Leaving home is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. The best time to leave home is when you:

  • feel ready to live independently
  • have help to find somewhere and set up a new home
  • know that you can look after yourself and manage your money

It's not a good idea to rush into leaving home. Ideally, you should stay with your family until you can move out in a planned way.

You should think about:

  • where you want to live
  • how you find somewhere
  • how much rent and deposit you will have to pay
  • other bills like heating, food and other costs
  • if there is any help available if you don’t have an income
  • whether you can stay in education and claim benefits

Problems at home

If there are problems at home, it may help to talk them through. Do you have a support worker or teacher you could talk to? Get help and advice if you are at risk of becoming homeless.

Feeling unsafe at home

If you are in immediate danger, call the Police on 999.

If you are not in immediate danger, contact our Children’s Advice and Duty Service (ChAD).

You can also contact family support in your area

Being asked to leave home

Get help immediately if you have been asked to leave by parents, family or friends, or have left because you feel unsafe.

If you are under 18 years

Contact either:

  • Children's Services on 01305 228866
  • Housing Options on 01305 221000

Because of your age, our Housing and Children's Services will work together to work out how best to help you.

We will ask about your situation and needs and talk over the options with you. We might arrange to visit you at home with your family to see what we can do to help you stay at home if it is reasonable to.

In the short term, you might be able to stay at home, or with other family or friends, until something more suitable becomes available.

You are still a child if you're under 18 and your parents have parental responsibility for you so we need to try to make things work if we can.

If you are over 18 years

Contact Housing Options on 01305 221000. We will ask about your situation and needs and advise on the best options for you. 


It can sometimes help to talk over issues at home with someone outside of the family. We offer informal mediation to you and your family. It's an opportunity to talk over common problems like rules and money and see if these can be resolved.

Supported housing

This means you would share a house and get support with skills to help you live independently. It can be a good starting point if you haven't had your own place before. There are other people there to help and support is tailored to your aspirations. It can cover finding a course or job, managing money, learning to cook and lots more. When you are ready, staff will help you to move on. There are schemes for young people and young parents in Dorset.

Other housing

There are also private rented shared houses and flats, and council and housing association properties for those who qualify. Find out about local accommodation and renting.

Finding somewhere to live

Young people often stay with friends or rent a room in a shared house.

If you are under 18, you will not be able to hold a tenancy in your name unless you have a guarantor. A landlord may also ask for a guarantor if you have not held a tenancy before. Landlords may be worried that you can manage a tenancy and pay your rent because of your age, so it is often hard to persuade a landlord to give you a chance. 

Always move out in a planned way as it will make your chances of making it successful so much better.

Get advice about:

As well as talking to us about your housing, you could:

  • ask other family and friends if you can stay with them if things are difficult at home
  • check out local newspapers and shop windows for rooms to let
  • check college and university notice boards
  • register with letting agents
  • search online

Help with housing costs

Deposits and rent in advance

Many landlords ask for a damages deposit and rent in advance. We may be able to help you with this if you are at risk of homelessness. We assess whether you are ready to live independently or whether you need more support. Find out what help is available.

Paying rent

If you are single, there may be limits on how much you can claim through housing benefit or Universal Credit. This is called the shared room rate and how much you can claim depends upon your situation. 

The shared room rate is the maximum that the DWP will pay towards your rent. You need to make sure that if you rely on benefits, you do not rent anything that you cannot afford to pay, otherwise you will face eviction and debt. 

In Dorset, there are 2 shared room rates:

  • £80 a week in the mid/west Dorset Council area
  • £76.50 a week in the BCP Council area and rest of the Dorset Council area

This is not a lot of money so think about what you can afford. Our Housing Advice team can help you draw up a budgeting plan to show you whether it is affordable to you.

Get help and advice


Centrepoint advises young people, aged 16 to 25. They can also help if you are worried about a young person you know.

Call free on 0808 800 0661 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.


Childline helps young people under 19. You can talk about anything, whether it's big or small. Calling is free and doesn't show up on the phone bill.

Call 0800 1111. Online chat and email is also available.

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice advises on housing, claiming benefits and day to day problems.

Call their free advice line on 0800 144 8848.

Coram Voice

Coram Voice advocates for and supports children and young people in care, leaving care, with a social worker or needing one.

Call 0808 800 5792.


Shelter has lots of information on its website for young people about housing.

Mental health and wellbeing support

Get mental health and wellbeing support and help for young people.

Independent advocacy

Independent advocacy offers one to one support and representation for children and young people.