Homelessness has several definitions. But the most accurate could be ‘living without a home‘.
So, a typical homeless person will be living on the streets and sleeping rough. In most cases they live without a roof over their head.
Your Housing Rights If Homeless
There are other situations that meet the definition of legal homelessness. Examples include those where someone lives in a place that is unsafe or unsuitable.
Living in a place where you have no legal right to be is also considered homeless. The same applies to someone staying with friends or lodging with another family for a while.
Note: In short, you do not need to be sleeping rough to be a legally homeless person.
Housing Rights If Under 16 Years
There is help for youngsters who are under 16 years old and experiencing serious problems at home. You should contact Children’s Services based at local councils around the United Kingdom.
Children and Young People’s Services will try and help you improve things at home so you can stay there. But, in cases where living at home is impossible or too dangerous they can:
- Arrange for you to live with a different family member or another adult (e.g. parents of a trusted friend).
- Help to secure emergency housing accommodation for you.
- Consider alternative options which can including living with a foster family.
Note: It is unlikely you can sign a tenancy contract or secure a mortgage agreement if you are under 18 years old.
Housing Rights for 16 or 17 Year Olds
Most young adults under 18 are not old enough to rent their own home. Children’s Services will usually provide homeless 16 and 17 year olds with accommodation.
That’s because under council house rules they would consider young adults in this situation as a ‘child in need’.
Children’s Services cannot force anyone to return to a home that they feel is unsafe. But, they will try to find a way that you can return to your usual home or go and live with another relative.
Being a ‘Child in Need’ Under 18
A young adult would get classed as a ‘child in need‘ if they are under 18 years old and:
- Living with a person who is violent.
- Do not have enough money to buy food.
- Do not have anywhere to live.
- Have problems that affect your childhood education or health (e.g. a disabled person).
- Your home is uninhabitable (e.g. as a result of a heavy flood or a fire).
Note: Illegal squatting can result in a £5,000 fine, 6 months in prison, or both. Read further information about Squatting and the Law in the United Kingdom.