All units must pass a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspection prior to going under contract with the Housing choice Voucher Program (HCVP). The units must also pass the HQS Inspection at least annually. HQS is based on the minimum, nationwide standards established by HUD.
Above and beyond HQS, HUD has approved the following acceptability requirements for units coming or remaining under contract with the CMHA HCVP:
- Units with windows that are designed to be open must be operable and must have screens and storms on all exterior windows of the unit, unless the unit is located in a building that has a total HVAC system and does not require windows that can be opened for fresh air.
- If a clothes dryer is present in a dwelling unit, the dryer must be vented to the outside of the unit.
- Dwelling units must have downspouts.
- The dwelling unit must have storm doors on exterior entrance doors to the unit. Exceptions may be made for multi-family units and historical preservation.
- Sanitary/Lavatory facilities must be in a separate, private room; must have a toilet and a fixed wash basin, both in working condition; must have a shower or tub and cold and hot running water; must utilize a public or private disposal system.; must have a means of ventilation; and must be located such that access does not have to be solely through a bedroom.
- Exterior doors must be lockable with a turn style deadbolt on the inside.
Basic HQS requirements can be found in the HUD HQS Inspection Checklist available through the following link: HQS Inspection Checklist (PDF). In addition, the following will be cited as emergency violations at annual and/or special inspections and will require correction within 24 hours:
- A smoke detector that is missing, not working or not loud enough.
- Kitchen range burners that do not ignite when the control knobs are turned to the “light” position without the use of an outside fire source.
- A hazardous gas hook-up for a kitchen range, as evidenced by a strong gas smell.
- No water
- No electricity
- Sewer back-up
- No Heat (during the period from October 15th to April 15th)
- Gas leak
- Unit not secure, including unlockable windows at a height within six feet of ground level and/or unit entry doors with missing or broken locks.
- Anything deemed life-threatening
Owners should use the acceptability requirements above and the HUD HQS Inspection Checklist for the common reasons a unit may fail. This information should be used to go over the unit prior to the HCVP Inspection. Any questions about the inspections process should be submitted through the Inquiry Form on the HCVP Landlord Portal.
Initial Move-in Inspections
Every rental unit proposed for a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract through the CMHA HCVP must meet all HQS requirements, as well as the additional acceptability requirements presented above prior to execution of the contract. Weather deferments and conditional approvals may not be given to units that are not already under contract. If the rental unit cannot meet all requirements within two inspection visits, the unit will final fail and the HCVP will provide the participant with a new Request for Tenancy Approval packet and instructions to find another unit.
Many cities require property owners to register their property as a rental with their local city hall. Owners should contact their local city hall to find out what their requirements are. Failure to comply with local building and housing ordinances, including those concerning rental registration and/or certificates of occupancy, is considered an HQS violation by the HCVP and will prevent units from going under contract. When a unit already under contract with the HCVP is found in violation of HQS due to failure to comply with local building and housing ordinances, the owner is notified that the unit has failed HQS and failure to correct the violation within the stated timeframe will result in abatement of HAP, in accordance with the contract, and possible cancellation of that contract.
EPA Lead Law and the HCVP:
Effective May 1, 2010, owners of properties built before January 1, 1978 that are cited for chipping, cracking, and peeling paint and that have a child under 6 years old that is residing or will reside in the unit must meet the following requirements prior to passing the HQS Inspection:
- The owner has up to 30 days from the annual inspection and 10 days from the initial move-in inspection to provide a "passed" lead clearance test and proof the repairs were completed by a certified lead abatement contractor.
- All other HQS violations must also be rectified.
Information regarding Meeting lead based paint requirements (PDF)
Access the CMHA HCVP "Building Quality Rating Procedure" (PDF)