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What is Housing?

For all of your Housing queries, we are online all year round to support you with advice about looking for, living in & leaving your accommodation.

Important Infomation

Our Services 

For all of your Housing queries, the Advice & Support Centre is online all year round to support you with advice about looking for, living in & leaving your accommodation whether it is in a halls of residents or private rented property. If you need to talk to someone in private about an issue or experience, you can book an appointment with one of our advisers to talk through any questions you may have. Or you can attend one of our zoom drop in sessions that happen daily. This is a confidential service. 




Finding accommodation when you’re a student can be an exciting but also daunting task. This page will assist you when looking  for private rented accommodation. If you are interested in University Accommodation please contact the University directly or navigate their web pages for more information Swansea accommodation. Our advisers may be able to give advice on University accommodation too.

We know that looking for accommodation as a student can be an exciting time but also daunting with questions of who will I live with and how do I set up utility bills?  

So take a moment before you start looking for accommodation and prepare so you can make an informed choice!

Finding Accommodation   

In the student’s union we have a house viewing checklist that you can look at to help you know the essentials when viewing houses and flats. 

First things first when you start searching for accommodation you need to decide what type of accommodation you want, Halls of residence on Campus, Private Halls of residence off campus or private rented housing. One of the first things we would recommend is figuring out what your budget is and how close you want to live to the University.  

Deposit Protection 

With private rented properties which will usually be an assured shorthold tenancy if you pay a deposit the landlord or letting agent must protect your deposit through a Government-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme.  

This is a rule that applies to all assured shorthold tenancies that started after April 2007  

Once your tenancy deposit has been paid to a landlord or agent they have 30 days from receiving it to: 

  • Protect your deposit with a government backed scheme, and  

  • Provide you with certain information such as the tenancy deposit scheme used, how to get your deposit back when you leave, what to do if there is a dispute about its return, details of the tenancy, including the amount fo the deposit paid and your landlord’s name, address and contact details, together with a certificate signed by your landlord confirming it is true.  

  • You should also be provided with a copy of the certificate proving it has been protected.  

Your landlord should confirm to you it has all been protected and provide the above evidence. If they don’t do this you can check with the three government approved schemes that are listed below  

There are things that can be done if your landlord is refusing to protect your deposit, you can come in to speak to us about this or look on Tenancy deposit protection schemes - Shelter Cymru 

Holding Fees & Prohibited Payments 

Since the 1st September 2019 there has been a letting fees ban on any new assured shorthold tenancies in Wales. This applies to both private landlords and letting agents.  

Fees that are banned 

  • checking references or credit checks 

  • administration 

  • drawing up a tenancy 

  • renewing a tenancy 

  • amending a tenancy term, for example adding in more conditions 

  • requesting or amending a tenancy if one joint tenant leaves and is replaced by another 

  • viewing a property 

  • drawing up an inventory 

  • arranging a guarantor 

  • inspecting a property at the end of the tenancy. 

These have all been banned so if your contract mentions paying any of the above, then this term is not binding on you.  

If you have paid a banned fee to your landlord they cannot evict you using a section 21 notice until the money is repaid  

The only things you can be charged a fee for are below.  

  • You are late paying your rent  

  • You want to reserve a property and the landlord or agent is charging a ‘holding deposit’ 

  • You have broken a term of your tenancy agreement and the landlord or agent is entitled to charge a ‘default payment’ 

  • If you want to leave a tenancy early the landlord or agent can ask you to pay the rent for the remainder of the tenancy but cannot charge and additional ‘exit’ or ‘check-out’ fee 

Other costs of renting 

  • Rent  

  • A tenancy deposit  

  • Rent in advance if you want the landlord or agent to take the property off the market  


Viewing a Property 

Here are our four housing top tips followed by a viewing checklist.  

