Advice and Support Centre

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Summer Bus Information

The UniBws service will run a reduced timetable over the summer, starting from June 11th ...

Mon 12 Jun 2023

Get Your Bins Out

Don't be rubbish - get your bins and rubbish ready for collection before you move out ...

Mon 05 Jun 2023

Your Rights as a Renter

We want to make sure you know your rights as a tenant, so we've put this list together to help you better understand where you  ...

Thu 01 Jun 2023
 

Our Advice and Support Centre has a team of trained advisors who can provide you with free, impartial and confidential advice and representation, independent of the University.

The advisors can guide you through a number of issues including housing and academic issues as well as offer support for harassment, PIP and other personal matters.

Email: advice@swansea-union.co.uk

Phone: 01792 295 821

Singleton Campus

We are located on the ground floor of Fulton House.

In-Person Drop-ins and Appointments

We are now going to be appointment only, except for the following drop-in times:

Tuesdays: 1pm-4pm

Wednesdays: 1pm-4pm

Outside of these designated drop-in hours, please contact advice@swansea-union.co.uk to schedule an appointment or join our morning Zoom drop-ins to speak to an advisor.

Bay Campus

We are located in the back of Y Twyni.

In-Person Drop-ins and Appointments

Tuesdays: 10am-3pm

Thursdays: 10am-3pm

What Can't We Help You With?

We dont usually provide advice on the below issues. If you have questions regarding these, please get in touch with the University

  • Interruption of Study, transfers and withdrawals
  • Student Finance
  • Visas and Immigration

FAQs

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.  

 
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 (gov.wales) 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 

MyDeposits 

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 (gov.wales). 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 

 

CHECK OUT THE LOCAL AREA 

  • 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?  

 

THE HOUSE  

  • 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? 

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  

  • 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.  

 
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.  

 
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.  

 
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. 

 
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.

 
 
I am unhappy with my mark or grade. Can I appeal?

Academic appeals must be submitted within 3 months from the date your results have been published. You can only appeal if: 

  • You are prevented from continuing with your studies part way through a level, or 

  • you fail to qualify to proceed to the next stage of your studies, or 

  • you wish to appeal against a final result or the award of an exit qualification, or 

  • where the effects of a progression decision have a significant impact on your overall result. 

You cannot appeal: 

  • Because you think you worked hard, and the mark awarded doesn’t reflect this; 

  • Because you were unhappy with the teaching on the course or supervision (This should have been a complaint not an appeal); 

  • Because your performance was affected, and you didn't submit extenuating circumstances at the time (unless you have evidence that you were not in the right frame of mind at the time of the assessment) 

If you would like further advice on the appeals process, please contact us in the Advice Centre. 

 

Please find the Academic Appeal Form here to start filling in 

 
I have been accused of Academic Misconduct what should I do?

This will all depend on whether it is your first allegation or a further allegation. The full procedure  can be found here Academic Misconduct Procedure

For a first allegation you will normally be asked to respond in writing explaining if you agree and how you think the misconduct arose. In the advice centre we are happy to talk to you about how to respond and give further advice. You may also be invited to a meeting to discuss your work and what has happened.  

With further allegations you will be able to send in a written response and any evidence you feel is required to be considered. You will also be asked to attend a committee of enquiry and you can request someone from the Advice Centre attends with you. Whether we can come with you will depend on when the meeting is taking place and how much notice we have been given

 

 
What are the penalties for Academic Misconduct?

For a first allegation the penalties range from a written warning, 0% for the piece of work that has had the allegation against it, and 0% for the module the piece of work is part of.  

For further allegations some of the same penalties can be considered with a  further two penalties also being possible. 0% for the year of study and being withdrawn from the University.  

If you have multiple penalties, they will usually become more severe each time, it is important to provide evidence of any relevant mitigation (health or personal issues) to possibly lower the penalty you will be given.  

Regardless of how many allegations you have had if it relates to commissioning, withdrawal from the University would be considered and you would be invited to a meeting. 

 
I have failed an assignment / exam, what happens now?

