What is the purpose of Housing Quality Standards?

The goal of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is to provide “decent, safe and sanitary” housing at an affordable cost to low-income families. Housing Quality Standards help HUD and local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) accomplish that goal by defining “standard housing” and establishing the minimum quality criteria necessary for the health and safety of program participants. All HCV housing units must meet these housing standards in order to participate in the HCV program.

When do HQS Inspections Occur?

Initial Inspections – Occur when a voucher holder indicates to their DHA that they desire to lease a specific housing unit. The unit must pass the initial inspection before the execution of the assisted lease and housing assistance payments (HAP) contract and the ignition of payments.

Biennial Inspections – Occur every other year on housing units that are currently under lease by an HCV participant family. Biennial inspections ensure that HCV housing units continue to meet HQS throughout the tenancy of the HCV participant family.

Special Inspections – May be complaint inspections or quality control inspections. Complaint inspections occur when a tenant, owner, or member of the public complaints about the condition of an HCV housing unit. Quality control inspections examine a sample of housing units within a given PHA’s jurisdiction each year and occur throughout the year.