Under 18 rights to social housing | The Tenants' Voice
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Under 18 rights to social housing

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last updated: 28 May 2016 report a problem

under 18 rights to social housing

In this article

  • What your rights are if you are under 18 and need to leave your family home because of problems
  • The different definitions of “homelessness”
  • Why Children’s Services will regard you as a ‘child in need’ if you are facing family problems


You may think because you are under 18 years of age you don’t have any rights when it comes to social housing – you do.

If you are seen to be “homeless” you will be considered for emergency social housing and your local council and other bodies will try to help you out.

You will be regarded as legally homeless if:

  • The place you live is unsafe
  • Your home is unsuitable
  • You have no legal right to be there
  • You are staying with friends or another family for a while

Remember – you don’t have to be sleeping rough to be considered homeless.

If you’re under 16

If you are under 16 and having serious problems at home TTV recommends you contact Children’s Services at your local council. They will do their best to help make things better so that you can remain at home. However, if they believe that is not possible they can:

  • Arrange for you to live with another family member
  • Organise it so you can live with another adult such as a friend’s parent
  • Find a place for you in emergency accommodation
  • Look at other alternatives such as living with a foster family

If you are under 18 and homeless and hoping to be given a council home of your own, it is very unlikely that will happen. That’s because if you are 16 or 17 you are stilled regarded as a “child” by Children’s Services. Having said that, the council will find you alternative accommodation if your need is urgent. They will try to help your family situation, but you won’t be forced to return if you fear for your safety.

If you are under 18 and told you are a ‘child in need’ this means the council acknowledges that your family life is not good. This might mean you are:

  • Living with a violent person
  • Don’t have money for food
  • Don’t have anywhere to live
  • Have problems that affect your health or education (e.g. you’re disabled)
  • Your home is not habitable (e.g. there’s been a fire or flood)

Where to go for further help and advice

If you are under 18 and experiencing serious family difficulties at home you should seek help and advice from the council immediately. Alternatively, ring the charity Shelter or visit Citizen’s Advice service

In summary

  • Young people under the age of 18 have rights to help and emergency accommodation if they are having problems at home that make it unsafe for them to live there
  • If you are 16 or 17 and have serious home life issues Children’s Services may refer to you as a ‘child in need’ in which case you will be found new accommodation
  • It is recommended you make direct contact with Children’s Services if you have a problem at home that puts your safety at risk

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