Staying with friends, renting or buying – leaving home is a big change in your life which can be exciting, fun and daunting all at the same time with a mass of responsibilities to match. Make sure you know what you're letting yourself in for before you decide to make the leap.
There's a lot to consider: bills, benefits, tenancy agreements, mortgage types, council tax, house sharing, deposits, legal rights, landlords and so on.
You can talk about your options with a No Limits youth homelessness worker or youth advice worker, to use the phone and newspapers to find private rented accommodation, and for support if you have run away. You can find out what sort of accommodation you can get and what money you could have to pay for it, work through a budget to see if you can afford it, attend an Access to Tenancy training course to make sure you know all you need to know about living independently.
Check out the national websites at the bottom of this page for lots of information on your housing options. To search for housing organisations, try the Housingnet site.
Don't forget to check out the local newspapers and letting agencies for rooms and properties to rent, or read the notice boards at colleges, universities and post offices for local rental opportunities. Take a walk around the area where you're looking to rent and look for TO LET boards. Act fast and persevere, as good accommodation goes very quickly. Always take someone with you when viewing, both for safety and a second opinion.
You will usually be asked to pay a deposit on your rental property as security against things like rent arrears, damage or removal of furniture. Some local authorities, housing associations and charities offer loans to help you pay your deposit – these are known as Rent Deposit Guarantee Schemes. Contact the local council's housing department for details about possible schemes operating in your area.
You can also find out about the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme.