Long term housing options for young people

There are many different kinds of accommodation available for young people, and it's important that you find the right kind for you. In this section you'll find out more about the long term housing options open to you: renting from a private landlord or from the council or a housing association, or buying your own place.

Renting from a private landlord

Many young people live in privately rented accommodation. Rented accommodation can be:

  • a self-contained flat or bedsit

  • a room in someone else's house or flat

  • a shared house or flat with other tenants.

How easy is it to get private rented accommodation?

Some private landlords are reluctant to let to young people, especially those aged 16 or 17, because of concerns that you may not be able to pay the rent, that you won't look after the place properly or will be a noisy or antisocial tenant. You may also find it hard to find a landlord who'll accept you as a tenant if you are on a low income and claiming benefits.

What are the advantages of renting privately?

Private rented accommodation is fairly easy to access, and you can usually move in quite quickly. Although you may have heard stories about nightmare landlords ripping off their tenants or throwing them out into the street over night, there are laws in place to protect you. First up, check that your landlord is registered with the council, and make sure you know your rights, so your landlord can't take advantage of you.

The following sections have more information on:

Social housing

Social housing means housing that is available from councils, housing associations and housing cooperatives.

If you are aged 16 or over, you can apply for social housing.

How easy is it to get social housing?

When you put your name down on the waiting list, you will be awarded points, depending on your situation. The more points you have, the higher up the list you will be. For example, you may get extra points if:

  • your current home is overcrowded

  • your current accommodation is in a bad condition (for example, it's damp or doesn't have proper washing facilities)

  • you're homeless

  • you've been in care

  • you're disabled and your current home isn't adapted to your needs.

However, you may have to wait a long time before you are given accommodation.

What are the advantages of social housing?

Social housing tends to be cheaper than private rented accommodation, and you won't have to pay a deposit before you move in. Some landlords may offer support to young people taking on their first tenancy. For example, they may help you to apply for benefits and work out a budget.

Buying your own place

Last but not least, buying your own home. If you're just leaving home, this is unlikely, unless you have rich parents, a lot of savings or have landed a really good job. Getting on the property ladder isn't easy for first time buyers but it might be an option for you.

How do I go about buying a home?

In order to buy a house, you'll need to get yourself a mortgage, and you'll need to be over the age of 18 to apply. A mortgage is a big financial responsibility, so you'll need to work out your budget very carefully, and you may need a parent or guardian to act as a guarantor for you.

Can I get help buying a home?

If you live in council or housing association housing, you may have the right to buy your home, perhaps jointly with your parents. Alternatively, you may be able to buy a share in a home through a shared ownership scheme. If you are disabled you may be eligible for a grant to help you buy your own home.

If you need housing advice, contact us for free.

Last updated: 29 December 2014

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England