1. Don’t rush 

  • Choose housemates wisely  
  • Plan to visit at least 3 properties as a group  
  • Read through your contract in detail before committing

2. Make a wish list 

  • Areas you want to live in 
  • Size and type of property 
  • Access requirements and parking availability 
  • Minimum and Maximum rent budget  

3. Beware of promises 

  • If the landlord is making promises (redecorating, new furniture..) make sure it’s written into the contract with a finish-by date 

4. Ask questions 

  • Is the summer retainer half rent 
  • Do you need to pay a deposit upfront?  
  • Is your deposit protected?  
  • Is your tenancy joint or individual? 
  • Have you talked to the current tenants?  


House Viewing Checklist 

Check before viewing 

  • Is the property registered and licensed on rent smart wales?  

Ask your Landlord or letting agent 

  • Who manages the property? Landlord or agency? 

  • Is it a joint or individual contract?  

  • How much is rent per person, per month?  

  • Cost of bills estimate?  

  • How much is the summer retainer?  

  • Do you have access over the summer?  

  • How much is the deposit? 

  • Which deposit protection scheme will be used?  

  • Do you need a UK guarantor?  

  • When can you move in?  

  • Are any renovations planned?  

  • Is this agreed in the contract?  

  • Can you leave your stuff over the summer?  

Check out the local area 

  • How long does it take to get to Uni?  

  • Transport links?  

  • Are there shops/services nearby?  

  • Does it feel safe day and night?  

The House 

  • Are the rooms a good size?  

  • Are the windows double-glazed?  

  • Is there enough shared space?  

  • Is there enough study/storage space?  

  • How many bathrooms/ toilets are there? 

  • Enough kitchen units/fridges?  

  • Does it come furnished? 

  • Are the furniture and carpets in good condition?  

  • Is there any damage or disrepair? 

  • Signs of mould or damp? 

Ask the Current tenants 

  • Are repairs completed in a reasonable time?  

  • Does the heating work?  

  • Are there any issues with the house?  

  • How is the local area?  

Safety and security 

  • Are there working smoke detectors?  

  • A working burglar alarm?  

  • Car/bike storage? 

  • Secure doors/windows?  

  • Up to date gas safety certificate? 


Many private landlords and agents will request that you have a guarantor they will usually need to earn over a certain salary and often be a homeowner. If you believe you will struggle with having a guarantor, it is important you are upfront with the landlord or agent and tell them this from the start. They may consider not requesting a guarantor if you are able to pay further months rent up front.  

It is important to be aware though that sometimes there is no way getting around the request for a guarantor which may mean you need to look at other accommodation and not the one that is requesting this as a requirement.  

The purpose of a guarantor is to provide security to the landlord and agent, as if you miss a rent payment or are unable to pay rent this guarantor will take on the responsibility and then be liable to pay the rent on your behalf.  

Signing a Contract 

After going through all of this if you are certain, it is the property you want to move into it is important you read through the contract in detail and make sure you understand all parts of the contract if you have concerns or don’t understand something ask the accommodation provider or someone else that will be able to help.  

In the advice centre we are always happy to help in this way so please do contact us.  




You have now found your accommodation and have sorted out if you will be living with anyone else. This part can be even more exciting as you have an idea of what will happen next and know where you are going. This next section will provide you with advice on what to do when first moving into the property and during your tenancy.  

Moving in  

You will have been given a date that your tenancy agreement starts and this should be the date that you are able to access the house or flat and collect your keys for the property. If your landlord or agent start saying you can not pick up keys until another point you need to tell them that this is not right, you may need to put in a complaint but you legally should be allowed to receive the keys on this date unless you are paying half rent for the summer months in the form of a retainer.  

Retainer summer payment 

Some landlords and agents will allow you to pay half rent over the summer months July / August and only allow you to store your belonging in the property over this time. This may mean that they will not give you access to the keys and that you would need to arrange with them for a suitable time to visit the property and put your belongings in there. Some accommodation providers may say that during this time you are not allowed to stay over night at all but others may allow you access to the property for a short period of time to stay a weekend or overnight. We would recommend having these conversations with the landlord or agency if you believe you may need to access the property at some point.  

