Our parent organisation, inCommunity has been supporting people experiencing homelessness since 1982. During this time, we have supported thousands of young people and families on their journey out of the homelessness system. The reasons that people entered the homelessness system were varied, however something that many homeless people had in common was also a huge barrier to exiting homelessness – perception of RISK as a tenant.
Understanding this perception of risk was the first step in developing an appropriate response. In order to gain a better understanding of what property managers meant when they spoke of risk, we asked them. We spent three months actively engaging the industry which involved:
This is training package that teaches and assesses competency against core skillsets required for successful tenancies. Property managers told us that they would be more likely to prioritise applications from the Tenancy Skills Institute graduates over applicants who had not completed this training. We consider that for any tenancy skills package to provide any real benefit, there must be industry acceptance. By addressing the needs of property managers, we create real pathways for future tenants, regardless of their background.
Our survey asked property managers and agents what they thought were the essential skillsets for successful tenancies. We asked a variety of questions, and the results were very clear.
told us Effective Communication Skills were essential for a positive tenancy
said that all tenants needed to understand their Rights and Responsibilities
agreed that Maintaining and Cleaning a Property were essential skillsets
said that Managing Finances and Budgeting were significant issues for tenants
The first stage of implementing the Tenancy Skills Institute is industry engagement. We believe it is essential to invest in engaging with local property managers and agents to inform them of the product and encourage them to champion it. Our goal is industry acceptance in any region where the Tenancy Skills Institute will be delivered.
The Tenancy Skills Institute delivers a competency-based training package, delivered face to face in a group setting. The ideal minimum of students in training groups is ten (10) as this balances delivery costs with the quality of training. The maximum recommended number of students is twenty-five (25). Class sizes are determined based on the needs and capacity of students. The training package is suitable for people of all ages and backgrounds. Using a competency-based approach means that it may take some people longer than others to be marked as competent.
The core modules take ten (10) hours to complete. Students who are not assessed as competent during this time are given time to develop the required skills, and are then re-assessed. Once all modules have been successfully completed, the Tenancy Skills Institute issues a certificate of completion to graduates. Graduates submit the certificate with future tenancy applications.
Our training content covers four key skillsets for a successful tenancy including communication skills, understanding of rights and responsibilities as a tenant, best methods of maintaining and cleaning a property, and practiced ability in managing household finances and budgets.
A variety of training and assessment techniques are used and students are directed to existing resources such as; State Tenancies Authority Fact Sheets and Videos, and ASIC Money Smart tools for budgeting. The Tenancy Skills Institute training package is more comprehensive than any other training package that we could find across Australia and internationally.
In Queensland close to one third of all dwellings are rental properties, with the majority of these being managed by the ‘for profit’ sector. The vacancy rate across the state is varied, with many regions having a vacancy rate lower than 2.5%. It is difficult to be approved for a property with minimal tenancy skills, especially when the vacancy rate is low. Applicants need to prove that they are the best person for the vacancy. In some regions, close to 44% of bonds in 2015 were new.
Property managers pointed out the importance that is placed on specialised or mandatory training for things such as driving a car, getting a job, parenting, refining your music or artistic skills. However there was no accredited, competency based training for tenants. They explained, by completing competency based training an applicant would increase their chance of a securing and sustaining a private tenancy.
Every Queenslander will benefit from tenancy skills training. The needs identified by property managers and agents in our trial locations is not unique. Feedback received tells us that this program would benefit all regions across Queensland, therefore our goal is to have the Tenancy Skills Institute training available across the state. To this end, we have developed an 'Accredited Trainer’ package and are seeking community organisations to join us as we roll out this unique training.
Our training package will be delivered by accredited trainers across Queensland, with a local real estate industry engagement strategy developed in each region, including:
Tenancy Skills Institute launches and biennial events
Regional champions who will be the key contact in each region
Ongoing support for our trainers and their regions
Centralised moderation of assessments to ensure consistent quality
17,000 graduates in the first five (5) years
Tenancy Skills Institute aims to create win / win outcomes for tenants, landlords and property managers alike. We need your support to help make the Tenancy Skills Institute training a success. We are looking for like-minded organisations and companies to support our mission by delivering this groundbreaking program in every region, as accredited trainers. If you are interested in becoming an Accredited Trainer or if you would like more information, get in touch with us today!