What to Know About Housing Choice Voucher Inspections
Housing that is occupied by those receiving Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) assistance must meet HUD’s Housing Quality Standards (HQS).
HQS establishes the minimum criteria for the health and safety of program participants. Charter Oak Communities (COC) conducts the following types of inspections as needed to ensure HQS standards are met:
- Initial Inspections: An initial inspection must be conducted prior to initial occupancy. COC conducts initial inspections in response to a request from the family to approve a unit for participation in the HCV program. The unit must pass the HQS inspection on or before the effective date of the HAP Contract.
- Annual/Biennial Inspections: HUD requires COC to inspect each unit under lease at least annually or biennially, depending on unit eligibility and inspection history, to confirm that the unit still meets HQS after initial lease up.
- Special Inspections: A special inspection may be requested by the owner, the family, or a third party as a result of problems identified with a unit between annual/biennial inspections.
- Quality Control Inspections: HUD requires that a sample of units be inspected by a supervisor or other qualified individual to evaluate the work of the inspector(s) and to ensure that inspections are performed in compliance with the HQS.
Check on the Following to be HQS Ready
Inspections are a critical part of maintaining Section 8 eligibility. Please use the Self-Inspection Checklist to help ensure your unit is HQS ready prior to its scheduled inspection.
Common causes for a failed inspection
- Smoke Detectors—Not present, missing batteries, or dead batteries. There must be a working smoke detector on each level of the unit, including basements.
- Chipping or Peeling Paint—There cannot be chipping or peeling paint on any surface inside or outside of the unit.
- Water Heater—Cannot be missing an extension pipe on the pressure relief valve (extension pipes must extend to within 6 inches of the base of the water heater or floor).
- Double key or Double-Cylinder Locks—These types of locks are prohibited because they require use of a key to open from the inside.
- Missing Single-Cylinder Lock—There must be a single-cylinder lock on all swinging exterior doors of a unit.
- Window Bars—Can be present, but they must have a quick release that can be easily opened by all occupants; even young children.
- Dirty Unit—A unit that is not clean and ready for occupancy.
- Plumbing Problems—Leaking pipes or running faucets.
- Window Locks—Cannot be missing or not working on accessible windows.
- Electrical Hazards—Missing or cracked outlet covers, damaged outlets, or outlets that are not functioning.
- Unsafe Fences—Leaning fences are a safety hazard.
- Yard—Cannot be littered with garbage, debris, and unregistered and/or inoperable vehicles.
It only takes one deficiency to fail inspection
Failed inspections delay the initial contract process, interrupt the processing of Housing Assistance Payments, and may result in the termination of assistance. Failed units require a reinspection and/or verification of HQS compliance. This process is timely and costly. Save time and money by doing your own inspection and making repairs prior to COC’s HQS inspection.