They may also allow some people to pay full rent and live in the property over the summer and others just pay the half rent. More often than not they will expect all the tenants to agree to one arrangement and either pay half rent or full rent.  

If you believe that someone else is given access to live in the property while you are paying the summer retainer this is illegal and you should approach the landlord or agency about this to find out what is happening. Also come and speak to us if you are unsure on the situation.  


Move in inventory 

When you move into a rental property they will usually give you a move in inventory that includes pictures of the inside and outside of the property showing the condition of the whole house or flat. You will then be given the ability to check through this over a week and confirm whether you are happy with the pictures and condition listed on the inventory. If you see any issues or mistakes it is important you make these known to the landlord/agency right away.  

This move in inventory will be used when you move out of the property to compare the condition of the accommodation with how you have left it. If the property has been left in the same condition or a better one you can not be charged for any damage or issues from your deposit. If there are obvious signs of things being in a worse condition when you move out past the general wear and tear of living in a house for a year or longer they can request part of your deposit to be deducted. You have the ability over this time to say you disagree with this.  


Sometimes we can fall out with those we are living with and have arguments due to different issues in the property or in our personal lives. If this is the case we have trained advisers who are able to mediate between you and a housemate or the whole house. Please do contact us if there is an issue that needs mediation.  

House chores  

Often arguments can start because someone is making a mess in the property or people feel someone isn’t equally pulling their weight to clean and tidy the property. When you first move in it could be worthwhile talking about how you will be washing dishes, whether this will be a joint thing for the whole house or you just wash your own dishes. Also things like buying milk and bread if you will be sharing it in the house or if everyone will be buying their own things.  

It is always better making sure everyone knows the expectations right at the start of the tenancy so that everyone can continue throughout the year and avoid any unnecessary arguments  

Choosing a room 

Sometimes on your tenancy agreement it may make it clear which bedroom you are going to be staying in but often you will all be able to pick and choose which room you want. We would recommend having this conversation early on making it clear if you are planning to move into a specific room to avoid arguments if someone else moves their belongings into that room first.  

Meter readings 

When you have moved into your property it is important to make sure you know where the gas electric and possibly water meter are and take an initial reading on your move in day so you know the correct figures to start with. Then it would be recommended to take frequent readings of these either weekly or monthly and note them down letting your landlord know if bills are included or contacting your energy supplier if you are paying the bills yourself.  

This should avoid any large unexpected bills arriving while you live in the property. 




You have now most likely finished your fixed term contract and are either moving home or into a new property so what should you consider when leaving the property?  


When you are getting ready to leave the house or flat it is important you look at the inventory you received way back when you first moved in and compare the condition the accommodation was at the start. Once you have done this you will then need to start cleaning, although agents and landlords can’t charge cleaning fees if the property is not in the condition, it was when you moved in the cleaning costs can be deducted from your deposit. Please find a suggested cleaning list below. 

Deposit disputes 

When you have fully moved out of your property your landlord or agency will go around the property and complete a new inspection by filling in the move out inventory. This will include all pictures of the property attempting to take identical pictures that were included on the move in inventory.  

If there are obvious discrepancies in condition due to how clean something is or damage and your landlord or agent wasn’t notified before this will be listed down and sent to you with an invoice of how much they want to take off your deposit. At this point you can go through the two inventories as well and raise anything if you disagree and you can put a counter suggestion in on how much you would be willing to pay from your deposit.  

Your agency or landlord can decide to accept this or not and would then put it through the deposit protection scheme who would then contact you to ask for the suggested amount to be deducted. If you agree you can tell them and this will all be arranged. If you disagree you can tell them and then the deposit scheme will act impartial and consider everything you say and that accommodation provider says.  

Ending a Contract Early 

You may be looking at leaving your accommodation before the contract has ended this could be due to many different reasons. It may be worthwhile coming to speak with us if this is you, but below are a couple of suggestions.  

With private halls of residence if you are no longer a student due to you suspending your studies, deferring or being withdrawn from the university you can get written confirmation from the university that you will not be a student. This can then be passed onto the private halls who may be willing to end your contract. If you will still be a student they may allow you to end the contract early if you can find a replacement. 

