As explained in FPHA’s HCV Program Administrative Plan, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that all units subsidized under the Housing Choice Voucher Program meet a minimum standard of health and safety rules called Housing Quality Standards (HQS). To ensure compliance, FPHA or its inspectors must inspect any unit a Voucher Holder wants to rent before they move in and as required thereafter. An HQS inspection ensures that all HCV Program units have adequate living space for the family, are structurally sound, provide the necessary habitability systems (electricity, plumbing, heating, appliances, etc.) and present no conditions that endanger health and safety.
Generally, HQS addresses the following areas:
Sanitation (facilities and condition)
Food preparation and refuse disposal
Space and security
Illumination and electricity
Structure and materials
Interior air quality
Smoke detectors/carbon monoxide detector
The information below is a general summary of the types of inspections conducted by FPHA and its inspectors
New Unit Inspections
The initial inspection process begins when FPHA receives the completed forms from the Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) packet. The Inspections Department will contact the owner at the number provided with the RTA to schedule the inspection. The Inspection Department will make two attempts to schedule the appointment. If the owner has not scheduled the inspection after two attempts by the Inspection Department, FPHA will cancel the RTA and provide the voucher holder with new moving papers.
The voucher holder is usually not involved in the initial inspection process and only the owner or their agent may schedule the appointment. Most owners, however, remain in touch with the prospective tenant during the inspection process.
FPHA will notify the owner of any deficiencies within five days of the inspection. Once the owner has addressed the deficiencies, the owner must contact FPHA to schedule a re-inspection. If the owner does not schedule a re-inspection within 14 days of the previous failed inspection, FPHA will terminate the process and issue new moving papers to the family.
HUD requires an inspection of all HCV Program participating units no later than 730 days after the previous full inspection. FPHA will notify the participant and owner of the biennial HQS inspection appointment via postal mail or email prior to the inspection deadline.
If an adult member of the household cannot be present during the scheduled appointment, the family can reschedule the appointment one time for up to seven days after the original appointment. If an adult member of the household fails to attend the original appointment or a rescheduled appointment, FPHA will automatically reschedule another appointment. If the participant fails to attend (or fails to make an adult representative available for) two scheduled inspections in a row without FPHA approval, FPHA will consider the family in violation of the family obligations and begin termination proceedings.
If a unit passes an inspection, no further action is necessary. If the unit fails an inspection, the owner and/or participant have 30 days to make the required repairs (24 hours for emergency items) and to pass re-inspection. Otherwise, FPHA may terminate the Housing Assistance Payment contract or abate the HA payments until the unit passes inspection. If the failed items are the fault of the participating family, FPHA will begin termination proceedings.
To confirm HQS repairs, FPHA conducts re-inspections. For repairs that are the owner’s responsibility, the owner must notify FPHA of repairs that have been completed. If such repairs have not been made or if the re-inspection cannot be completed before the end of the correction period, for any reason, FPHA may terminate the HAP contract or abate the HAP effective the first of the month following the expiration of the correction period (including any extension).
In the case of family-caused violations, FPHA will begin termination proceedings. If FPHA is unable to gain entry to the unit in order to conduct the scheduled re-inspection, FPHA will consider the family to have violated its obligation to make the unit available for inspection and will begin termination proceedings.
At its sole discretion, FPHA may allow the owner and tenant to certify that certain repairs have been completed. This self-certification process is only available for biennial re-inspections where the unit failed with five or fewer deficiencies that are the owner’s responsibility to correct. Eligible owners will receive instructions and self-certification paperwork along with information about the unit’s deficiencies. All self-certification forms must be submitted with supporting documentation showing that the necessary repairs have been completed.
Serious deficiencies that threaten the health and safety of the participating family must be corrected within 24 hours. Upon discovery of an emergency deficiency during any type of inspection, the inspector will immediately notify the Owner and Participant of the situation either in person or by phone. FPHA will then perform a re-inspection of these deficiencies on the next business day.
If emergency deficiencies remain unresolved after the re-inspection, abatement of the HAP may occur (for deficiencies that are the responsibility of the Owner) or termination procedures may commence against the Participant (for deficiencies that are the responsibility of the Participant). Abatement or termination processes will proceed until the property passes inspection.
Below is a list of some of the most commonly cited emergency deficiencies.
Any property determined uninhabitable by a city agency, including those caused by fire, flood or other natural disasters Any condition that jeopardizes the security of the unit (e.g., missing or broken locks on exterior doors) Major plumbing leaks, a waterlogged ceiling or a floor in imminent danger of falling Natural or LP gas or fuel/oil leaks Any electrical problem or condition that could result in shock or fire Utilities not in service Conditions that present an imminent likelihood of injury Unmovable obstacles that prevent safe entrance or exit from the unit Absence of a functioning toilet in the unit Backed up sewer system in the unit Required smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors that are inoperable or missing
Special and Quality Control Inspections
FPHA may schedule a special inspection at the request of the owner/tenant or when violations of HCV Program and HQS regulations have been reported to HCV Section 8 Coordinator.
FPHA performs Quality Control Inspections periodically to assess the performance of the inspector that performed the prior initial or biennial inspection. Quality Control Inspections usually occur within 30 days of the prior inspection. Timetables for repairing violations cited during a Quality Control Inspection depend upon the specific type of deficiency.