The dwelling unit must pass the program's housing quality standards and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments. The rent requested must be reasonable and the landlord must not charge the tenant any amount other than what the Columbia Housing has determined to be the tenants' portion of rent.
Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program regulations at 24 CFR Part 982 set forth basic housing quality standards (HQS) which all units must meet before assistance can be paid on behalf of a family and at least annually throughout the term of the assisted tenancy. HQS define "standard housing" and establish the minimum criteria for the health and safety of program participants. Current HQS regulations consist of 13 key aspects of housing quality, performance requirements, and acceptability criteria to meet each performance requirement. HQS includes requirements for all housing types, including single and multi-family dwelling units, as well as specific requirements for special housing types such as manufactured homes, congregate housing, single room occupancy, shared housing, and group residences.
At the scheduled inspection appointment, the Housing Authority Inspector will inspect the unit to ensure it meets HUD-established Housing Quality Standards (HQS). The items on the checklist below must be working or completed prior to the HQS inspection.
- All utilities must be turned on (water, gas, electricity).
- There must be working smoke detectors properly mounted on each level of the unit including the basement.
- All construction/rehabilitation (painting, carpet replacement, etc.) must be completed.
- All windows, if manufactured to be open, should open and must stay up independently, close and lock. Bedrooms must have at least one operable window with a screen.
- All units must have a Landlord provided permanent source of heat.
- All electrical outlets and light switches must have cover plates. These plates mush not be cracked or broken.
- All bathrooms must have an exhaust fan or an operable window for ventilation and a GFI outlet or GFI installed in the breaker box protecting bathrooms.
- All appliances (stove, refrigerator, microwave oven, oven, etc.) must be working. All stoves knobs must be readable.
- All sinks, faucet and plumbing must be free from leaks.
- The unit must not have roaches or rodents.
- All painted surfaces must be free from chipping and/or peeling paint.
- Carpet and other flooring must be clean and free of tripping hazards.
- A hand rail is required on all stairways with four or more steps.
- Water heaters must have a Temperature Pressure Relief Valve and discharge line that is directed to and at least 6 inches from the floor, or directed outside the unit, as a safeguard against build up of steam if the water heater malfunctions. Discharge lines must be made of rigid pipe material that's rated for both high temperature and pressure.
- All units must have a dead bolt locks on entry doors.
- All units must have at least 100 amp electric service.
If the unit fails the annual inspection, a letter listing the required repairs will be sent to the owner and tenant. The owner and tenant are given 10-30 (depending on work scope) calendar days to complete the repairs and a recheck appointment will be scheduled.
If the unit fails the recheck inspection, the Housing Authority will issue a termination notice to the tenant (with a copy to the owner) and permanently abate the rent starting on the day the repairs were to be completed. (If the required repair(s) are tenant-caused, there will be no abatement of rent to the owner; however, the tenant may lose their rental assistance if repairs are not completed by the deadline.)
If the repairs are completed and the unit passes another recheck inspection, the termination notice will be cancelled and the rent will be paid again starting the day the unit passes.
If the repairs are not completed with the 10-30 calendar day deadline, the termination will be effective and no rent will be paid. Exceptions may be granted for major, difficult repairs that require additional time. A written request for an extension of the repair deadline must be submitted to the Housing Authority.