A day in the life of a housing officer (Duties and skills)
Updated 9 August 2023
If you're passionate about property management and want to work in a people-facing job, then the role of a housing officer may be ideal for you. As a housing officer, you help people submit housing applications, arrange accommodation and support them in housing associations. Learning about a typical day in this job can help you better understand its duties and requirements. In this article, you'll find out what a housing officer is and what a day in the life of a housing officer looks like, discover their daily duties and explore their key skills.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
What is a housing officer?
A housing officer manages and looks after rental properties. They typically work for local government or housing associations. The role requires strong customer service and administration skills plus you'll need to pass enhanced background checks. Depending on their tasks for the day, housing officers may work in an office or may visit clients' homes. The role presents officers with attractive advancement and specialisation opportunities. For example, some housing officers specialise in homelessness or anti-social behaviour. Others prefer advancing within housing management to become regional housing managers.
A day in the life of a housing officer
Reviewing a day in the life of a housing officer allows you to visualise what it's like to work in this role. This helps you decide if you're interested in pursuing this diverse job where your workdays are split between an office environment and meeting with residents and government officials in houses and flats. Here are some responsibilities that a housing officer may handle during a typical day at work:
Checking emails and scheduling
A typical day for a housing officer usually starts with checking their email and any messages that colleagues or tenants have left for them. They may review their schedule for the day or week to determine tasks that require urgent attention, such as residency issues. During this time, they may respond to calls from service users.
Answering resident queries
During the first hour or two of their day, housing officers frequently focus on answering resident queries. This may involve handling and processing information about properties that require repairs. These queries may also involve requests where service users ask officers to help them submit paperwork or provide ongoing residential process support.
Conducting or scheduling estate inspections
Housing officers perform estate inspections to collect information about flats or houses. They conduct these inspections periodically to ensure that their maintenance and management efforts are effective. There are several aspects that housing officers prioritise during estate inspections. Most importantly, they make sure residents understand their responsibilities in relation to the property. During a typical inspection, they consider repairs in communal areas, garden maintenance, vandalism or pest infestation. Officers working for larger organisations may schedule an estate team to perform these inspections.
Housing officers complete and analyse paperwork that they prepared while visiting residents. This helps them and the organisations they work for control and take care of things that require attention, such as reminding residents to keep bins and common areas clean. Depending on a task's urgency, an officer may label it as a minor or major issue. In addition, if a resident asks for help, housing officers may help them complete their social housing paperwork.
Resolving residency issues
Part of a housing officer's responsibilities is to listen to residents and process any complaints or comments they have. In addition, officers may resolve any social housing issues residents experience, like anti-social behaviour, which might otherwise produce tension between service users and their neighbours. As a result, housing officers make sure they provide service users with a safe environment to live in.
Meeting with local authorities
Occasionally, housing officers attend meetings with local authorities. They may meet with police, social services, landlords and community mental health practitioners to discuss specific residents and issues they've experienced or caused. Thanks to their collaborative effort, these representatives develop improvement plans to provide residents with support, engage them in the day-to-day upkeep of properties and ensure that flats and houses remain tidy and functional.
Advocating for service users
In addition to their management duties, housing officers work closely with residents or prospective service users. They may schedule appointments periodically with people who want to live in social housing accommodation. In this case, an officer's role is to build a relationship with a user, learn about their needs and inform them about the responsibilities of using the housing service. Thanks to their expert understanding of the system, housing officers may advocate for people and help them secure a permanent place to live.
Key skills for housing officers
Successful housing officers are administration experts who know how to handle complex or unexpected social situations and residential issues. To perform their job, they use a range of skills, including:
Understanding of motivation techniques
Housing officers use their customer service and interpersonal abilities to work with tenants and encourage them to actively engage in the daily upkeep of properties. During inspections or property showings, they may use various motivation techniques, such as asking for the tenants' input. They may also support them in gaining access to resources or help from local government to inspire their lifestyle improvement.
Housing officers use housing management software every day. These digital tools help them safely store and manage tenants' information, including their housing applications. In addition, the software helps with scheduling repairs and managing contractors. Whenever a housing officer is out for meetings and inspections, the office's administrative staff may use the management software to record requests, complaints or questions that callers have. Thanks to the tools' accessibility, officers may respond to the messages remotely, so basic IT skills are a requirement in this role.
Knowledge of housing and benefits issues
The issues within social housing often differ from situations and problems handled by private landlords. Thanks to their understanding of benefits, support and societal issues, housing officers can develop effective strategies to deal with challenging tenants. They also use this competency to help trusted residents who are struggling and require access to additional social benefits.
Requirements for housing officers
If you want to become a housing officer, creating a CV that demonstrates your educational background and understanding of the housing system is crucial. Here are some requirements that employers may want you to meet to qualify for this role:
You can become a housing officer by completing a university course or apprenticeship. Some people also work up to this role, starting with an entry-level role working for a local government or supporting social housing officials. If you want to pursue a course, focus on foundation courses in housing studies, social policy or building surveying. To qualify for them, schools require you to have at least one A level. Undergraduate degrees usually require at least three A levels, with maths and English at GCSE.
To work in housing management, you require at least some experience in a customer-facing role. For entry-level roles, employers frequently accept candidates with volunteering experience in a housing charity or tenant association. Any experience with benefits programmes and housing paperwork is also beneficial
If you want to apply directly for a housing officer role, you may improve your chances by completing a relevant certificate. An example of a certificate to consider is a level-3 certificate in housing practice. When choosing a course or certificate programme, make sure it has accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Housing, a regulatory body that also offers a range of housing qualifications.
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