Young people looking for accommodation

This section looks at accommodation options available outside the private rented sector.

It can often be particularly difficult for young people to find accommodation. Many private landlords are reluctant to let to younger people, more so if they are claiming Housing Benefit. Young people generally have low incomes and a lack of resources, which can make it very difficult to access and pay for private rented accommodation.

This content applies to Scotland


There are a number of direct access and emergency hostels specifically for young people. There are hostels that offer accommodation to young people who need support around independent living skills. There are also hostels that are specifically for young people who are leaving care, most of which will require social work referrals. Many hostels will not take young people under the age of 18. For information on different types of hostels and for sources of information about hostels in different parts of the country, please see the section on emergency accommodation.


Foyers are purpose built accommodation for young people that aim to help residents with training or finding employment. They require residents to sign an agreement covering all aspects of their residence, including a commitment to remain involved in training and/or employment during the length of their stay. They offer professional and peer group support for residents. The length of stay is normally up to two years.

Supported housing

There are different types of supported accommodation for young people. They generally provide accommodation for those who require a certain level of support to help them make the transition to independent living, although there are schemes for young people with specific support needs. There are cluster schemes that comprise a number of self-contained flats with a support worker available, and group houses where residents have their own bedroom and share other facilities. Schemes are often run by housing associations. Foyers and some hostels are a form of supported housing. The provision of schemes varies from one area to another.

Lodging schemes

Lodging schemes have lists of people willing to rent a room in their house. Schemes may be managed by local authorities or voluntary agencies. It is usually difficult for ex-offenders, those with drug or alcohol problems, or mental health problems to get accommodation through a lodging scheme. Many schemes also find it difficult to place 16 or 17 year olds. Low-level support may be provided on some schemes.

Housing waiting lists

A young person can apply to go on the waiting list for accommodation with a council or registered social landlord. A council or a registered social landlord cannot refuse to put someone on their waiting list because of their age, as long as they are at least 16 years old. [1] For information on housing waiting lists, please see the section on allocation of housing.


  • [1]

    ss.19-21 Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 as amended by s.9 Housing (Scotland) Act 2001