There is no official age when you can leave home. As long as you can show that you are living in accommodation which provides a safe environment (eg you are not at risk from drugs, prostitution or violence etc) and you have a stable respectable method of supporting yourself financially, there are no legal barriers to leaving home at 16 years or older.
If you are under 16, then there is a probability that your parents or guardians could get a court order to force you to return home or into care. If you are aged 17, then this is still possible, subject to all the surrounding circumstances.
This involves signing a tenancy agreement with a landlord for you to live in their property. You will normally pay a monthly fee plus a deposit. The deposit will be given back to you at the end of the tenancy if there has been no damage to the property.
If you're under 18, the law says you aren't allowed to hold a tenancy.
If you are looking for somewhere to live, check if any landlords are part of an accreditation scheme. These are voluntary schemes that landlords join to show that they provide good quality accommodation.
Information from the Citizens Advice Bureau about renting a home
Buying a property
If you are in work, you may want to consider buying a property.
The Help To Buy scheme helps people who don't have much money or a deposit buy their own home.
When you’re buying a property you will need to get a mortgage, which is a very large loan against the property. You will pay back the mortgage over several years. If you are under the age of 18, you will not be able to apply for a mortgage to buy accommodation. This is because you cannot own property in your own right although it may be held in trust for you until you come of age.
The Citizens Advice Bureau site have impartial advice about buying a home.
Find out how much you can borrow before you start looking for a house.
If you are claiming benefits, you may be able to claim housing through your local
district or borough council. The choices may be limited but can be a short-term solution.
Moving into your new home
Moving into a new house can be stressful and there are lots of things you will need to arrange before or just after moving in.
You may be able to claim housing benefit to help you cover the cost of rent and prevent the risk of homelessness.
Watch the video below from Shelter to find out more.