Housing Choice Voucher Program and the HQS Inspection

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.

If you are a multifamily housing provider who is thinking of participating in or has recently started the process to participate in the HCV program, commonly referred to as “Section 8” housing, you may be unfamiliar with the program and the inspection process.

For property owners, such as you, the benefit of participating in the program is that the federal government’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency will subsidize a percentage of the fair market rental value of your unit and pay it directly to you. Section 8 renters pay the remaining percentage to you and receive financial relief from the program.

What Is the HQS Inspection?

To be considered part of the HCV program, housing units must meet certain Housing Quality Standards (HQS) as set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Properties must undergo an initial inspection as well as subsequent inspections every 12 months thereafter. The inspection ensures that housing units are safe and clean for family members to live in.

An inspector will visit your property and assess your unit(s), looking to ensure items such as smoke alarms, faucets, appliances, and windows are working properly.

 

Inspections When Converting from Public Housing to RAD

Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) was created in order to give Public Housing Authorities (PHA) a way to . HUD estimates public housing is facing a $26 billion backlog of deferred maintenance ranging from maintenance issues to obsolete building systems and functionality.

The RAD program shifts units from the Public Housing program to the Section 8 program so that providers may leverage the private capital markets to make capital improvements, such as sidewalks, HVAC, and roofing. When Public Housing properties make this shift, they too will have to undergo the HQS inspection.

HQS inspections make sure the unit is clean and safe for the family because subsidy is tied to the family.

What’s the Difference Between an HQS and a REAC Inspection?

If you’re somewhat familiar with affordable housing, you may have heard about the Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) and that it has its own inspection process.

REAC’s mission is to ensure families have housing that is decent, safe, sanitary, and in good repair. To achieve their goal, REAC conducts approximately 20,000 physical inspections on properties each year.

Both REAC and HQS have the goal of providing affordable housing, but each has a unique inspection process. HQS inspections make sure the unit is clean and safe for the family because subsidy is tied to the family. REAC inspections focus more on the performance of the building and unit because subsidy is tied to the building.

Preparing Your Property for Inspection

Before your inspection date, you’ll need to ensure your units are in good repair. You can refer to HUD’s inspection form for a complete look at all areas you are responsible for.

Below is a list of products HD Supply carries. We can help you repair and replace what you need so you can pass inspection.

  •  Appliances 
  •  Doors and bi-fold doors 
  •  Door locks and door security hardware 
  •  Electrical receptacles, GFCIs, and wall plates 
  •  Floor tiles 
  •  Light bulbs, fixtures, and replacement parts 
  •  Oven and range repair products 
  •  Paint 
  •  Smoke alarms 
  •  Sinks, toilets, toilet seats, showerheads, and plumbing repair parts 
  •  Weather stripping 
  •  Window covering and repair parts 
  •  Window locks 
  •  Window screens and storm door handles 

 

If you need further assistance prepping for your inspection, contact your HD Supply sales representative. They can provide further details on how your property can pass.

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