All rental units subsidized under the Section 8 program must be inspected and meet Housing Quality Standards (HQS). HQS is a comprehensive program established by HUD to ensure that the housing it subsidizes remains decent, safe and sanitary.
Following is an Inspection Checklist of the items the inspector will review:
- Smoke detectors must be operational in the unit and common areas in hallways and basements
- Windows must be fully operational. Broken and cracked glass must be replaced.
- Handrails are required in the interior and exterior of a building where there are more than 4 steps
- All plumbing must be in good working condition and free of leaks
- Bathroom must have an exterior window OR a working venting fan
- Stove must work properly and be clean
- Keyed locks on interior doors are NOT allowed
- Peeling or chipping paint must be scraped and repainted.
- Doors and windows must be weather tight
- Missing or loose electrical plates and switch plates must be tightened or replaced
- Excessive garbage in the apartment, hallway, or on the property is not allowed
- All hallways are fire exits and must be kept free of debris, such as bikes or trash
- All flooring must be free of tripping hazards
- All kitchen and bathroom floors must be water tight, free of defects and easily cleanable
- Tub and shower walls must be waterproof with no loose or missing tiles and must be free of mold or mildew
- All trash is required to be stored in proper containers with lids
- All utilities, gas or electric, whether landlord or tenant supplied, are required to be maintained at all times
- Heat is required to be operational between September 15 and June 15
- Common areas such as the basement, exterior and hallways are inspected
It is generally expected that the owner or landlord will keep the property well maintained not only for the comfort of their tenants, but also to preserve the value of the property. If the living unit is determined not to be decent, safe, and sanitary as a result of the neglect of the owner/landlord, the Housing Authority has the option to either abate the Housing Authority’s portion of the rent until the unit meets HQS, or terminate the HAP contract so that the tenant can locate other housing.
If the Housing Authority discovers that a tenant who is responsible for the utility payment does not have active utility services such as electricity, water or gas, the tenant is then considered to be in violation of HQS, and both the tenant and owner/landlord will be notified that the tenant will be terminated from the Section 8 program if utilities are not reconnected within seven (7) days.