The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sets standards for housing receiving federal assistance. The primary standards are the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) at 24 CFR 982.401. The HQS were adopted in 1995 and last revised in 1999. All housing funded through HUD’s Housing Choice Vouchers (formerly known as Participant-Based Section 8 Voucher) must comply HQS as a condition of receiving funding. Local public housing authorities conduct initial and annual inspections to ensure compliance with the HQS.
An initial HQS inspection is required before assistance can be provided or payments made on behalf of the family. All utilities must be on before the initial inspection can be conducted. If a unit fails the initial inspection, all failed items must be corrected within 5 days.
The unit is inspected annually and must pass inspection prior to the annual recertification date to ensure continued eligibility for participation in the program. If it fails an annual inspection, failed items must be corrected for the subsidy to continue. No payments are made on behalf of the family until all items are corrected.
Units sometimes fail housing inspections because landlords and participants are not familiar with HQS requirements and/or have not assessed the condition of the unit prior to the scheduled inspection. For these reasons, the Housing Authority encourages you to conduct pre-inspections prior to the scheduled inspection. If the most commonly failed items are corrected before the inspection, the unit will have a much better chance of passing the inspection the first time.
In most cases, if the unit fails the inspection, the Housing Authority will allow the landlord 30 days to make the repairs. However, if the failed item is considered life-threatening, federal law requires the repair to be made within 24 hours. Additional time may be granted in cases where extensive repairs are needed.
While it is generally the landlord's responsibility to maintain an assisted unit to HUD standards, the participant is responsible for damages the participant causes. You may require the participant to repair or pay for the repair of items the participant has damaged.
If items that failed inspection are not repaired in the required time, the Housing Program may begin withholding housing assistance payments. The participant cannot be held responsible for the Housing Authority's portion of the rent. When the repairs have been made and the unit passes the final HQS inspection, the Housing Authority will resume housing assistance payments, prorated from the date of the inspection.