Housing Inspection Information
The federal government requires the Housing Authority to inspect all units assisted through the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, as well as most other programs it administers. A unit must be inspected before move-in and then annually thereafter.
Tips for Getting Ready for Your Inspection
- For move-in inspections, make sure the power is on and the unit is vacant.
- For annual inspections, make sure that an adult is present. We recommend that both the landlord and the tenant attend the inspection.
- Review our Sample Housing Quality Standards Inspection (HQS) Checklist and try to make repairs before the inspection to avoid delays.
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What is the purpose of the inspection?
The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that units we assist are “decent, safe, and sanitary.” These standards are called Housing quality Standards, or HQS, and are not the same as building codes. We encourage review of our Sample HQS Inspection Checklist in detail before the inspector arrives. If minor repairs can be taken care of before the inspection, there is a better chance that the unit will pass right away.
It is important to note that only one re-inspection is allowed, and only if the voucher has not expired or not about to expire.
It is the landlord’s responsibility to correct inspection violations. The landlord may follow stat law in charging the tenant for tenant-caused damages. We encourage tenants to keep their homes in good condition and report maintenance problems to the landlord promptly. Tenant-caused damage, beyond normal wear-and-tear, can result in termination from the program.
What if the unit fails inspections?
For initial move-in inspections, we will send the landlord a letter listing the corrections that need to be made. Once the landlord has made the repairs, he or she must call us to schedule a second inspection. If the unit fails again, we advise the tenant to look for another unit.
For annual inspections, landlords are given a deadline to complete repairs and reschedule and inspection. If repairs are not completed by the deadline, the Housing Authority will stop payment to the landlord.
Remember that utilities must be on and the unit must be move-in ready at inspection time.
Can the tenant move in before a unit passes inspection?
The tenant will have to pay the full rent if he/she moves in before the unit passes inspection, a lease is signed, and the Housing Authority contract is signed. The rent is not retroactive. The Housing Authority rent begins the day the unit passes inspection, or the effective day of the lease, whichever is later, provided the paperwork is complete.
If the landlord does not make the necessary repairs, or changes his/her mind about signing the contract, the tenant would have to find another place to live. For this reason, tenants should ensure that they have enough time on their vouchers to look for other units.
Can you inspect a unit before the landlord has found a tenant to see if it will pass?
We cannot inspect a unit until a tenant turns in a Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA). You can use our Sample HQS Inspection Checklist to identify failed items.
How do I schedule an inspection of a unit if another tenant is still residing the unit?
Inspections cannot be done until the unit is vacant.
If this unit was just inspected 2 months ago, will you have to re-inspect it again?
Yes. Unless it has been less than 7 days, an inspection is required.
What does the inspection cover?
Please see our Sample HQS Inspection Checklist for a more detailed description of what the inspection covers.
In general, the inspector will be looking for:
- A working smoke detector on each floor
- A clean and working stove and refrigerator (tenants may supply their own)
- A safe and adequate heating system
- A working water heater with a proper discharge line on relief valves
- Exterior doors that lock and provide a weather-tight seal
- Hot and cold running water with no leaks
- No evidence of roach or vermin infestation
- No peeling paint or mold