home of your own. Local authority landlords and social landlords must admit applicants over 16 to their housing lists. However, the right to be admitted onto a waiting list is not the same as the right to be allocated a house.
If you move into rented accommodation you might be able to get help to pay your rent if you’re on a low income or you claim benefits. You may be eligible for the housing element of Universal Credit, or in certain circumstances you may be eligible for Housing Benefit. If you're under 18 you'll only get Universal Credit if you meet certain circumstances, for example you have a child.
You can be a home owner in your own right at any age. When you are under 16 you would probably have to instruct someone over 16 to enter into the legal transactions to purchase on your behalf unless you could prove that it was reasonable for you to do it yourself. You can buy and sell property from the age of 16 without parental consent however special provisions apply to any transactions made between the ages of 16 and 18. You can apply to court to set aside any transactions made during these two years. You have the right to make such an application until you are 21. In order to have the transaction set aside you would have to prove to the court that, in retrospect, your decision to enter into the transaction had been unwise. This is quite a complicated area of law so if you want to make an application to have your transaction set aside you should consult a solicitor
For information on consulting a solicitor, see Using a solicitor
If you are 16 or over and you leave home voluntarily you may be able to get accommodation from the local authority as a homeless person if certain conditions are met. If you are forced to leave your family home there is a greater chance that you will meet those conditions and be given emergency accommodation.
These rules also apply if you are a young asylum seeker. If you don't understand English, the local authority must provide you with help and information in your own language. If you are given accommodation in a children's home your religious needs must be taken account of, for example, if you are a Muslim you should be offered Halal food.
For more information on homelessness, see If you're homeless or at risk of homelessness.
It's illegal for someone who is providing you with accommodation or other housing services, for example housing advice, to discriminate against you because of your disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity rights, race, sex, sexuality or religion.
For more information about discrimination, see Discrimination in housing.
Foyers provide temporary hostel accommodation for young people, mostly aged 16-25, who are homeless or in housing need.
Foyer residents are also offered guidance, support, access to learning and help with finding work.
To find details of your nearest Foyer, contact:
The Foyer Federation
5-9 Hatton Wall
Tel: 020 7430 2212
Mediation can help families talk about difficult issues, and may be able to prevent homelessness. Everyone has the chance to have their say, be listened to and treated as equals. A mediator is impartial and will help everyone to come to an agreement about what they want to happen in the future.
Scottish Mediation provides information about the range of mediation services in Scotland and can give details of what schemes exist in local areas. To find details of your nearest mediator, contact:
Shelter Scotland can provide information about your housing rights and help if you are homeless. For free housing advice call Shelter on 0808 800 4444 or visit their website at scotland.shelter.org.uk.
Who Cares? Scotland
Who Cares? Scotland can provide information and support for children and young people who are, or have been looked after.
Young Scot offers free and confidential advice online, by e-mail and phone or text “callback” with a time you can be contacted to 07781 484317.
You can find more information about the rights of children and young people on this website:
For information about the general rights of children and young people, see Young people's rights.
For information about employment, see Your rights at work if you're under 18.
For information about family matters, see Young people and family.
For information about health and personal issues, see Young people - health and personal.
For information about the law and young people, see Young people and the law.
For information about concessionary travel, see Concessionary fares for younger people.