Understanding the ins and outs of Section 8 housing can be difficult. As a landlord, owning a Section 8 property can help ensure little vacancy. Below, we answer some of the most common questions about the process as well as ways to help you prepare for the inspection!
Common Questions About The Housing Authority Inspection Process
What Is A Housing Authority Inspection?
When you make a choice to make your property available for renting using Section 8 vouchers, the first thing that will happen is your property will have to be inspected. Even if you manage to pass the inspection the first time, new inspections will happen annually – or even more often, if there are any complaints about the property’s condition. The inspector will look at all of the important things, such as plumbing, electricity, heating, but also things that you may think aren’t a necessity, such as faulty smoke alarms or chipped paint. Let’s not even mention problems such as pest infestation, windows without looks or doors without deadbolts, which can be the instant reason for the failure. This is why it’s important to make a checklist and to make sure that everything is in order before the inspector comes.
What Kind Of Property Will Qualify?
Per Chapter 10 of the of the Housing Choice Voucher Guidebook, the home types permitted for Section 8 assistance include single-family homes, multi-family homes, manufactured homes, congregate housing, single room occupancy, shared housing, and group residences.
How Much Will The Inspection Cost?
The inspection itself doesn’t cost anything, however you should spend some money for preventative repairs.
What Does The Inspection Look For?
Before any property can be considered for low-income housing, it will need to comply with basic housing quality standards (HQS), to provide “decent, safe, and sanitary housing.” The HQS contains 13 separate areas or performance requirements. These include:
- Sanitary facilities – The facilities must all be in working order and in a separate room. There must be hot and cold water and a working shower or tub.
- Food preparation and refuse disposal – The unit must have a safe and sanitary place to store, prepare, and serve food. There must be a working stove, refrigerator, hot and cold water, and a way to properly dispose of food waste.
- Space and security – The unit needs to be safe and secure for the tenants. There must be a living room, kitchen, and bathroom at a minimum. There must be at least one bedroom or sleeping room for every two adults residing in the home. Exterior doors and windows must all be lockable.
- Thermal environment – There must be heat provided to each room as necessary. There is no requirement for A/C, however, if a system is present, it must be in working order.
- Illumination and electricity – Each room must be supplied with adequate natural or artificial light to permit regular activity. There must be sufficient electrical sources so tenants can use appliances, etc. The electrical fixtures and wiring must not pose any fire hazard.
- Structure and materials – The construction of the home must be free of any defects and provide a safe and secure environment for the tenants. There must not be any leaking, sagging, large holes, or buckling. Manufactured homes must be properly tied down.
- Interior air quality – The air in the unit must not pose any harm to the tenant and be free of carbon monoxide, sewer gas, and other pollutants. There must be proper ventilation and air circulation. Sleeping rooms must have at least one window.
- Water supply – Clean, uncontaminated water must be distributed to all fixtures within the home. There must be proper drainage and sewer facilities.
- Lead-based paint – Properties built before 1978 will be visually inspected for deteriorated paint surfaces inside, outside, and in common areas in which tenants must pass through to gain access to their unit.
- Access – There must be private access, with alternate access in care of a fire. The emergency exit must not be blocked.
- Site and neighborhood – The site and neighborhood must be reasonably free of disturbance. There cannot be any dangers to the health, safety, and general welfare of the occupants.
- Sanitary conditions – The must not be any pest, rodent, or vermin infestation.
- Smoke detectors – Working smoke detectors must be located on each level of the unit.
The above is only an abridged list of what is required. Before your inspection is completed, be sure to review the full checklist to ensure you are in compliance.
What If I Fail?
Landlords fail their inspections quite regularly. Things that may seem small, or that go unnoticed, can quickly cause you to fail your inspection. Chipped paint, a small leak in a faucet, or cracked outlet covers have all been known to cause a failing grade. If you fail your first inspection, you will be given time to make the repairs before the property is reinspected.