TIPS FOR GETTING READY FOR YOUR INSPECTION:
- For move-in inspections, make sure the power is on and the unit is vacant.
- Review our HQS Inspection Checklist and try to make repairs before the inspection to avoid delays.
- For annual inspections, make sure that an adult is present.
- We recommend that both the landlord and the tenant attend the inspection.
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 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. Only one re-inspection is allowed, and only if the voucher has not expired or is not about to expire.
It is the landlord’s responsibility to correct inspection violations. The landlord may follow state 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. Remember that if you issue notice to the tenant to repair damages, or if the tenant issues notice to the landlord to repair damages, that copies of those notices must be forwarded to the Housing Authority.
WHEN MUST A UNIT BE INSPECTED?
The federal government requires the Housing Authority to inspect all units assisted through the Housing Choice Voucher program, as well as most other programs it administers. A unit must be inspected before move-in, biennially thereafter or in the case of a special circumstances (tenant report, landlord report, code enforcement report).
WHAT IF THE UNIT FAILS INSPECTION?
For initial move-in inspections, the results are handed to the property owner or agent at the inspection. They are also make available via the Landlord Portal on the afternoon of the day following the inspection. If the unit fails, we will send the landlord a letter listing the corrections that need to be made and the required timeline. Once the landlord has made the repairs, he or she must call us to schedule a second inspection. If the unit fails again, or if a second inspection cannot be scheduled because the repairs have not been made, we advise the tenant to look for another unit.
For annual inspections, if the unit fails, landlords are given a deadline to complete repairs. The unit is rescheduled for an inspection. If repairs are not completed by the second inspection, the Housing Authority will stop payments to the Landlord.
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. Housing Authority rent begins after the RTA is approved, 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 an RTA. You can use our HQS Inspection Checklist to identify items for repair.
WHAT DOES THE INSPECTION COVER?
Please see our 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 can provide their own appliances.)
- 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 fit.
- Hot and cold running water with no leaks.
- No evidence of roach or vermin infestation.
- No peeling paint or mold.
- Proper ventilation in bathrooms
- No electrical hazards, including missing or broken cover plates.
This is only a partial list, and standards may change over time.
Remember that utilities must be on, and the unit must be move-in ready, at inspection time.