Leaving home in a hurry
This content applies to Scotland only.
Housing laws vary between Scotland and England. Get advice relating to England
Been kicked out?
If you're over 16 and your parents or carers want you out of the house, you'll probably have to go. If this happens, try to arrange a place to go before you leave, and make sure you take a few essential items with you.
You may feel that running away is the only solution to your problems. Perhaps you feel unhappy or unsafe at home. Perhaps you're having problems outside the home, for example with drugs or bullying. If you're in this situation, read this to find out how to prepare.
Should I stay or should I go?
Running away may not be the answer - there are lots of organisations you can contact who will listen to you and help you work things out. Getting help while you're still at home is usually a better option than running away. Read our page on family matters to find out more on getting along with the people you live with.
Getting help from the council's housing department
If you've been kicked out or have run away and have nowhere to stay, your first stop should be the council's housing department, where you should ask to make a homeless application. You don't have to be sleeping on the streets to do this - you can be staying with friends or relatives, or living in a hostel, refuge or B&B. You can even apply if you're still living at home, but need to move out because of serious family problems.
What can the council do?
The council should offer you somewhere to stay while they look into your situation. They may also put you in touch with a mediator - an impartial 'referee' who can help you talk things through with your parents and maybe even return home, if that's what you want. If you're under 18, have been in care in the past, or are disabled, you may be entitled to some help from social work.
What if the council won't help?
If the council refuses to help you, don't be put off. Call Shelter's free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444 or visit a local advice centre to find out exactly what you're entitled to.
Need somewhere to stay tonight?
If you've nowhere to stay, don't panic. Check out your emergency accommodation options here and call Shelter's free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444. Shelter doesn't provide accommodation, but an adviser may be able to sort you out a place in a hostel or refuge near you.