Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Renting at 17

Hi im 17 and i was wondering would i be able to rent a flat at 17 ??

Ask Sam


Hi there,

It’s more difficult to rent somewhere to live when you’re under 18 but it's not impossible. There’s a lot to think about when deciding to move out on your own. And it's important to consider everything before making any big decisions that you might not be able to undo. The law is also slightly different depending on where you live. I'll talk about England in this letter but make sure you check information about Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to check the differences.

To rent a property you need to sign a type of contract called a lease. It's usually difficult to have a contract that someone under the age of 18 can sign because usually the young person wouldn't be held accountable if something went wrong. This means landlords would have more difficulty enforcing the contract if they needed to, so are less willing to do it. Exceptions can be made however for things that are necessary to live - housing is one of the things so it’s possible but complicated.

There are ways round having you sign the lease yourself. For example you can have someone called a "trustee" sign the lease for you - a trustee is an adult who is willing to do this on your behalf and allow you to live there. Some landlords might want the trustee to agree to being responsible for paying the rent if you can't. If you have an adult you trust who is willing to put the same trust in you, this could be a way you can rent a property more easily.

There's more to think about when moving out than just signing a lease. You need to have an income to be able to pay rent, council tax (if you're not studying) and bills and support yourself. There is no age limit on housing benefit so you might be able to get help from the government with paying your rent - but you still need to be able to pay everything else. If you're not planning on being in formal education so that you can get a job you might be able to afford to live on your own. But you should also think about what this might mean for your future plans.

​If you want more specific and expert advice you can talk to Shelter about your options. If you want to talk more about what's happening at home and how you're feeling, Childline is here for you.

Take care.


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