You will have to go back to your faculty and speak with someone about the possibility of doing resits and finding out when they would be. If you have not got the ability to complete another attempt, you can put an appeal through for a further attempt to be considered.  

Academic Appeal Form

 
I have failed a module, what happens now?

You will have to go back to your Faculty and speak with someone about the possibility of doing resits and finding out when they would be. If you have not got the ability to complete another attempt, you can put an appeal through for a further attempt to be considered. 

Academic Appeal Form

 
I do not agree with the outcome of a committee of enquiry. Can I do anything?

You do have the ability to submit a final review to appeal a decision the committee has made, you will have 14 working days to request this. (Not including weekends or holidays)

You will need to fill in a final review form and explain in detail why you are appealing the decision. You will need to include evidence and information about any mitigation you may not have spoken about and explain why you did not mention it before.

If you are completing a Final Review Form , you can contact the Advice Centre to get further advice.  

 
I am not happy on my course, and I am considering leaving. Who do I speak to?

It is always worthwhile speaking to your academic mentor and faculty about this and go into the issue you are having. If you are having issues on the course they may be able to look at helping to sort these out or give you options of deferring the year or even discuss fully withdrawing from the Course and University if required 

 
I am not happy with the quality of teaching on my course. What should I do?

You should have a course rep on your course that you can speak to about concerns about the teaching quality or other issues on your course. They should then be able to raise this with the faculty to see about getting things changed. You could also speak directly to the lecturer or whoever it involves if you feel comfortable with this. If things continue to cause issues and don’t get better you can consider the complaint procedure and speak to us at the Advice Centre.  

 
What are Extenuating Circumstances?

Extenuating Circumstances are temporary or short-term difficulties / problems affecting you; For example: 

  • Serious accident or illness 

  • Stress/anxiety 

  • Death of a close friend or relative 

  • Personal problems  

  • Family problems  

  • Financial Problems  

 
I want to put a complaint in to the University how do I do this?

Here is the link to the complaint procedure page on the Universities website for you to look through, If you are thinking of putting a complaint in you can come and speak to us in the Advice Centre about the issues you are having.  

 
I need an extension on an assignment. What can I do?

If you are unable to complete or submit an assignment due to extenuating circumstances, you should talk to your personal Tutor or the administrative team in your College as soon as possible. They can then advise you on what you need to do in or for these circumstances to be taken into account. They will provide you with the relevant forms and information. 

 
What if I sit the Exam but feel that I was affected by extenuating circumstances?

You have up to 5 days after sitting an exam to make your college aware of any difficulties which affected you at the time. The University will not usually consider circumstances raised after this time.  

 
 

Testimonials

Testimonial-6

Throughout my 5 years of study at Swansea University, the ASC team have always been very supportive and it was always nice and reassuring to know that I could pop into see them about whatever may have been bothering me. 

 
Testimonial-5

If any student is having difficulties, I'd have no hesitation recommending the advice centre to them. 

Meeting somewhere I felt more comfortable in the first instance was a massive help and being able to come back if and when I felt ready took a lot of pressure and stress away. This approach is one that will make me more likely to seek advice in the future. 

The service was brilliant and the advisor was extremely kind and helpful. From the outset I felt confident that he was on my side, and would do everything he could to help, which he did. He was very friendly, and gave good advice.

 
Testimonial-4

Your warm welcome and advice can not be explained in words other than the following which you must be hearing every single day : Thank You

 
Testimonial-3

Your warm welcome and advice can not be explained in words other than the following which you must be hearing every single day : Thank You

 
Testimonial-2

Student

All of the worry and confusion was taken out of my situation and I felt like nothing was too big a problem, which was brilliant. 

I was very grateful for the advice and support you gave, which helped me through a very difficult time. It was top quality.  

 
Testmonial-1

I would like to take this opportunity to say a BIG THANK YOU to all those involved with my appeal. I was greeted by friendly, professional staff who supported my appeal from beginning to end with their wealth of knowledge. I would recommend them to anyone who may need them in the future.