What Happens During a Section 8 Inspection?

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If you want to rent your property to a tenant who has a Section 8 voucher, your unit must pass a health and safety inspection. This Section 8 inspection is conducted by your local Public Housing Authority. What they are looking for is to make sure that your property meets the Housing Quality standards that HUD has set. Here are five FAQs about what happens during the inspection.

Who Conducts the Section 8 Inspections?

If you are attempting to rent your property to a tenant with a housing choice voucher or another form of Section 8, your property will have to undergo a separate Section 8 inspection in addition to the inspections done by your city, town, or county. These inspections will either be conducted by:

  • A staff member of the Public Housing Authority
  • An outside inspector the PHA has hired

When Are These Section 8 Inspections Conducted?

The Public Housing Authority will usually conduct housing inspections at the following times:

  • Before a tenant with a housing choice voucher moves into a unit, to make sure that the unit complies with HUD's Housing Quality Standards
  • Once a year after a tenant with a housing choice voucher has moved into a unit
  • When a tenant complains about a health or safety condition at the property
  • When a landlord complains about a health or safety condition at the property
  • At any other time they deem necessary

The PHA will usually send you a notice in advance of the inspection, which states the date and time when the inspection will take place.

What the Section 8 Inspectors Are Looking for

When conducting the inspection, the inspector will be assessing the unit to determine if it complies with HUD’s Housing Quality Standards. These standards are set forth to make sure the property is safe for the Section 8 tenant. The Housing Quality Standards include 13 areas that the inspector must examine. These areas are known as performance requirements.

They include:

  • Sanitary Facilities
  • Food Preparation and Refuse Disposal
  • Space and Security
  • Thermal Environment
  • Illumination and Electricity
  • Structure and Materials
  • Interior Air Quality
  • Water Supply
  • Lead-Based Paint
  • Access
  • Site and Neighborhood
  • Sanitary Conditions
  • Smoke Detectors

HUD includes criteria for each requirement, but the inspectors must also use their own judgment to determine if the unit complies with all requirements or if there are hazards present.

Are Pass and Fail the Only Options?

When determining if an item meets HUD’s health and safety standards, the inspector has three options. He or she can:

  • Pass It: No further action needs to be taken on this item.
  • Fail It: This item needs to be remedied to comply with HUD’s Housing Quality Standards.
  • Mark It as Inconclusive: An inspector can mark an item as inconclusive. It can be done for a couple of reasons, but it means that the inspector needs more information from the property owner. Once this information is given, the inspector will then pass or fail this item. For example, an inspector could mark the safety of a boiler as inconclusive because he or she could not access the boiler because it was in a locked room. Once the inspector is granted access to this room, he or she can determine if it meets health and safety requirements.

What Happens If You Fail

Even if you only fail one item on the Section 8 inspection checklist, you will fail the inspection. After the inspection, you will be given a list of all items that have failed and why. You will be given the opportunity to remedy the violations by a specific date.

Once you have fixed the item or items, you can then contact the inspector, who will come to re-inspect the unit. He or she will determine if you have fixed the item appropriately by passing you, fail the item again if problems persist, or mark it as inconclusive if further action is needed. If you fail to remedy the violations, your housing contract with the PHA will be violated, and the tenant will be given the opportunity to move.