Moving out: a step-by-step guide

If you want or have to move home, and find somewhere else to live

moving out

If you can avoid moving out, you probably should – young people who stay at home do better at school and college, are able to save up before setting up their own home and are better at negotiating and getting along with housemates.

But if it can't be avoided, and you really have to go, then do it properly. Plan first, and get the best advice.

Here's how to move out, step by step:

Step 1: get advice

Talk to your parents or another adult you trust. Get advice from people close to your age that have a place of their own. Visit the experts at a housing advice centre.

If you are leaving care, social and health care must give you advice about finding a place to live. They can also provide information and support if you are disabled and want to live independently.

Visit websites like Shelter and the Citizen's Advice Bureau's Adviceguide for information on housing rights and looking for somewhere to live.

Find out more: In care, Time to move out?

Step 2: Do your research

Look around at what's available locally. Check rentals online, in letting agents and on local information sheets. This will give you an idea about what the local market rent is and whether you can afford it.

You can also find out:

  • which areas and agencies are the cheapest
  • whether and where there are shared houses available locally
  • what other options there might be, e.g. bedsits, live-in jobs.

Find out more: Housing Rights

Step 3: do your sums

Make two lists: one for all your income and one for all your costs.

Example: Ozzie is 17 years old and single. She works part time at the local newsagents earning the minimum wage of £3.64 per hour and takes home about £130.00 per week. She is looking to get a furnished single room in a shared house in Headington. To move in she’ll need £330 for a month’s deposit and two weeks’ rent in advance. Will she have enough to make it?






Bus pass
Cleaning materials












Housing benefit








Only £3.96 left over!




The list will help you determine how much rent you can afford to pay or what you’ll need to do without.

Find out more: Spending less, budgeting, job-seeking

Step 4: check out your options

If you've got the money, it's time to start looking for a place. There are different options:

  • Bed & breakfast: For emergencies only, as prices start at £30 a night.
  • Bedsits: Can be self-contained with mini-kitchens and bathrooms off one or two rooms.
  • Flat/house shares: Usually a single bedroom with a shared kitchen and bathroom, maybe lounge.
  • Lodgings: Room in a family home, sometimes with meals.
  • Flat: Housing Benefit will not usually pay all of the rent if you are under 25 and living on your own. Many landlords won’t accept Housing Benefit.

There are some support schemes to help young people find somewhere to live. But many of these are not open to young people aged 16-17, and most will limit your choices of where you can live.

If you can wait until you have a steady income, and have saved some money for a deposit and other household expenses, you will have more places to chose from.

Related topics: Housing Rights, Benefits

Step 5: finding a place

Get personal recommendation from friends who are renting or ask friends and relatives if they know of anywhere to rent. You can also find listings of available accommodation in:

  • housing advice agencies
  • letting agents
  • Citizens Advice Bureaux
  • local and free newspapers
  • shop windows
  • university lists – they also have housing officers

Accommodation usually goes fast so act quickly. Call first to determine:

  • when the room will be available
  • if Housing Benefit is accepted
  • what you must pay upfront
  • whether it’s furnished or unfurnished
  • whether the rent includes bills, food, other charges
  • if there are any other restrictions, e.g. no pets.

If you like what you hear, make an appointment to view the place. Take:

  • your references
  • a friend (for safety and a second opinion)
  • a Pre-tenancy Determination Form if you are claiming Housing Benefit
  • money for the deposit or a Deposit Guarantee Bond.

Step 6: sealing the deal

Signing your first tenancy agreement is an exciting moment. But remember to proceed with caution:

  • Never pay out any money before you see a place.
  • Get a receipt for the deposit and advance rent.
  • Don't proceed if you have doubts about your landlord.

Note: If you are under 18 or in full-time education, landlords may want someone over 18, such as a relative or social worker, to guarantee that rent is paid.

Related topics: Housing Rights

Rate this page: 
Average: 3.9 (8 votes)


what's the earliest possible for me to move out

Dear Alex, your parents by law must provide you with a home up to age sixteen. According to advice from Shelter, your parents' home is the safest place for you at that age, unless you are in danger. Many young people choose to stay at home until they are 18, or even longer, because it provides cheap or free accomodation and leaves them free to concentrate on studying and saving up money. If you are having problems staying at home then the important thing is to talk to your parents. If you are having problems talking with them, then try an adult you trust or a helpline. Don't make any hasty decisions, and contact Shelter's free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444 for advice on your rights. You can also find more information online at

I am 16 and I'm worried I might be pregnant. My parents don't know and they could kick me out if I am. I want to have a dr. appointment before I say anything, but I have no idea how to get a appointment without anyone finding out! what do I do?

Sorry Laura, I had to edit your comment a bit because it might have been possible to identify you from it! But I'll answer all of your questions. You can make an appointment at your regular Doctor (GP) without telling your parents. Your Doctor will not tell your parents you have made an appointment, or what happens at the appointment because of patient confidentiality. Just phone and make an appointment. If you're still at school you can also go and talk to your school nurse, which will also be confidential. Whoever you talk to will encourage you to talk to your parents/carers, and I will do the same thing. They are your most important supporters in this situation, and are in the best position to give you the support you need - whatever happens next.

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Find an activity

by keyword:

by location:
We are here to chat to you 10am-4pm Mon-Fri. At all other times click to leave us a message .More about chat.