Moving out of home
There are many reasons why young people choose to leave home. Some move out because they want more independence or they have work or study that makes moving necessary. Others choose to leave home because they don’t get on with their parents, or they are forced to leave because of ongoing abuse or violence.
Whatever your circumstances, leaving home is a big transition and there are some important things you may need to consider in deciding whether or not to move out.
When is the right time to leave home?
When it comes to making a choice about when to leave home, it’s good to remember that everyone is different. Some people choose to stay in their family home until they are well into their 30s or older, and others decide to leave as soon as they are able. In Australia, most people stay with their parents until they are at least 18 years old and your parents will remain your legal guardians until then. For more information about when you can legally leave home visit the Youth Law Australia website.
How do I make such a big decision?
Before you decide to move out of home, think about:
- what are some of the advantages and disadvantages in terms of your emotional, physical, mental and financial wellbeing?
- what impact will this have on your life now and in the future?
- do you have a realistic idea of what to expect?
- do you have a safe place to go?
- are you ready to look after yourself?
Chatting with a Kids Helpline counsellor is one way to get help in considering these questions and making a decision that is right for you. You can talk to a counsellor by email, online chat or phone on 1800 55 1800.
Are you safe?
Many young people face the challenge of finding safe and supportive accommodation when they are forced to leave home because of abuse or family conflict. If this applies to you, think about using the following supports:
- if you think you might be in immediate danger, call emergency services on Triple Zero (000)
- get help from friends, other family members or an adult that you trust
- contact your local police service (particularly if you are younger than 18 years old)
- call or visit your local community health centre—they can provide you with information about safe and supportive accommodation
- call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 to get immediate support and assistance as well as referral to crisis accommodation services near you.
Choosing a place to live
There are a lot of things to think about when you’re choosing where to live and who to live with. For example, you may need to choose a location that not only suits your rental budget, but is also close to public transport and facilities.
Many young people share accommodation with others in order to split the cost of rent and utilities, such as electricity and gas. However, for those who have a steady income, there is also the choice to live alone. There are positives and negatives with both arrangements.
Some of the positives of shared accommodation are sharing the financial burden of rent/utilities, the opportunity to make new friends, and safety—living with others can provide extra security.
Some of the negatives of shared accommodation can include issues with keeping the house/flat clean—whose turn is it to wash the dishes, flatmates who don't pay bills/rent on time, and differences in lifestyle or values that may cause conflict.
Some young people deal with these issues by establishing clear ground rules with their fellow housemates at the start of the tenancy. This could mean making decisions about:
- sharing the cost of rent and utilities
- whether food is to be shared or everyone is to buy their own
- sharing responsibility for household chores
- rules about noise, visitors and parties
- withdrawal from the rental lease, when someone is moving out.
Once you have decided on a location and whether or not to share or live on your own, there are a number of ways that you can search for a place to rent. You can:
- look online—there are websites that have descriptions and photos of rental properties, and you can search by suburb, price and type of accommodation (e.g. unit, townhouse or house)
- visit real estate agencies in your chosen area to get a current rental list
- look at rental lists in newspapers.
When you find a place that you’re happy with, you’ll need to complete an application form and pay a bond (this is usually equal to about 4 weeks of rent). In Queensland, the Residential Tenancies Authority (not the real estate agent) holds the bond, which is a deposit to make sure you keep the property in good condition.
Before you sign a lease agreement:
- Make sure you understand the conditions of the lease and your responsibilities. If you’re unsure, then it's best to ask for help from the Residential Tenancies Authority or Tenants Queensland.
- Inspect the property. Take careful note of anything that is damaged and tell the agent or landlord. It's a good idea to take photos of anything that is broken or needs repair and keep these for your own records.
- How secure is the property? Sometimes you can request extra security for windows and doors, before you move in.
How much money will I need?
If you have a job, you’ll need to work out how much it will cost to cover your rent, bond, food, utilities and transport needs. If you’re not working or you’re a student then you can contact Centrelink to find out if you are eligible to receive any social security benefits.
Moving can be expensive. If you plan ahead, and get some help from others, there are lots of ways to save money. Here are some practical ideas on how you can move without blowing your budget:
- see if you can get your friends, parents, or other family members to give you a hand, as removalists can be expensive
- shop for furniture at second-hand stores—you will not only save yourself money, but you will be helping the environment by recycling
- make a list of what you will need and what you can do without and only buy the essential items to begin with (for example, consider using a laundromat rather than buying a washing machine).
How will I feel when I leave home?
It is important to remember that leaving home is an emotional transition for most people. You might experience a range of emotions that are sometimes contradictory.
Depending on your situation, leaving home might be exciting, or scary, and with any big life change, there is loss involved. Moving home might mean that you feel sadness about the changes in the relationship with your parents, or you might feel lonely and disoriented if you have moved into a new area or neighbourhood.
Even though these are normal responses, it’s important to take care of yourself and your feelings by reaching out to others. Staying in touch with friends and trustworthy family members is important and can help with managing these feelings. Contacting your local community centre, or engaging with services like Kids Helpline, are great ways to make sure you're connected to others and taking care of yourself.
- Tenants Queensland: a free statewide advice service for tenants
- Residential Tenancies Authority: provides tenancy information, bond management and dispute resolution services
- Renting: find information about renting, including getting help with rental costs, finding a place to rent, as well as your rights and responsibilities as a tenant
- Housing and accommodation support: find out helpful information about finding housing and accommodation, including Youth Housing and Reintegration Services
- Leaving care: transitioning to independence and information about Support Service Cases
- Indigenous Youth Mobility Programme: offers young Indigenous people from regional and remote communities the opportunity to move to a host location to participate in further education, training or Australian Apprenticeships
- Moneysmart: helps you make smart decisions about your money
- Kids Helpline: email, online chat or phone on 1800 55 1800.