Housing officers assist tenants in local authority and housing association properties to ensure good tenancies.
As a housing officer, you will administer housing and related services for housing associations, local governments, charities, and private sector organisations. Your duties will involve managing a particular section of the housing, keeping in contact with tenants on a regular basis, reviewing rental income, and dealing with maintenance and neighbour irritation issues.
Working with specific clients, such as the homeless, ethnic groups, or people with disabilities, is a routine procedure. For example, you might lead a team of housing officers, rent arrears workers, and tenant support officers and participate in more strategic projects.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- assess the needs of people applying for housing
- give people vacant accommodation
- carry out regular inspections
- deal with anti-social behaviour and broken tenancy agreements
- refer people to advice on benefits and welfare
- set rents and deal with payments and arrears
- gather statistical information and prepare reports
- attend meetings
- arrange for things like broken lifts and boilers to be repaired
- work with other agencies like social services.
- Starting salaries for housing assistants apprentices typically range from £21,000 to £24,000.
- Housing officers usually earn in the region of £24,000 to £28,000, depending on the type of organisation, qualifications and experience.
- Housing manager salaries range from £30,000 to £45,000, rising to £60,000 or more for senior manager, head of housing or director level posts.
You’ll generally work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Evening meetings with tenants or residents may be necessary, and shift work to suit a 24-hour schedule is standard if you work in a supported housing complex. Many companies provide flexible work hours, job sharing, and career breaks.
You could work at a client’s home or in an office.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice housing officer include:
- Level 2 Housing and Property Management Assistant – Entry requirements for this level include some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship. This qualification will take 12 months to complete.
- Level 4 Senior Housing and Property Management Professional – Entry requirements for this level include 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship. This qualification will take 18 months to complete.
On a housing officer apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- customer service skills
- business management skills
- administration skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- knowledge of economics and accounting
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- the ability to work well with others
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently.
Local governments have traditionally been the principal employers of housing professionals. However, the recent transfer of social/council housing to large-scale voluntary transfer (LSVT) organisations has resulted in housing associations being the dominant employment.
Other typical employers include:
- charitable bodies
- registered social landlords
- voluntary organisations
- public service departments, e.g., within social services or health authorities
- private sector and commercial bodies.
If accepted into an apprentice trainee programme, you will generally get experience in various housing departments and may be encouraged to pursue a CIH-accredited professional certificate.
Most businesses give in-house training or contract with training agencies to conduct seminars on health and safety, dealing with difficult tenants, neighbourhood disruption, and regulatory updates.
Consider asking your employer for help in obtaining a professional certification. If you wish to become a fully chartered member, you may study for the MSc Housing Studies or other postgraduate certificates or Masters degrees recognised by the CIH.
Most of these courses cover APEX, the CIH practice requirement for membership. If your chosen course does not include APEX, you must complete it via CIH.
At least 20 hours of continuous professional development (CPD) must be completed each year.
You’ll start as a tenancy support officer, housing assistant, customer service advisor, or housing administrator. With experience and training, any of these occupations may lead to progression and promotion to senior management.
Specialisation in topics such as homelessness assessment, anti-social behaviour, special needs housing, tenant support and liaison, allocations, rent accounting, or urban renewal and regeneration might help you further your career. For example, you could work your way up the management ladder to become a housing manager in control of a team of housing officers. A senior housing officer or team leader may act as an intermediary in certain organisations.
More senior housing positions are projected to focus on finance, strategy, R&D, and policymaking. With sufficient management experience, you may advance to regional manager, head of service, housing director, or chief executive.