About Unit Inspections

As explained in HCHA’s HCV Program Administrative Plan, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that all units subsidized under the Housing Choice Voucher Program meet a minimum standard of health and safety rules called Housing Quality Standards (HQS). To ensure compliance, HCHA or its contractors must inspect any unit a Voucher Holder wants to rent before they move in and as required thereafter. An HQS inspection ensures that all HCV Program units have adequate living space for the family, are structurally sound, provide the necessary habitability systems (electricity, plumbing, heating, appliances, etc.) and present no conditions that endanger health and safety. Owners and tenants can click here to view the complete HQS checklist.

Generally, HQS addresses the following areas:

  • Sanitation (facilities and condition)
  • Food preparation and refuse disposal
  • Space and security
  • Thermal environment
  • Illumination and electricity
  • Structure and materials
  • Interior air quality
  • Water supply
  • Lead-based paint
  • Access
  • Smoke detectors/carbon monoxide detector

To request an inspection or to reschedule an inspection, please click here.
The information below is a general summary of the types of inspections conducted by HCHA and its contractors. For more detailed information, see HCHA’s HCV Program Administrative Plan, the Participant Reference Guide or the HQS Inspection Guidebook.

New Unit Inspections

The initial inspection process begins when HCHA receives the completed forms from the Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) packet. The Inspections Department will contact the owner at the number provided with the RTA to schedule the inspection. The Inspection Department will make two attempts to schedule the appointment. If the owner has not scheduled the inspection after two attempts by the Inspection Department, HCHA will cancel the RTA and provide the voucher holder with new moving papers.

The voucher holder is usually not involved in the initial inspection process and only the owner or their agent may schedule the appointment. Most owners, however, remain in touch with the prospective tenant during the inspection process.

HCHA will notify the owner of any deficiencies within five days of the inspection. Once the owner has addressed the deficiencies, the owner must contact HCHA to schedule a re-inspection. If the owner does not schedule a re-inspection within 14 days of the previous failed inspection, HCHA will terminate the process and issue new moving papers to the family.

Biennial Inspections

HUD requires an inspection of all HCV Program participating units no later than 730 days after the previous full inspection. HCHA will notify the participant and owner of the biennial HQS inspection appointment via postal mail or email prior to the inspection deadline.

If an adult member of the household cannot be present during the scheduled appointment, the family can reschedule the appointment one time for up to seven days after the original appointment. If an adult member of the household fails to attend the original appointment or a rescheduled appointment, HCHA will automatically reschedule another appointment. If the participant fails to attend (or fails to make an adult representative available for) two scheduled inspections in a row without HCHA approval, HCHA will consider the family in violation of the family obligations and begin termination proceedings.

If a unit passes an inspection, no further action is necessary. If the unit fails an inspection, the owner and/or participant have 30 days to make the required repairs (24 hours for emergency items) and to pass re-inspection. Otherwise, HCHA may terminate the Housing Assistance Payment contract or abate the HA payments until the unit passes inspection. If the failed items are the fault of the participating family, HCHA will begin termination proceedings.

Re-inspections

To confirm HQS repairs, HCHA conducts re-inspections. For repairs that are the owner’s responsibility, the owner must notify HCHA of repairs that have been completed. If such repairs have not been made or if the re-inspection cannot be completed before the end of the correction period, for any reason, HCHA may terminate the HAP contract or abate the HAP effective the first of the month following the expiration of the correction period (including any extension).

In the case of family-caused violations, HCHA will begin termination proceedings. If HCHA is unable to gain entry to the unit in order to conduct the scheduled re-inspection, HCHA will consider the family to have violated its obligation to make the unit available for inspection and will begin termination proceedings.

At its sole discretion, HCHA may allow the owner and tenant to certify that certain repairs have been completed. This self-certification process is only available for biennial re-inspections where the unit failed with five or fewer deficiencies that are the owner’s responsibility to correct. Eligible owners will receive instructions and self-certification paperwork along with information about the unit’s deficiencies. All self-certification forms must be submitted with supporting documentation showing that the necessary repairs have been completed.

Where inspection deficiencies are the owner’s responsibility, HCHA will charge the owner a non‐refundable $75 fee for conducting a second re-inspection. The $75 fee must be paid to HCHA prior to scheduling the second re-inspection. HCHA requires that the owner or the owner’s authorized representative of the owner participate in such re-inspections.

Emergency Inspections

Serious deficiencies that threaten the health and safety of the participating family must be corrected within 24 hours. Upon discovery of an emergency deficiency during any type of inspection, the inspector will immediately notify the Owner and Participant of the situation either in person or by phone. HCHA will then perform a re-inspection of these deficiencies on the next business day.

If emergency deficiencies remain unresolved after the re-inspection, abatement of the HAP may occur (for deficiencies that are the responsibility of the Owner) or termination procedures may commence against the Participant (for deficiencies that are the responsibility of the Participant). Abatement or termination processes will proceed until the property passes inspection.

Below is a list of some of the most commonly cited emergency deficiencies.

  • Any property determined uninhabitable by a city agency, including those caused by fire, flood or other natural disasters
  • Any condition that jeopardizes the security of the unit (e.g., missing or broken locks on exterior doors)
  • Major plumbing leaks, a waterlogged ceiling or a floor in imminent danger of falling
  • Natural or LP gas or fuel/oil leaks
  • Any electrical problem or condition that could result in shock or fire
  • Utilities not in service
  • Conditions that present an imminent likelihood of injury
  • Unmovable obstacles that prevent safe entrance or exit from the unit
  • Absence of a functioning toilet in the unit
  • Backed up sewer system in the unit
  • Required smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors that are inoperable or missing

Special and Quality Control Inspections

HCHA may schedule a special inspection at the request of the owner/tenant or when violations of HCV Program and HQS regulations have been reported to Inspections Department.

HCHA performs Quality Control Inspections periodically to assess the performance of the inspector that performed the prior initial or biennial inspection. Quality Control Inspections usually occur within 30 days of the prior inspection. Timetables for repairing violations cited during a Quality Control Inspection depend upon the specific type of deficiency.