Variety is often cited as one of the key attributes that people value in their job, and I would say that my career in housing has definitely delivered in that respect!

I began my career as a graduate trainee in the housing department of a local council, where I had the opportunity to work in different teams across the service. My first rotation was with the private rented team, dealing with landlord registration and HMO licensing. I then worked in the capital investment team assisting with funding for energy efficiency measures and collating housing stock data for the Scottish Housing Regulator. My final rotation was working with the homelessness service where I helped with housing options and client support.

Frontline experience

At the end of my traineeship, I secured a role as a housing assistant and then later as a housing officer supporting tenants with rent arrears and general tenancy management/support. As I am sure anyone who has worked in this role will tell you, it is both highly rewarding and very difficult at the same time. You often come across the most vulnerable people in society and those who have slipped through the cracks in the system. People may believe that the role of housing officer is limited to dealing with the administration of housing, such as repairs and rent, but in reality you do so much more.

We all know that public services, such as social work and health, are stretched and so housing officers try to fill those gaps wherever possible. I have physically helped a hoarder to clear their property; advocated on behalf of a tenant to reduce their utility bills; and supported a vulnerable tenant in accessing social groups to manage their isolation.


Seeing the same issues coming up time and time again in my frontline role, I sought a move into strategy so that I could effect change to some of the structural issues in housing rather than firefighting the symptoms. I worked as an information officer and then later a strategy officer in the council's strategy and development team researching, drafting, and consulting on documents such as the Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan, Housing Need and Demand Assessment and Local Housing Strategy. Strategy can often be detached from how things work in the "real world", so I felt the benefit of my frontline experience in this role.

Following a relocation, I then worked with another local authority as an Empty Homes Officer. My role was to set up and establish an empty homes service, helping owners to bring empty properties back into use. This was a role I really enjoyed as it combined both strategy and frontline work which I had come to miss. There was a lot of problem solving and creative thinking involved, and you came across some very interesting people!


Throughout most of this time, I had been studying in the background for a law degree and secured a traineeship with Brodies LLP in 2021. I have recently just qualified as a solicitor into the real estate team, specialising in housebuilding and affordable housing, in particular. The role is also enabling me to use the knowledge and experience of planning and new build housing which I gained during my time in local authority strategic housing development.

Looking forward, I am excited to be back in the housing sphere and making use of my varied experience to support our clients in the delivery of new build housing of all tenures.

I would say that a career in housing is perfect for those seeking variety and fulfilment in their job.


Rebekah Caunt