Learn About Public Housing Inspection Scores
Each year The HUD Real Estate Assessment center conducts property inspections of homes that are subsidized, owned or insured by HUD. This is done to assess any changes in the property's status. Public housing an include single-family and multi family units such as single-family homes, row houses, apartment buildings and nursing homes. Upwards of 20,000 home inspections are conducted every year. This is done to ensure that individuals and families who inhabit HUD homes have decent housing. Decent housing is defined as housing that is decent, clean, sanitary, safe and in good condition.
HUD inspectors give properties a grade following the inspection. The grade would typically consist of either a pass or a fail. But the grade-or score-could also turn out to be undetermined in some cases. This happens if an inspector is not given access to any part of the property for whatever reason. It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that inspectors have everything they need to carry out their duties. Property owners who fail to cooperate with the inspection timeline risk losing their approval for the Section 8 program.
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Data Sourced from The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R).
Outside of the Building and its Grounds:
There are several criteria that HUD homes must meet in order to pass inspections: The following is a list of what items are considered during inspection:
- Outside lighting
- Maintenance and security
- Handicap accessibility
- Elevator safety
- Pest control
- Potential safety hazards
- Handicapped parking
- Stairway, railing and balcony safety
- Walkway lighting
- Working smoke detectors
- Proper air ventilation
- Debris-free common areas
- Working trash receptacles and chutes
- Mold and lead paint free
- Working fire extinguishers
- Operational fire exits that are not blocked
- Operational boiler rooms that are locked
- Making sure building meets local codes
Inside Apartment Inspections
- Working external locks and security systems
- Operational electricity, free from hazards
- Pest control
- Operational kitchen appliances
- Functional plumbing
- Working water heater that has been temperature tested
- Kitchen cabinets and pantries in good condition
- Presence of proper ventilation
- Working smoke detectors
- Functioning sinks, toilets and faucets
- Operational heating and AC
- Working amenities such as washers and dryers
What happens after the home inspection?
A HUD home inspection can result in one of the following:
A ‘Pass’ means that the property requires no further action by the property manager and is ready for occupancy.
A ‘Fail’ will be accompanied by an action plan for getting the property up to par. This would involve the inspector providing a list of the items found that did not pass, an explanation of what is needed to satisfy the issue(s) and a projected timeline for repairs and/or changes.
Properties that receive a ‘fail’ are permitted to challenge the result. The sore report contains all the information necessary to initiate a challenge. If after further inspection, the property is still considered a ‘fail’, then that property will be disqualified from the Section 8 program.
To be reconsidered, the property owner must first wait one year before re-submitting the property for inspection.
Following an ‘undetermined’ finding, the Section 8 program will require that the property undergo an additional follow-up inspection. Undetermined findings typically come about after an inspector is not physically able to access a property.
This could be due to locked doors in common areas or within a unit. During the follow-up inspection the inspector must be granted full access to the property by its landlord or member of the property management team.
Where can I find the results of past Section 8 inspections?
The results of the physical inspection with respect to its score is made public record following its completion. As HUD is a federal agency, full discloser of a building’s state is mandatory. This increases the transparency of the organization.
Members of the public can access the historical property inspections scores of a given HUD property. Interested parties can find this information in the Federal Register public housing notice 66 FR 59084, as well as the Office of Housing Programs, notice 65 FR 77230.
How do Section 8 Inspection results affect the future of the program?
Details of Section 8 inspections may be of interest to certain groups such as advocacy organizations, research institutions in addition to the general public at large. The information contained within these reports are used by lawmakers to make decisions concerning the future of the Housing Voucher Program.
The following are some of the areas in which housing inspection results affect the administration of the Section 8 program:
Funding: Section 8 inspection reports are made available to the voting public in order to aid legislators in making decisions about the resources that need to be allocated towards the program. These reports help determine the future need for affordable housing in any given state, county or city.
This information is crucial to help governing bodies determine if an area requires more or less affordable housing as well as how many vouchers can be handed out. Also, these reports contain vital data that is used to determine if a municipality can afford to build nursing homes and other government-subsidized housing types.
Accountability: The results of Section 8 inspection reports also serve to hold property owners and operators accountable for the state of their units. After receiving approval to accept housing vouchers, the landlord must continue to maintain the standards set by the program guidelines.
Having a representative from the HUD program conduct these inspections periodically helps to keep units up-to-date.
When the public and other interest parties are fully aware of how the program works and the standards landlords must meet, they can make more informed decisions about whether or not to support further funding of it. Having these reports in plain black and white allows HUD and the housing voucher program to maintain its reputation.
Once again, yearly Section 8 housing inspections are conducted so that the property owners continue to meet the standards of the program. This is to ensure that voucher holders have access to affordable housing that is also clean, safe and well maintained.
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