Finding a long-term home

You’re safe, perhaps in a refuge, temporary housing or staying with friends and family – or just thinking about your next step – and you want to find a long-term home.

Your options may include:

  • applying for a council home
  • talking to housing associations
  • removing your abuser from your home
  • finding your own place

Apply for council housing

Every council has housing for people who need it, but demand is high and it’s common to have to wait for something suitable to come up.

Councils have different ways of running their waiting lists, but often the people who need help the most wait the least, including those who are escaping domestic abuse.

Not everyone is allowed to apply. Your residency or immigration status may mean you can’t get council housing.

Getting an offer

When your turn comes, the council will contact you with an offer. You don’t have to accept it, but you should consider the offer carefully and make sure you understand the council’s rules. Refusals can affect your place on the waiting list or even result in your application being cancelled.

Housing associations

Housing associations manage affordable homes, similar to council properties. They often have waiting lists too, but may give priority to people who need housing the most.

You can apply directly to housing associations or through your local council, which should keep a list of associations in your area. You can apply to as many as you like.

Removing someone from your home

If it's safe for you to do so, you may be able to carry on living in your original home.

There are ways to force an abusive ex-partner out of your home if you want to carry on living there, even if the home doesn’t belong to you and even if you've left it.

To do this, you may need to start legal proceedings and ask a court to decide who should live there.

Your options depend on who has a legal right to live in the property and the status of your relationship.

For more information, please see I want to get an ex-partner out of my home.

Getting your own place


If you’re thinking of renting your own place, you may be able to get help with your deposit or an advance payment from your local council, and other costs through housing benefit or Universal Credit. See Help to pay for housing for more information.

Some landlords ask for a reference. If you’ve had problems before because of the behaviour of an abusive partner, you can ask a support worker or other professional to explain the situation to the landlord.

You could also find a guarantor, usually a friend or relative, who will make a guarantee with your landlord to pay your rent if you’re having problems. Landlords aren’t allowed to charge you extra fees for using a guarantor.


If you’re looking for a mortgage to buy your own place, let the mortgage provider know that you have experienced domestic or financial abuse.

Many have specialist teams and can help with common circumstances, such as poor credit scores or debts run up by an abusive partner.

Do not enter into a mortgage with an abusive partner.

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