Tuesday, 15 June 2021
From housing benefit applications, dealing with tenants, to property inspections, our Tenant Support Officers at Reside are key to keeping everything running smoothly on a day to day basis. In her blog, Tenant Support Officer Cheryl Harris talks about the challenges and rewards of the job.
“I joined Reside in March 2020 with 18 years’ experience in the housing sector. It’s fair to say that no one day is the same. It’s working with the tenants and support providers that really makes my job worthwhile. My patch is big and stretches from around Cardiff to Leicester and Watford – it’s lucky that I love driving! I’m responsible for 60 properties, some of which have 10 tenants while some have two. I visit them twice a year for a full property inspection. Each inspection has to be planned in advance, and it can take some time depending on the size of the property.
One of the first tenants I worked with at Reside was a young woman who was very distressed, shouting and screaming, kicking doors and swearing so loudly, neighbours could hear it through the walls. She was also abusing her support staff and drinking heavily. It reached a point where a number of agencies were involved, such as Environmental Health, the Community Mental Health Team and Social Services.
With the help she received, the tenant was able to change her behaviour and her alcohol consumption, and I am glad to say that the complaints stopped. I visited her sometime after and I told her how proud I was of her, and how much I appreciated all of her hard work and effort to turn things around.
The most rewarding part of the job is building the relationship with the tenants and the support providers. Ultimately though the best part of my job is working with the Tenant Support team at Reside – we keep each other going and lift each other up on down days. And as with any busy job like mine, the hardest part is trying to fit the amount of work into three days a week. Our team of Tenant Support Officers really do have a lot to do and a great deal of responsibility, so it’s a challenge.
In the early days, with a law degree under my belt, I had almost finished my exams for my legal practice course when I woke up one morning and couldn’t imagine myself being a solicitor – so I quit. I went straight into housing and never looked back. My legal background means I understand issues around things like conveyancing, boundary disputes, covenants, leases etc. I’ve got really broad knowledge and it has come in handy over the years. It wasn’t wasted time studying law. I’ve loved my career in housing far more than if I’d been a solicitor!”