Paul Tommasini remembers the time he encountered a light bulb moment that would not only help people struggling to enter the private rental market – but help property managers as well.
As CEO of inCommunity, a homelessness and housing service that helps people source accommodation, Tommasini is well aware of the challenges of those who face multiple barriers to accessing private housing.
He received his light bulb moment at a networking breakfast with the real estate industry and the community sector. The gathering was looking at ways of sustaining tenancies for people who were struggling.
“One of the principals of an agency at that meeting said something that really stuck with me and that was: ‘your clients are too risky for us’,” Tommasini recalls.
“It really got me thinking – we’re investing a lot of time and effort to creating outcomes for the people we’re working with but we’re still not getting them across the line because we’re actually looking at it the wrong way.”
THE TENANCY SKILLS INSTITUTE IS BORN
Tommasini says his organisation had been trying to address their clients’ barriers without considering the challenges property managers faced with these people in tenancies.
“When we started to unpack that a little bit, we realised fairly quickly if we could create something that met the needs of property managers and created better tenants for property managers … then it was going to make our job a lot easier. That was really the start of the Tenancy Skills Institute.”
Quite simply, the Tenancy Skills Institute trains tenants. It has developed a competency-based training package developed in partnership with the real estate industry that provides a course for potential tenants to prepare them for tenancies.
Using a VET training model, it looks very similar to a TAFE course. It covers effective communication, knowledge of rights and responsibilities, cleaning regimes for properties plus budgeting and managing finances.
The course is competency based and students must demonstrate their competencies before they are issued with a certificate. And yes, some have failed.
A GROWING IDEA
Tommasini says close to 200 agencies across Queensland have signed up as supporters and it costs nothing for an agency to become involved.
“It’s something that is very new – this is the only course like this anywhere in Australia and it’s the only one developed in partnership with the industry,” he says.
Listen to more from Paul Tommasini about how the Tenancy Skills Institute trains responsible renters on the REIQ Property Brief podcast (episode 10).