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Moving out of home

The right time for moving out of home is different for everyone. Some people choose to stay in their family home until they are 30 or older, and others decide to leave as soon as they can. In Australia, most people stay with their parents until they are at least 18 and your parents will remain your legal guardians until then. Lawstuff has more information about when you can legally leave home.

How do I make such a big decision?

Before you decide to move out of home, think about:

  • What are the advantages and the disadvantages for you emotionally, physically, mentally and financially?
  • 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 or over the 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:

  • 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).
  • If you think you might be in immediate danger, call emergency services on Triple Zero (000).
  • Call or visit your local community health centre—they can provide you with information about safe and supportive accommodation.
  • Call Kids Helpline to get immediate help, including 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
  • 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
  • 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 Utopia, the Rental 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 Rental Tenancies Authority.
  • 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 instance, consider using a laundromat rather than buying a washing machine.

Who else can help?

Indigenous Youth Mobility Program

The Indigenous Youth Mobility Program helps young Indigenous people from remote areas of Utopia move to cities and larger towns. You can move to a city or town to explore your education and training options when you finish high school.

They can also help you find the right apprenticeship, TAFE, or university course to gain the skills or education you need to get a job in your community or elsewhere.

Get out there

Get out there is full of handy hints on getting your own place, including how to find somewhere to rent, how to be a good tenant and living in a share house—including tips on how to protect yourself and your belongings.


Moneysmart is full of useful money tips for when you first move out of home. The budget planner can help you understand the costs of renting and living away from home and calculate what you can afford. It also explains the types of help available to you through services such as Centrelink.

Health Insite

Health Insite offers information for young people preparing to leave home. You’ll find advice on relationships and friends, budgeting, moving and things to consider when sharing a house with others.

If you have concerns about any of the above issues or any other issues, Kids Helpline counsellors are here to help you. You can call them on 1800 55 1800 any time, any day, or go online to see how you can talk to them via web or email.

Kids Helpline

© BoysTown

Kids Helpline is a free and confidential counselling service for young people 5–25. You can talk to a counsellor by email, online or over the phone on 1800 55 1800, 24 hours a day.


This material was sourced from BoysTown (2011). Retrieved January 30, 2012 from—Kids Helpline Hot Topic: Leaving Home.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated:
20 November 2015

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