Can You Move Out At 16?

What you need to know about whether or not you can move out at 16 and what it may mean if you do.

Let’s take a look at the law around living alone and the different reasons why you may want to leave home and find yourself asking “Can I move out at 16?” It may be a small question but the issues around it can be very big!

What Age Can You Legally Move Out?

  • Under 16

Parents are legally responsible for children in their care until they are 18 years old. This means providing them somewhere safe to live.

  • 16 and over

You can move out if you’re 16 or over, however, your parents will still be responsible for your wellbeing until you turn 18.

Why Do You Want To Leave Home at 16?

  • “We argue constantly”

Sometimes, family arguments become overwhelming and stressful. You might not be seeing eye-to-eye with a parent or sibling and feel as if the only solution is for you to move out.

Try talking to your family about how you feel. Choose the right time to talk – wait until everyone is calm before starting a conversation. Together, you may be able to reach a compromise.

  • My parents have asked me to leave home at 16”

Your parent/s have asked you to move out. This may be because they feel unable to support you financially or because of arguments in the house.

If it’s a financial issue and you’re able to contribute to the household bills, see if you can work out an agreement that works for both of you. Family tensions can be difficult to deal with but there is support out there. Contact your local Citizens Advice to see if mediation can help you and your parents to resolve the situation. You can find more information here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

 If your parents are asking you to move out and you don’t feel able to support yourself, you can call Childline on 0800 11 11 or talk to Children’s Services at your local council to get help. You can find your local council here: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council

  • “I want to move in with a friend/partner”

Many young adults want to move out to be more independent and to live with a friend or partner. Sometimes it may feel like you want to find a partner to move out with but this can often be the wrong way to do things. While this next chapter in your life is exciting, it’s important to consider the realities of moving out. These include:

  • Moving out and being financially independent is expensive. Take time to look at your income and your outgoings. Will you have enough money to cover expenses such as rent, electric, gas, council tax and food? Will you have enough to cover your haircuts, buying new clothes or anything else you might need?
  • Will you need a guarantor to rent? People under 18 in England, Northern Ireland and Wales all need to have a guarantor in place. A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay the rent, should you not be able to. In Scotland, the rules are slightly different – you can find more information here.

Being Made Homeless at 16

You will be considered homeless if you are under 18 and have had to leave home because you either felt unsafe or your parents forced you to leave. If you are in this situation, please know that there is support out there. You are entitled to help and shelter no matter who you are or where you’re from.

Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, can help you, no matter where you are in the UK. Click here for more information. https://www.shelter.org.uk/

So…Can you move out at 16? Yes, you can but it isn’t a simple thing to do. You need to be aware of all the above facts and issues and be very careful about making a decision.


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