2. Inspections and Housing Quality Standards
Once an owner has selected a tenant OHA will inspect the unit before the assisted tenancy begins.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program has guidelines designed to ensure that housing rented through the program meets minimum standards for health and safety. These standards are called Housing Quality Standards (HQS) and they are not the same as housing or building codes. In general terms, HQS requires the housing to be in good condition and not endanger the family’s health or safety. HQS inspections, which are done annually, benefit property owners by alerting them to any health or safety hazards that could harm the tenant and create a liability for the property owner. The inspection is also an opportunity for owners to become aware of any damage to the property.
Setting up an Inspection Appointment
The RLA represents the intention to rent to the tenant. It does not obligate the owner or the tenant to sign a lease agreement.
- The tenant and the owner complete a Request for Lease Approval (RLA) form and an Inspection Checklist.
- The tenant will deliver the RLA and the Checklist to OHA and schedule an inspection appointment.
- The tenant informs the owner of the date and time of the inspection so both of them can plan to attend.
Preparing for the Inspection
The owner and the tenant should review the Inspection Checklist before scheduling an appointment to make sure everything in the unit is working properly and the place is ready for move-in. Units sometimes have trouble passing the inspection because of minor repairs that can be addressed in advance.
Before the inspection check that…
- All repairs and renovations are completed. form and an Inspection Checklist.
- Utility services are on, so the water, heat and electrical appliances can be tested.
- Heater, stove and refrigerator are ready and working.
- Smoke detectors are installed with working batteries.
The inspection generally takes less than an hour and involves a walk through of the unit. The Representative will check each room and cover the items on the Checklist as well as other basic HUD requirements. When the inspection is finished the unit will be marked pass, fail or inconclusive. If the unit passes the tenant may move-in and the lease and payments can begin.
If a crucial element of the unit does not meet HQS - for example, a window is broken or the door does not have an adequate lock - a re-inspection will be necessary. The owner will schedule an appointment for a re-inspection when the necessary work has been completed. The contract and payments will begin once the unit passes inspection and the tenant moves-in.
The property owner decides which utilities he or she will provide and which utilities the family will be responsible for. Utility service, including water, must be on at the time of the move-in inspection. Utilities that the tenant pays for cannot be master metered or shared with another unit or common area and must be billed directly by the utility service provider.