I’m really sick but unable to get to the doctor. I need to apply for special consideration and am thinking of just changing an old medical certificate and using that with the new dates. It’s my real doctor and I’m sure he would vouch for me. Is this okay?
Stuck in bed
Dear Stuck in Bed,
I strongly advise against using false or altered medical certificates ever. This is considered fraud, and this isn’t just against University rules – it’s also against the law, federal law, and potentially carries the risk of a prison sentence of twelve months, if prosecuted by the police.
The University treats this as Academic Misconduct and conducts an investigation. Faculties routinely check the authenticity of medical documents with medical practices, so what may seem like a harmless way to gain special consideration may find you suspended for a semester or two, or even at risk of being kicked out of Uni.
If you are stressed or struggling to the point you consider obtaining or creating a false medical certificate, your best option is to talk to someone about what’s going on. You could speak to an adviser in your Faculty, a Counsellor at the University’s Counselling and Psychological Services, or an SRC Caseworker. You can help explore other ways you may be able to manage your study load without risking far more serious consequences in the long term.
If you are too sick to move you can get an after hours doctor to visit your home. Check for details on the Internet. Another option if your regular doctor is not available is to look for a medical centre nearby or attend the casualty unit at your local hospital.
There are so many bits of paper involved in renting a house. Some of these can end up being worth thousands of dollars to you, so it’s definitely worthwhile knowing about what to keep and what to throw. If you might lose these pieces of paper, you could scan and email them to yourself.
Contracts and Leases
You should get a lease or contract outlining the conditions of the home you want to rent. This lease/contract should be written in English and signed by the landlord. It is also important that you know your landlord or agent’s full name, and where you (or the Sheriff) can contact them. Please read your lease / contract BEFORE you sign it. Regardless of whether you do not understand or agree to a clause in the lease/contract, if you have signed it, you are bound by its conditions. You should definitely keep a copy of your contract/lease.
You should get a receipt for any cash or bank cheques that you give to the landlord. Your receipt should have the amount that you paid, why you paid it (eg, bond, rent for February etc), and what the address of the home is. The landlord should also sign it. Again, it must be in English. If you have paid by a bank transfer you should still ask for a receipt. There are some situations where the landlord is not required to give you a receipt, but there is no harm in asking. You should definitely keep all of your receipts. It is not necessary to keep the bills themselves, after you have paid them and received a receipt.
The Condition Report is what you agree, with the landlord, as being the condition of the property at the time that you moved in. If there is damage to the property, beyond reasonable wear and tear, you will be liable to pay for its repair, unless it is noted in the Condition Report. In addition to the Condition Report it is a good idea to take photos of the property (eg, each wall, the floors, the oven, the windows, etc), showing any broken or dirty items, and email them to your landlord. This will “timestamp” those photos and will allow you to refer to them at a later date to show that whatever damage you are being blamed for, was already there when you moved in. You should definitely keep a copy of the Condition Report and the photos.
It is a good idea to email your communications to the landlord. This will give you a record of the time and date that you spoke, plus what was said. If you have a telephone conversation with the landlord it is a good idea to send a follow up email that might reiterate the outcome of your phone conversation. It’s a good idea to keep these on your email account.
The first thing is to find the receipt that you received when you paid your bond. If you did not get a receipt, it will be difficult to prove that you did pay the money. After all, why would you hand a large sum of money to someone you do not know or trust, without getting a receipt. If you transferred the money or paid by cheque or money order there might be a paper trail. If you paid by cash in front of someone else, you might be able to ask them to be a witness for you. All of these options are not as good as a receipt.
The SRC has caseworkers trained in many different aspects of accommodation laws. You can email your questions to email@example.com, or if you prefer a face-to-face appointment call 9660 5222 to book a suitable time.
Students' Representative Council, University of Sydney
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