To classify your property as Section 8 housing, you must participate in an annual housing authority inspection. Know what to look for in our latest post!
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 decide to make your property available to renters with Section 8 vouchers, you will need to have your property inspected before anyone moving in. The house will then be subject to inspection each year or if there are any complaints from either the tenant or landlord about the condition of the home. The inspector will take an in-depth look at the property, both inside and out. All kinds of things are looked at from the electrical, plumbing, and heating, to items such as chipped paint and faulty smoke alarms. Pest problems, doors without deadbolts, and windows without locks can all cause you to quickly fail your inspection. It’s essential to have a checklist so you can make sure everything is in order before the inspector shows up.
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?
There is no cost for the inspection, however, you should plan to spend for a small number of preventative repairs made beforehand.
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.
Additionally, you will want to make sure that all of your windows have been properly insulated along with the proper caulking, as this is a common problem for rental property sellers in Philadelphia.
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.