It’s not usually a good idea to leave home before you’re 18, but if you’re 16 and over you can leave home without your parents’ or carers’ consent. You’re unlikely to be made to go back home unless you are in danger. If you’re feeling desperate, try to get advice before you pack your bags.

London is an expensive city, and there is a shortage of affordable accommodation, particularly in housing hotspots like Hackney and surrounding areas. This means renting shared accommodation privately may be your only option if you’re looking for a place on your own.

At the earliest opportunity when you become aware your current accommodation could be at risk, you must contact the Council for assistance.

There are a number of reasons when you would contact the Council, including

  • your landlord has issued you with an eviction notice
  • you have accrued rent arrears
  • there have been complaints from neighbours
  • your landlord is planning to sell the property where you currently live
  • you have experienced loss of earnings and rent is now becoming unaffordable.

If you’re faced with an emergency, and don’t have anywhere to stay, you need to get advice as quickly as you can. If you think you may be in danger of becoming homeless, the Council will do everything possible to help you resolve your situation.

If you are looking for financial support to get you a room, it may be possible to get a Universal Credit housing element to help you to pay for the rent. If you are already claiming benefits towards your rental cost then you could also apply for a discretionary housing payment (DHP) for help to secure your tenancy.

Your first step is to apply for an assessment with the Council’s Benefits and Homeless Prevention Service: Young Hackney workers can help you to arrange this if you need. Call in at your local Young Hackney centre for advice. The Benefits and Homeless Prevention Service will then assign you to a youth-focused Benefits and Homeless Prevention Service officer who will agree your personalised housing plan (PHP) with you, which sets out clear steps for you and the Council to carry out to relieve you of your homelessness. If you are a care leaver then please speak to your allocated Social Worker who can link you with a care leaver-focused Benefits and Homeless Prevention Service officer.

At the interview with the Homeless Prevention team, you will get advice on keeping your current accommodation, how to find somewhere else to live, or advice on managing your rent payments.

The Homeless Prevention team will not provide you with a Council or Housing Association property even if you are homeless. There is a severe shortage of this property and the estimated waiting time to secure a Council or Housing Association property for those who are homeless is 12 years. The Homeless Prevention team will first explore if you can stay in your current accommodation. If you cannot stay in your accommodation then the Homeless Prevention team will help you to find a privately rented home to live in in an area that you can afford.

Homeless households can apply to join Hackney’s housing register to allow them to try to get a social home. It takes a very long time to get a social home though as the demand is far greater than the supply of homes that become available. This is why our Homeless Prevention team will help you to find somewhere to rent privately.

If you qualify to apply on the Council’s Housing Register and once you have had your application registered, depending on your circumstances you may be eligible to bid for vacant council housing association properties. The Council’s lettings policy will explain who can and cannot apply to register. For more information about this please call 020 8356 2929.

More information

If you need information, you can read these information sheets: