Last updated: 26 November 2022
1. DEFINITIONS AND INTERPRETATION
In this Terms of Service, the following definitions shall apply:
1.1 - “Accommodation” means accommodation offered by an Accommodation Provider on this Website and in accordance with these Terms of Service;
1.2 - “Accommodation Provider” means a person (natural or legal) offering Accommodation;
1.3 - “Accreditation Agent” means an agent of NSFAS duly authorised inter alia to inspect Accommodation and certify a Rating in respect thereof;
1.4 - “Administration Fee” means the fee paid by the Accommodation Provider for the use of and/or services provided on this Website, paid by way of a deduction from each and every Rental fee paid over by NSFAS for and/or on behalf of a Student under a Lease Agreement;
1.5 - “Arbitration Act” means the Arbitration Act 42 of 1965;
1.6 - “Code of Conduct” means the code of conduct issued by NSFAS applicable to Students (as amended from time to time);
1.7 - “Content” refers to content such as text, images, or other information that can be posted, uploaded, linked to or otherwise made available by a the User, regardless of the form of that content.
1.8 - “Financial Aid” means financial aid provided to the Student by NSFAS (inclusive of lodging);
1.9 - “Grading Standards” means the standards applicable to Accommodation as defined in the Policy on the Minimum Norms and Standards for Student Housing at Public Universities;
1.10 - “Higher Education” means education under the Higher Education Act and shall include reference to a facility/institution offering such education where applicable;
1.11 - “Higher Education Act” means the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997;
1.12 - “Lease Agreement” means an agreement regulating the lease of the Accommodation and includes reference to the House Rules;
1.13 - “Media” means any images, video, audio or the like, typically in a digital format;
1.14 - “NSFAS” means the financial aid scheme established under and/or in accordance with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme Act 56 of 1999;
1.15 - “Policy on the Minimum Norms and Standards for Student Housing at Public Universities” means that policy published under the Higher Education Act;
1.16 - “Rating” means the grade applicable to the Accommodation in accordance with the Grading Standards and “Rated Accommodation” shall mean Accommodation that already holds a Rating;
1.17 - “Rental” means the rental fee payable, typically monthly, for the Accommodation in accordance with a Lease Agreement, exclusive of Top-up, inclusive of VAT, as the case may be;
1.18 - “Student” means a student registered with NSFAS as such and a recipient of Financial Aid;
1.19 - “Terms of Service” means the provisions of this document constituting the terms of service of use of this Website by the Accommodation Provider and/or the Student, as the case may be;
1.20 - “Top-up” means an amount paid personally by a Student in respect of desired Accommodation where the financial aid received from NSFAS (in respect of lodging) is less than the price of the desired Accommodation;
1.21 - “User” means a person registered to use this Website whether a Student or Accommodation Provider;
1.22 - “Website” or “Portal” means this website https://studentconnect.app
2. INTRODUCTION AND REGISTRATION
2.1 - This Website offers a platform for Accommodation Providers and Students respectively to offer and find Accommodation on terms and conditions suitable to them.
2.2 - the Users are required to register on this Website in order to make use of the offered services and must provide accurate and true information, may be required to provide supporting documentation and may have to provide further and/or updated information from time to time.
2.3 - The Website is a singular portal for NSFAS, Accreditation Agents, Accommodation Providers, institutions of Higher Education and Students and provides a repository for all communications and documentation in respect of Accommodation to Students. Any and/or certain aspects of Portal functionality may be suspended, amended or removed in the sole discretion of NSFAS.
2.4 - NSFAS provides this Website as a service to participating Accommodation Providers and Students.
2.5 - NSFAS may issue revisions to this Terms of Service from time to time and without notice to any the User.
3. ACCOMMODATION AND CODE OF CONDUCT
3.1 - Accommodation uploaded by the Accommodation Provider must comply with Grading Standards and be in accordance with the Grading Rating determined by the Accreditation Agent. Accommodation shall, as a minimum, comply with the Policy on the Minimum Norms and Standards for Student Housing at Public Universities.
3.2 - The Accommodation Provider may not reduce the specifications and/or services applicable to the Rating during active tenancy by a Student. The Grading of the Accommodation may be reconsidered (including lowering Grading or removal of accreditation) in the event of sufficient complaints and/or evidence of non-compliance by the Accommodation Provider.
3.3 - The Accommodation Provider and Student will further comply with the provisions of the Lease Agreement inclusive of the Code of Conduct.
4. ACCREDITATION, GRADING AND TOP-UPS
4.1 - Accreditation of Accommodation shall only be by NSFAS or a duly appointed Accreditation Agent and which agent shall inspect Accommodation in accordance with the Grading Standards and will provide a Rating in accordance therewith.
4.2 - Accommodation may only be offered for availability to Students subsequent to an Accreditation Agent having certified a Rating for such Accommodation.