In private rented accommodation you would be liable to pay rent until the contract ends unless there is a break clause. If you stop paying the rent your guarantor could be chased up to pay the rent on your behalf. You may also be able to find a replacement tenant to take your place if the other tenants all agree as well.  


Landlord / Agency Registration and Licensing 

Landlord registration and licensing helps monitor private landlord and agents to make sure they are suitable people to rent out properties.  

The registration and licensing scheme in Wales is run by Rent Smart Wales who you can use their public register to confirm if your property has the correct license and registration.  


If you have an assured shorthold tenancy and your property is not registered your landlord is committing an offence and can face penalties. To become registered they must provide accurate information about themselves and all their properties that they operate in Wales. 


Any person who lets or manages a ‘domestic tenancy’ in Wales must have a license on the Rent Smart Wales scheme. They would need this to take rental payments and issues contracts etc.  

To check if your property is registered you can go to Rent Smart Wales and put the number of your address, street name and postcode or city.  

HMO licensing 

If you live in a house of multiple occupation (HMO) your landlord must also comply with he Rent Smart Wales scheme in addition to extra licensing rules they also need to follow.  

Do I live in an HMO? 

You may be living in a HMO if the house or flat you live in is: 

  • Occupied by at least 3 tenants, forming more than one household and 

  • You share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants 

What responsibilities does your landlord have 

  • Ensure the property is kept in a safe condition 

  • Proper fire safety measures are in place 

  • Annual gas safety checks are carried out 

  • Electrics are checked every 5 years 

  • Property is not overcrowded 

The licences needed by the landlord 

  • Rent smart wales (RSW) 

Licence and registration needed by all not just HMO’s 

  • Mandatory licensing  

In addition to RSW your landlord must apply to the local council for a licence to rent out your property as an HMO if : 

  • It is at least 3 storeys high 

  • Contains five or more people 

  • Has 2 or more households living in it 

  • Tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities 

  • Selective licensing 

Local authorities may also insist that other smaller HMOs in specific areas are licensed  


Housing booklet 

  • To come soon  



I want to leave my current tenancy agreement can I do this?

When you moved into your private rented accommodation you signed a tenancy agreement that would have had a period of time that you agreed to live in that property and pay rent.  

Within the agreement there may be break clauses that allow you to leave the contract earlier which the Advice Centre can look at for you.  Most of the time though you will be required to pay the full rent for that property until the contract does end unless you come to an agreement with your landlord and they either agree to have someone else take over your part of the contract and move into your room. Or end the contract completely.   

With any situation like this please contact the Advice Centre for further advice, it may be that issues with your housemate, agency or the property can be sorted out.  

I need a guarantor

There will be private rented properties who request you to have a guarantor, this is so that if there are issues with you paying rent they are able to contact the guarantor who would agree to pay the bill if it got to that point. For some landlords and agents this is not able to be negotiated about but with others you may be able to offer further rent payments up front before moving into the property. This is all down to you, we can not help anyone get a guarantor but if you do have issues please do contact us.  


What is meant by summer retainer / half rent?

With some student houses it may be a requirement or you could be given the option to pay a summer retainer which would be half rent usually for July and August. With this landlord and agents tend to let you store your belongings in the property but do not give you access to live in the property over that time. It is important to check what the rules will be during the summer and whether anyone who wants to stay there during the whole summer or for part of the summer will be able to. It is also important to make sure you know if you will be allowed to leave belongings there. 

Security Deposits

With all private rented properties if you are asked to pay a security deposit it can not be over the value of 5 weeks’ worth of rent. And it is a legal requirement to protect the deposit in one of three schemes. If this is not protected, you can complain and may be entitle to compensation. Do contact us if you think there is an issue with your deposit.  

