What does a housing officer do?
Housing officers are usually responsible for a particular estate or group of properties. The role involves supporting tenants and encouraging them to take part in tenancy groups that help shape the community in which they live.
This job would typically include:
- assessing the needs of people applying for housing
- allocating vacant accommodation
- carrying out regular inspections to make sure all properties are in a good state of repair
- dealing with anti-social behaviour and broken tenancy agreements
- referring tenants to appropriate sources of benefits and welfare advice
- setting rents and dealing with payments and arrears
- arranging for legal action to be taken where necessary
- gathering statistical information and preparing reports
- attending tenants' meetings
This role would involve working closely with other agencies, such as social services departments and welfare rights organisations.
What do I need to do to become a housing officer?
There are no set entry requirements to become a housing officer, although employers expect a good standard of literacy and numeracy. Some may ask for GCSEs at grades 9 to 4/A* to C and many housing officers have qualifications at A level standard or higher.
Some employers may prefer you to have a foundation degree or a degree in a relevant subject, such as housing, community development, social policy or building surveying.
You may be able to get into this career by first working for a housing organisation as an administrative assistant or housing assistant. With training, you could then progress to become a housing officer.
Another option is to take a qualification at college, accredited by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), such as the Level 2 Certificate in Housing Practice. This would help you to learn some of the skills and knowledge needed for the job. You can do the Certificate whether you are employed in housing or not.
If you already have a degree (not necessarily in housing), you may be able to apply for a place on a graduate trainee scheme with a housing organisation.
Practical experience in housing work would also be useful. Employers would expect you to have some understanding of the issues that tenants may face, such as welfare rights, substance misuse or homelessness. You could gain some experience by arranging a work placement in a local authority housing department or with a housing association; by volunteering with a housing charity, such as Shelter, or by getting involved with a tenants’ association.
As you would be working with vulnerable adults, you may need to pass background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Previous convictions or cautions may not automatically prevent you from working in this role.
- GCSEs at grades 9 to 4/A* to C
- A levels
- Level 2 Certificate in Housing Practice
Where to find out more
Where could I be working?
You would be mainly office-based, but would also spend some of your time out of the office visiting tenants, inspecting properties and attending meetings.