Adding value to social housing – a guide to the role of a housing officer

6 mins
Sellick  Partnership

By Sellick Partnership

If you are looking to become employable as a housing officer, it is important to learn about the skills you will need, as well as your responsibilities and prospects in the role. By becoming a housing officer, you will play a key role in supporting tenant/landlord relationships within local authority and housing association properties. But, more importantly, this role is vital in supporting people to live comfortably in their homes.

Housing officers have a crucial role to play in looking after rented properties for local authorities and housing associations, while equally supporting tenants; ensuring their rights are protected and their wellbeing is always taken into consideration. This is an important role with a lot of responsibility, and offers strong prospects for career advancement and development.

If you are considering applying for housing officer roles, it is important to get all the facts on what they entail, and what the entry requirements are. Here, we break down the basics of becoming a housing officer to help you make the right decisions about your career.

What does a housing officer do?

The central responsibility of a housing officer is to help manage tenant/landlord relationships on behalf of housing associations, local authorities, charities, and private sector employers, facilitating successful tenancies by ensuring tenants are properly supported at all times.

A standard housing officer job description may include all of the following day-to-day tasks:

  • Managing a regional patch of properties on behalf of a local authority, housing association or charity to ensure tenants can sustain their tenancies.
  • Carrying out viewings and tenancy sign ups to social housing properties. 
  • Setting rents, administering rent collection and creating policies to ensure tenants do not fall into arrears.
  • Regularly inspecting properties and organising maintenance work for broken lifts, clogged drains and malfunctioning boilers, as well as handling applications for housing improvements.
  • Managing nuisance orders, addressing anti-social behaviour and dealing with broken tenancy agreements, including carrying out evictions where necessary.
  • Helping vulnerable tenants and homeless people to get advice on benefits, universal credits, and working closely with third party agencies. 
  • Gathering statistical information, preparing reports and paperwork, and attending administrative meetings.

Housing officer roles are largely patch based and will often require visits to specific properties and tenants' homes. Some housing officers will also be expected to attend court to seal with cases of rent arrears or anti-social behaviour, unless they have a more specialist team that will deal with this

Housing officers play a crucial role in helping their local neighbourhood housing office to foster better relationships with their tenants, ensuring that tenancy and leasehold agreements are upheld by both parties, and providing an important first point of contact for vulnerable tenants who require special support.

Statistics from the National Careers Service indicate that the average annual starting salary for housing officers is around £27,000 for a typical working week of 37 to 39 hours. This may rise to around £35,000 for a more experienced senior housing officer. Your starting salary will depend on your career background and location, so you will need to check local vacancies for a more accurate indicator of how much you could earn in your area of the country.

How to become a housing officer

There are numerous pathways to securing a housing officer role with a local authority or housing association, and there are no specific academic qualifications that are essential for working in this field. 

Some examples of the most popular routes to housing officer employment include:

  • Completing a university degree or foundation degree in housing studies, social policy, building surveying or another closely related discipline.
  • Completing a college course such as the Level 2 or 3 Certificate in Housing Practice.
  • Completing a housing property assistant intermediate apprenticeship, followed by a housing and property management advanced apprenticeship.
  • Applying directly for a role as a housing administrator assistant, while working towards a Level 2 or 3 Certificate in Housing Practice via on-the-job training.
  • Looking for a housing association offering graduate trainee schemes to gain direct experience of the role, while potentially working towards a professional qualification.

It is possible to secure a housing association role without going down any of these routes, depending on whether you can demonstrate relevant skills and experience in another way. While graduate applicants may be looked at favourably when it comes to larger housing associations, experience will always outweigh qualifications.

No matter which route you take, you should be able to demonstrate the following skills and capabilities, all of which are essential for success in the housing profession:

  • Strong interpersonal skills, including patience, empathy and the ability to remain calm under pressure, as well as the capacity to work as part of a team.
  • An interest in working with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • A customer-centric approach to service.
  • Administrative competence and keen attention to detail.
  • Good numeracy skills, including an understanding of economics and accounting.
  • Flexibility, adaptability and self-motivation.
  • IT proficiency and the ability to quickly learn new software packages.
  • Knowledge of housing management legislation, building construction issues and other relevant government policies.
  • Ideally, a full driving licence, as you will need to travel for your work.

Career prospects for housing officers

If you are successful in your career as a housing officer, there are numerous routes and opportunities that may help you to advance and develop your skills and career:

  • You are likely to start out in an entry-level post as a tenancy support officer, housing assistant, customer service adviser or housing administrator.
  • As you gain experience within the role, you will be able to advance to become a senior housing officer or team leader, based on experience and training.
  • Once you have gained significant seniority, you can become a housing manager, leading a team of housing officers and gaining authority over decisions relating to finance, strategy and organisational policy.
  • With many years of experience, you can become a regional manager, division head, housing director or chief executive.

Each of these roles offers the scope to specialise in a particular area, such as working with vulnerable people or leading urban renewal projects. Because housing organisations and local authority bodies deliver important work in various areas, these roles will give you a chance to make a real difference in your career, while also building your skills and improving your earning power over time.

Find out more

If you are looking to start a career as a housing officer, or require support in finding the right housing officer role for you, take a look at Sellick Partnership's housing management recruitment hub. We offer a complete recruitment service, and can help you find roles with housing associations, local governments and charities on a permanent, contract or temporary basis.

Visit our hub to browse the latest housing officer vacancies, or get in touch with our Housing & Property Services team today on 01332 542580.