My rented accommodation needs repairs

As a tenant it is your responsibility to try and keep your property in a good condition and notify your landlord or agent of any damage and repairs that may be needed. Even if you do speak to your accommodation provider on the phone or in person it would always be recommended to have the requested repairs put in writing as well. If you believe you are being ignored and repairs are not being done you can send a written complaint to your landlord or agent to start with. Once that has gone through if the issues is still not being sorted you can look at possibly elevating the complaint further. Please do contact us if you are having any issues and it is getting unmanageable.  

My landlord or agent won’t let me move into the accommodation on my contract start date.

As you have signed your contract and agreed on the tenancy start date your accommodation provider can not change this for you last minute without coming to an agreement with you. If they are trying to push the day back a few days or longer and you need to move in on time it is important you write a complaint and if it is a group of you moving in, you should all write complaints. If for some reason you have agreed for the move in date to be pushed back you should not be paying any rent for the period they are not allowing you access to the property. 

Who can I speak to about I am looking for accommodation but I am struggling to find somewhere?

If you are struggling to find accommodation it is important that you are actively looking contacting the university about their student accommodation as well as looking online at different websites and contacting different estate agents about what properties they have available.  

I want to leave university residence, what can I do?

What is the reason you want to leave, it is important you discuss any issues with the accommodation service to start with to see if there are any ways you can leave the accommodation. It is important you submit a release request form to the accommodation team if there has been an agreement that you can leave. If you have any concerns you can speak to us.

Can my security deposit be released to pay my rent?

This is something that would need to be discussed with your landlord or agent. They may be unwilling to use it as rent while you are still living there due to a concern that if there was any damage or repairs needed they may need to take money from the deposit to deal with this. If you are leaving the property in a good standard and have no deductions needed for cleaning or repairs you can request that the deduction is taken if you are in rent arrears and still owe the accommodation provider rent. This is something that would need to be discussed with your landlord or agency. 

My Landlord / Letting Agent has not returned my deposit

To start with all properties must be registered on Rent Smart Wales and whoever took your deposit and rental payments must always be licensed. Public Register ( Some properties need a HMO license and the register for this can be found here HMO public register - Swansea  

Usually when you move into a private rented property you will be given a check in inventory to check over and sign that you agree with pictures showing the condition of the whole house. You should then be given another inventory at the end of your tenancy once you have moved out. This is so that you can compare the inventories, all properties should be left in the same state that they were received in, you do not need to leave it in a better condition, but if the condition is considerably worse ignoring general wear and tear you may be requested to have part or all your deposit deducted to pay for cleaning or repair costs. 

If you disagree with this you can let the agency or landlord know to see if they will adjust the amount they are requesting. If they do not change the amount you can let the deposit protection scheme know and they will look into the case to decide if any of the deposit should be held back and given to your accommodation provider. There are 3 types of deposit scheme.  

Tenancy Deposit Scheme 


Deposit Protection Service 

Please do contact us at the advice centre if you do not believe your property is registered and if you don’t think your deposit has been protected. 

Where can I get a copy of my council tax exemption certificate?

You are able to get your council tax exemption certificate from the University by going to Council Tax Exemption - Swansea University 

What to do when viewing a property?

First things first, do not rush when looking for a property and feel like you need to sign for the first property you see. It is okay to take your time and use your first term to work out who you actually want to live with and start searching from the second term onwards. Many landlords and agents may push you saying how urgent it is that you find somewhere quickly but it is important to be aware you do have time. Once you have a property viewing arranged make sure you check the property is registered and licensed on Rent Smart Wales Public Register ( All private rented properties in wales must be on here otherwise it is illegal. If you have reason to believe a property is not registered or licensed we would recommend confirming this with either the landlord or agent and avoiding any properties you are unsure on. When you go onto this website you can type in the address of the property to check it.   

ASK the LandLord (L) or Agency (A) 

  • Confirm who manages the property L or agency A? 

  • Is it a Joint contract and you have equal liability for the whole house or an individual contract where you have only got responsibility for one room?  

  • Find out what the rent per person is each month? 

  • With the increasing costs of utility bills it is important you find out an estimate for the cost of bills. See if bills are included at all in the properties rent.  