4.3 - The Accreditation Agent will consider the reinstatement of the accreditation status if the Accommodation Provider is able to demonstrate that following remedial action, it is capable of meeting the requirements of the Grading Standards.
4.4 - Accommodation may also be subject to a Top-up payment based on any additional services and/or relevant factors applicable to the Accommodation in accordance with the Grading Standards.
4.5 - The Rental and/or Top-up payable for any Accommodation shall be determined according to Rating.
4.6 - Ratings, Rental and Top-ups may be subject to variation and/or discretion based inter alia on region, proximity to the higher education facility and other factors as may be set out in the Grading Standards.
4.7 - Accreditation of Accommodation shall be carried out in accordance with the fee structure in the table below as amended from time to time. The fee structure below is applicable per Accommodation. The Portal will auto generate an invoice for the Accommodation Provider to effect payment. Such payment shall be done through the secure payment gateway imbedded in the Portal.
FEE PER BED
1 to 20 beds
21 to 50 beds
51 to 100 beds
5. RENTAL, ADMINISTRATION FEE AND TOP-UPS
5.1 - Upon conclusion of a Lease Agreement, the Student irrevocably authorises payment of the Rental by NSFAS and NSFAS accordingly guarantees payment of the Rental payable by the Student under the Lease Agreement for so long as such Student is a recipient of Financial Aid, inclusive of lodging, from NSFAS. NSFAS will deduct the Administration Fee, as dealt with below, from each and every Rental fee so paid over.
5.2 - Accommodation Providers pay the Administration Fee of 5% (five percent), deemed to be inclusive of VAT where the Accommodation Provider is not a registered VAT vendor. Top-ups are not subject to the Administration Fee.
5.3 - Top-ups shall be paid by the Student to the Accommodation Provider at the beginning of each semester (in advance) and shall be paid directly by the Student to the Accommodation Provider. NSFAS is not responsible or liable for any late, short and/or missed Top-up payments.
5.4 - Any fees and/or expenses and/or costs incurred by the Student over and above the Financial Aid for lodging are solely for the account of the Student and are to be agreed between the Accommodation Provider and the Student.
6.1 - Except when required by law, all payments made by the Accommodation Provider to the Website are non-refundable.
6.2 - Certain refund requests for Administration Fees may be considered by the Website on a case-by-case basis and granted at the sole discretion of the Website.
7. ADVERTISING OF ACCOMMODATION
7.1 - Details and descriptions of Accommodation and/or related Media may only be uploaded and/or otherwise be available for viewing by Students subsequent to Rating and shall be accurate and true. The Grading Rating and Top-up applicable will be processed and uploaded by the Accreditation Agent.
7.2 - Date/s of availability for viewing and/or lease of the Accommodation must be specified.
7.3 - Media may not infringe on the rights of third parties and may be restricted in size, quality and format (per NSFAS directions).
8. LEASE AGREEMENT AND HOUSE RULES
8.1 - Accommodation Providers and Students shall electronically conclude a Lease Agreement. NSFAS shall not pay Rental under any other agreement.
8.2 - Students shall be subject to the Code of Conduct.
8.3 - Students shall have 48 (forty-eight) hours to conclude a Lease Agreement following electronic acceptance of selected Accommodation, failing which, the Accommodation shall again be available for selection by another Student.
9. STAR RATINGS, COMMUNICATIONS, COMPLAINTS AND DISPUTES
9.1 - NSFAS may introduce a “star rating” system whereby Students and Accommodation Providers are able to rate each other subsequent to the termination of a Lease Agreement between them. One (1) to five (5) stars may be given and are intended to be an indicator of satisfaction with that other party for third parties to view. Star ratings are discretionary and subjective to the rating party but, if abused in the sole discretion of NSFAS, may be amended, substituted or removed.
9.2 - All communications between the Users, Accreditation Agent and NSFAS shall be by way of the Website, inclusive of complaints, notices under this Terms of Service and the like but excluding notices under a Lease Agreement unless otherwise agreed.
9.3 - New communications will appear in a the User’s “inbox” on the Portal and the electronic communications on the Website shall be the preferred method of communication.
9.4 - Complaints by a Student may only relate to an alleged failure by Accommodation Provider to comply with the provisions of this Terms of Service (for example, a material breach of these Terms and Conditions by an Accommodation Provider). Complaints should not be false, frivolous, trivial and/or in respect of items or relate to aspects already addressed by the Accommodation Provider in the Lease Agreement.
9.5 - Student complaints must be addressed to the Accommodation Provider for comment or reply before referral to the Accreditation Agent for resolution.
