Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspections
As explained in CHA’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, CHA 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.
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
- Smoke detectors/carbon monoxide detector
CHA’s self-inspection checklist, included in the HQS Inspection Guidebook, along with HUD’s Form 52580-A further outline the minimum unit standards necessary to participate in the HCV Program.
The information below is a general summary of the types of inspections conducted by CHA and its contractors. For more detailed information, see CHA’s HCV Program Administrative Plan, the Property Owner Reference Manual or the HQS Inspection Guidebook.
New Move (Initial) Inspection
The initial inspection process begins when CHA receives the completed forms from the Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) packet. The Inspections Department will contact the Owner at the number provided on 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, CHA 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.
CHA will notify the Owner of any deficiencies within seven days of the inspection. Once the Owner has addressed the deficiencies, they must contact CHA to schedule a re-inspection. If the Owner does not schedule a re-inspection within 14 days of the previous failed inspection, CHA will terminate the process and issue new moving papers to the family.
HUD requires an inspection of all HCV Program participating units no later than 365 days after the previous full inspection. CHA will notify the Participant and Owner of the annual HQS inspection appointment via postal mail and automated phone calls prior to the previous inspection’s anniversary date.
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, CHA will automatically reschedule another appointment. If the Participant fails to provide an adult representative to attend two scheduled inspections without CHA approval, CHA 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, CHA will abate the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) until the unit passes inspection. If the fail items are the fault of the participating family, CHA will begin termination proceedings.
To confirm HQS repairs, CHA conducts re-inspections. For repairs that are the Owner’s responsibility, the Owner must notify CHA 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, CHA will 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, CHA will begin termination proceedings. If CHA is unable to gain entry to the unit in order to conduct the scheduled re-inspection, CHA will consider the family to have violated its obligation to make the unit available for inspection and will begin termination proceedings.
Where inspection deficiencies are the Owner’s responsibility, CHA will charge the Owner a non‐refundable $75 fee for conducting a second re-inspection. The $75 must be paid to CHA prior to scheduling the second re-inspection. CHA requires that the Owner or an authorized representative of the Owner participate in such re-inspections.
Owners who have not resolved inspection failures that are their responsibility after the first re-inspection must pay a $75 fee before a second re-inspection can be scheduled. This fee can be paid electronically by clicking on the PayPal link below. Once the fee is paid, the Inspections Department will contact you to reschedule your re-inspection appointment. Please be advised that if you pay by e-check, CHA will not schedule the inspection until the check has cleared. This may take up to 10 days.
24 Hour 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. CHA 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. To view the complete list, available in CHA’s HCV Program Administrative Plan, visit www.thecha.org/adminplan.
- 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
- Absence of a heating system capable of maintaining a temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit within the unit between September 15 and June 1
- 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
CHA will no longer conduct Complaint Inspections for non-emergency items. Non-emergency items will be addressed at the next annual inspection.
Refer to the list above for examples of emergency items that may prompt a Complaint or Emergency Inspection. To view the complete list, available in CHA’s HCV Program Administrative Plan, visit www.thecha.org/adminplan.
Quality Control Inspections
CHA performs Quality Control Inspections periodically to assess the performance of the inspector that performed the prior initial or annual 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.
Downloads:HUD Form 52580-A
HQS Inspection Guidebook