  • Check if there is a summer retainer and if so how much this would be? This would usually be half rent for the summer months and you may be able to leave your belonging in the house but not live there over summer. 

  • Find out how much the deposit is? 

  • Which Deposit protection scheme will they use? 

  • Do you need a UK guarantor to rent the property? 

  • When would the contract start? Confirm with them that you can get access to the keys on that starting date to move in right away or if you would need to wait.  

  • Any renovations or work being done before you move in? If you spot any issues in the property make sure the accommodation provider is aware of this.  

  • Is this agreed in the contract? 

  • Can you leave your stuff over the summer? 

  • Does the property have up to date Gas safety certificates?  

  • Check the Energy Performance Certificate before agreeing to the property 



  • How long does it take to get to your /university campus?  

  • Transport links, is it near a bus stop? 

  • Are there shops nearby that you will be shopping at?  

  • Does the area feel safe in the day and at night?  



  • Are the bedrooms a good size? 

  • Do you have a nice communal area to spend time together as a house and invite friends over? 

  • Are the windows double glazed?  

  • Is there enough shared space? 

  • Is there enough study/storage space?  

  • How many bathrooms/toilets are there? 

  • Enough kitchen units/fridges?  

  • Does the property come furnished?  

  • Are the furniture and carpets in good condition? 

  • Is there any damage or disrepair? 

  • Signs of Mould or damp? 


  • Are repairs completed in a reasonable time? 

  • Does the heating work? 

  • Are there any issues with the house? 

  • How is the local area? 


  • Working smoke detectors? 

  • Car/bike storage if appropriate? 

  • Secure doors/windows?  

Should I sign my tenancy agreement?

Always read through your tenancy agreement before signing it and ask for time to do this so you can go over in detail and ask someone else to check it as well if you want. The Advice Centre is happy to check your tenancy agreement if you want us to. Also make sure the property is registered and licensed on Rent Smart Wales.  

What should I do about the inventory check – in / out report?

When you first move into your property you should be provided with an inventory early on and be asked to go through it and confirm if the pictures and information in it are accurate. You can then take further photo’s if you do not believe they have noted something down. It is important you are satisfied the inventory is correct, as when you move out they will provide you with another inventory and can request deductions from your deposit if they feel anything is not at the same standard it was when you moved in. This can not include general wear and tear as things will never remain the same through a year or longer that you are in the property. If you are not provided with a move in inventory but then are told at the end about issues they want you to pay for, they would have limited ability to act on due to having no original inventory as it would be seen that there is no proof of the condition when you moved into the property.  

If I can’t afford my rent payments can I be evicted from my Private rented accommodation?

While you are living in your rental property under contract you are responsible for all rental payments over this time. If you are struggling financially it is important that you are upfront and honest with your accommodation provider if you know rent payments will be later or that you can not pay them at all. Even if you can not pay the full rent it would be encouraged that you pay as much as possible. With any financial issues it is important you speak to the Universities finance team @campuslife and the hardship fund to see if you can get help. If you are not able to do any of these things your landlord may request your guarantor pays the rent that is owed. It is important you are open to your guarantor about your situation and those you are living with. During a fixed term contract you can be given an eviction notice but it can not end in the period your contract agrees you are living there for.  

If this fixed term contract which is usually 6 or 12 months ends you will move to a periodic contract that roles monthly and your accommodation provider would need to give you an eviction notice that would give you a minimum of 2 months notice on. Even after this point you are legally allowed to remain in the property.  

For further advice come in and speak to us or look on Shelter Cymru’s website. Eviction - Shelter Cymru 

My landlord / agent want me to pay for cleaning at the end of my tenancy. Is this allowed?

All extra fees have been banned in Wales for rental properties so your landlord or agent can not unreasonably ask you to pay for cleaning fees. If you were provided with a move in inventory you need to make sure your property is as clean as it was when you moved in. If it is not as clean there can be a request for part of your deposit to be taken off you to pay for cleaning to get the property to the same standard it was in when you first moved in.



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