9.6 - Disputes in respect of Accommodation Ratings, failure to be accredited and unresolved Student complaints (see 8.5 above) may be referred to the Accreditation Agent for resolution within 7 (seven) days of such dispute having arisen, an Accommodation Provider being notified of a failure to be accredited or a Student’s complaint remaining unresolved using the electronic procedure provided on this Website. In the exercising of its decision, the Accreditation Agent may at its discretion interview the Accommodation Provider, inspect the Accommodation and may consider such other advice and evidence as it deems fit and shall thereafter issue its decision.
9.7 - Any disputes falling outside the scope of provided procedures may be referred to arbitration in accordance with the provisions of the Arbitration Act.
10. YOUR RIGHT TO POST CONTENT
10.1 - The Portal allows you to post Content. you are responsible for the Content that you post to the Website, including its legality, reliability, and appropriateness.
10.2 - By posting Content to the Website, you grant the Website the right and license to use, modify, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce, and distribute such Content on and through the Website. You retain any and all of your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Website and you are responsible for protecting those rights. You agree that this Terms of Service includes the right for the Website to make your Content available to other users of the Website, who may also use your Content subject to this Terms of Service.
10.3 - You represent and warrant that: (i) the Content is yours (you own it) or you have the right to use it and grant the Website the rights and license as provided in this Terms of Service, and (ii) the posting of your Content on or through the Website does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights or any other rights of any person.
10.4 - Content Restrictions
The Website is not responsible for the Content of its Users. You expressly understand and agree that you are solely responsible for the Content and for all activity that occurs under your account, whether done so by you or any third person using your account.
10.5 - You may not transmit any Content that is unlawful, offensive, upsetting, intended to disgust, threatening, libellous, defamatory, obscene or otherwise objectionable. Examples of such objectionable Content include, but are not limited to, the following:
10.6 - The Website reserves the right, but not the obligation, to, in its sole discretion, determine whether or not any Content is appropriate and complies with this Terms of Service, refuse or remove this Content. The Website further reserves the right to make formatting and edits and change the manner of any Content. The Website can also limit or revoke the use of the Website if you post such objectionable Content. As the Website cannot control all content posted by users and/or third parties on the Website, you agree to use the Website at your own risk. you understand that by using the Website you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, incorrect or objectionable, and you agree that under no circumstances will the Website be liable in any way for any content, including any errors or omissions in any content, or any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of your use of any content.
11. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
11.1 - To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, in no event shall the Website or its suppliers be liable for any special, incidental, indirect, or consequential damages whatsoever (including, but not limited to, damages for loss of profits, loss of data or other information, for business interruption, for personal injury, loss of privacy arising out of or in any way related to the use of or inability to use the Website, third-party software and/or third-party hardware used with the Website, or otherwise in connection with any provision of this Terms of Service), even if the Website or any supplier has been advised of the possibility of such damages and even if the remedy fails of its essential purpose.
11.2 - Some states do not allow the exclusion of implied warranties or limitation of liability for incidental or consequential damages, which means that some of the above limitations may not apply. In these states, each party's liability will be limited to the greatest extent permitted by law.
11.3 - “AS IS” and “AS AVAILABLE” Disclaimer
The Website is provided to you "AS IS" and "AS AVAILABLE" and with all faults and defects without warranty of any kind. To the maximum extent permitted under applicable law, the Website, on its own behalf and on behalf of its Affiliates and its and their respective licensors and service providers, expressly disclaims all warranties, whether express, implied, statutory or otherwise, with respect to the Website, including all implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement, and warranties that may arise out of course of dealing, course of performance, usage or trade practice. Without limitation to the foregoing, the Website provides no warranty or undertaking, and makes no representation of any kind that it will meet your requirements, achieve any intended results, be compatible or work with any other software, applications, systems or services, operate without interruption, meet any performance or reliability standards or be error free or that any errors or defects can or will be corrected.
11.4 - Without limiting the foregoing, neither the Website nor any of its providers make any representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied: (i) as to the operation or availability of the Website, or the information, content, and materials or products included thereon; (ii) that the Website will be uninterrupted or error-free; (iii) as to the accuracy, reliability, or currency of any information or content provided through the Website; or (iv) that the Website, its servers, the content, or e-mails sent from or on behalf of the Website are free of viruses, scripts, trojan horses, worms, malware, timebombs or other harmful components.
11.5 - Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion of certain types of warranties or limitations on applicable statutory rights of a consumer, so some or all of the above exclusions and limitations may not apply to you. But in such a case the exclusions and limitations set forth in this section shall be applied to the greatest extent enforceable under applicable law.
12.1 - We may terminate or suspend your account immediately, without prior notice or liability, for any reason whatsoever, including without limitation if you breach these Terms of Service. Upon termination, your right to use the Website will cease immediately. If you wish to terminate your account, you may simply deregister from the Website.
12.2 - Such deregistration from the Platform will however not have any effect on the continued and comprehensive functioning or legitimacy of any lawful rights which the parties may have at the time of said termination with the Website.
12.3 - In the event of deregistration, the Website will remove you from the Portal.