If you are living in rented accommodation off campus then there are checks you can do to make sure that the house or flat you are in is safe and suitable for you.
Renting from a private landlord need not be a bad experience. There are many good landlords in Swansea who offer quality, safe and affordable accommodation for students.
All properties should be in good repair and if there are any gas appliances (boilers, fires, heaters etc) they must be checked annually. Landlords will be able to show prospective tenants a safety certificate to confirm this.
Most properties occupied by students are houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). This means that people who are not related live together in a property that was originally intended to be occupied by a single household ie. a family.
Some HMOs, including all HMOs in the Castle and Uplands wards need to be licensed. You can check our HMO public register.
Fire precautions in HMOs
The risk of a fire occurring in a HMO is much greater than in a family home so landlords have to take extra precautions against fire like providing electrically operated smoke and heat detectors, fire resistant doors and fire fighting equipment. This applies to all HMOs regardless of size or location.
A tenancy agreement is a legal document so it is important to understand what it means before you sign:
- make sure you get a written tenancy agreement
- don't sign anything until you've seen the property
- don't sign an agreement on the basis of improvements being carried out before you move in as these promises may not be kept.
Once you've signed a tenancy agreement you can usually be held liable for the rent for the life of the contract, even if you move out.
- if you are paying a deposit your landlord has 30 days from taking your deposit to give you details of the tenant deposit scheme they are using. Your money will be held in this government-backed scheme and your landlord should tell you what will be involved at the end of your tenancy including how to get your money back.
- if you are paying a summer retainer check to see if you are allowed to stay in the property. Get whatever is agreed written into, or added to your tenancy agreement.
- make sure your agreement is clear about who is responsible for paying the utility bills.
- if you live in the same property as your landlord you will have fewer rights and in most cases the landlord can evict you without having to go to court. You will be a licensee not a tenant.
What do landlords expect of tenants?
As a tenant you should:
- report any disrepair straight away and allow the landlord, or their agent, reasonable access for inspection and repair
- behave in a reasonable and polite way with due consideration for neighbours and other residents in the area
- be aware of the needs of the community in which you live
- make sure no undue disturbance is caused particularly at night
- take care of the property, its furniture and equipment
- treat fire detection and protection equipment responsibly
- bag domestic rubbish and recycling and leave it for collection in the right place on the right day. You can find out more on our Get it sorted - student recycling and waste guide page
- keep the property in a clean and tidy condition including the garden and yard areas.
If you need further information or advice you can also contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01792 635600.