Relationship breakdown and domestic abuse

Finding a home after relationship breakdown

Your housing options will depend on where you want to live and what you can afford.

For help getting benefits contact a welfare rights adviser at Citizens Advice.

If you're worried about money we have guidance on getting help with housing costs.

Ending your tenancy

If you’re on the tenancy agreement and you decide to move out, make sure to end your tenancy correctly. Otherwise, you could still be responsible for paying the rent.

How you can end your tenancy depends on what type of tenancy agreement you have. We have guidance on ending your tenancy correctly.

Getting homeless help from the council

You may be classed as homeless if you have to leave your home. You do not have to be living on the streets to be homeless.

The council must take a homeless application from you and look into your situation if you have nowhere safe to live. Depending on your situation you must be offered somewhere to stay temporarily and sometimes a permanent home.

Check our guidance on how the council must help you if you’re homeless.

Renting from the council or a housing association

To get a list of social housing providers contact the council’s housing team.

Once you apply you’ll be put on the waiting list until a suitable home becomes available.

Some providers might ask you to fill in paper forms and some might accept online applications. Check our guidance on applying for social housing.

When a suitable home becomes available you'll be offered a Scottish secure tenancy, which gives you strong rights. Check our guidance on your rights in a Scottish secure tenancy.

Renting from a private landlord or letting agent

If you want to rent privately you can contact local letting agencies and check online on websites like S1 Homes, Rightmove, Zoopla and Gumtree. Check our guidance on finding a private rented home.

You’ll be given a private residential tenancy to sign. Check your rights if you have a private residential tenancy.

Checks to make before renting privately

Before you give a prospective landlord any money ask for their:

  • full name

  • address, in the United Kingdom

  • contact number and email address

  • landlord registration number

Most private landlords have to register with the council before they can rent out a property. If they’re not registered this is illegal and you should not rent from them. Check if your landlord should be registered.

If you’re renting from a letting agency they need to be registered, as well as the landlord they’re working for. Search the letting agent register to check they’re on it.

Landlords and letting agents must include their registration numbers on all property adverts.

Going to viewings

Always take someone with you to viewings if you can. A trusted person can help you decide if the place is right for you.

If you go to a viewing alone, let someone know where you’ll be, the landlord’s contact details, and what time you can be expected back.

Make sure to check:

  • whether you would feel safe in the area

  • when the landlord needs someone to move in

  • what the average costs for heating and electricity might be

  • if any costs are included in the rent, such as internet or other utilities

  • any repair issues that need to be fixed, such as faulty windows, electrics or dampness

  • whether its close to public transport and facilities you want to use like shops or the gym

The property must meet the legal repair standard for private tenancies. If there are any repair issues, ask the landlord to fix them before you move in. Email them when you ask so you have a record.

Last updated: 17 March 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England