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 has 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 Housing Needs team: Young Hackney workers can help you to arrange this if you need. Call in at your local Young Hackney centre for advice. The Housing Needs service will then assign you to a youth-focused housing 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 housing officer.

At the interview with the Housing team, you will get advice on keeping your current accommodation or how to find somewhere else to live, or advice on managing your rent payments. You need to be aware there is a severe shortage of Council and Housing Association accommodation in Hackney, so it may not be possible to find this kind of accommodation. However, at the interview you will also get advice about renting in the private sector and about improving conditions in your present home so you can stay where you are.

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: