Housing officers supervise the day-to-day maintenance and management of rented properties that belong to local authorities or housing associations. In this role you’ll be in direct contact with people on a daily basis helping them to resolve any housing problems they may have.
The role involves managing a designated patch of housing and keeping in regular contact with tenants, looking after rental income and dealing with repairs and neighbour nuisance issues.
Housing managers/officers may work with specific clients, such as homeless people, minority groups or people with disabilities. They work within a strict but changing regulatory framework and are usually based in a central office or local neighbourhood housing office.
The manager role may involve line management responsibility for a team of housing officers, rent arrears staff and tenancy support officers and participation in more strategic projects.
- setting rents, administering their collection and developing policies to deal with, and minimize, arrears;
- interviewing tenants and giving advice on tenant-landlord relationships, house purchasing and benefits;
- inspecting properties;
- processing applications for housing improvements and repairs and communicating outcomes to tenants;
- managing improvement loans and grants and administering repair and maintenance programmes;
- managing nuisance orders, collecting information and referring cases to the neighbourhood nuisance team;
- preparing cases and attending court hearings;
- handling breaches of tenancy and leasehold agreements, which could culminate in carrying out evictions;
- dealing with abandoned tenancies, squatters and unauthorized occupiers;
- dealing with housing applications and the transfer of existing tenants;
- liaising with tenant groups, local authority councillors, property professionals and other support and welfare organizations,
- including social workers and estate agents;
- communicating with wardens, caretakers, cleaners and maintenance staff;
- encouraging and supporting tenants and residents groups and attending meetings as required;
- planning and implementing slum clearance and the demolition of unused properties;
- maintaining records and writing reports.
A housing officer is one of those jobs where there is no direct qualification required, and your personality and experience are likely to be more important. This means previous experience in a similar role will be helpful, whether it’s in a voluntary or paid position.
A degree in the following subjects may increase your chances:
- business or management studies;
- facilities management;
- land, estate or property management;
- politics, government, or public and social administration;
- sociology or social policy;
- urban studies.
- strong teamwork, interpersonal and organizational skills;
- sensitivity and empathy;
- an interest in working with diverse social groups;
- excellent communication skills (verbal and written);
- a customer-first approach to work;
- negotiation and influencing skills;
- leadership skills;
- the ability to adapt to different situations;
- self-motivation and tenacity;
- problem-solving skills;
- common sense and the ability to use initiative when making decisions; the ability to work under pressure and to meet deadlines;
- numeracy skills – for calculating rent arrears and service charges;
- IT skills.