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Section 8 Inspections

Section 8 Program Inspections (FAQ)

1.    What is the inspection process for a new contract?

A:   New contract inspections are part of the leasing process, explained in  Question 1  of the Contracting and Rent Negotiations section.

The Housing Authority does not contact the tenant about the inspection process; it is the owner’s responsibility to determine if the unit is ready for inspection and to establish the inspection date.  Throughout the inspection process, you are encouraged to keep your prospective tenant informed.  We may contact the tenant to confirm the inspection date upon your request.

Note: Before we can conduct an inspection, the previous tenant or the owner must move out of the unit.  We will only inspect a unit if it is vacant, or occupied by the Section 8 tenant.  Changes in the unit condition may occur during the owner or previous tenant’s transition and may affect the unit’s inspection status.

Please be advised that the unit must have all utilities turned on and all appliances in place for the unit to pass the new contract inspection.  The refrigerator and stove in the unit at the time of inspection must be provided by the same person as stated on the lease.

2.    What is the annual inspection process?
A:  The Housing Authority inspects each subsidized unit annually.  You can expect an inspection within 12 months of the previous year’s inspection.  You will receive a written appointment notice of the inspection, no less than ten days before the inspection date.  Notices are mailed out to both owners and tenants.

3.    Who needs to be present for an inspection?
A:   An adult (18 years of age or older) must be present for an inspection to take place.  The Housing Authority strongly recommends that the adult is either the owner, or a tenant who can address questions the inspector may have about specific deficiencies.

4.    What exact time will the inspector arrive?
A:  Inspections are conducted between the hours of 7:00 am and 5:30 pm.  Due to the high volume of inspections that are scheduled on a daily basis, we cannot provide you with a specific time of day that the inspector will arrive. On the day of the inspection appointment, however, if you call the telephone number on the inspection appointment letter, we may be able to determine a window time frame in which you can expect the inspector.

5.    What do I need to do to make sure the unit passes?
A:  The Housing Authority requires that assisted units are decent, safe and sanitary in accordance with federal standards known as Housing Quality Standards (HQS).  Guidance on HQS is provided on the New Contracts Process sheet , which owners receive along with the RTA form.  The July 2003 issue of House Notes also contains information on passing an inspection.

Note: All utilities must be turned on and the appliances must be installed and in proper working condition at the time of inspection.  The stove and refrigerator present at the time of inspection must be provided by the person (owner or tenant) stated on the lease.
In addition, if your unit was built prior to 1978 and the household includes one or more children under 6 years old, inspectors will conduct a Lead-Based Paint visual assessment to make sure that paint is maintained and not posing a potential health hazard.

6.   Why do you need to see the garage when it is not being rented?
A:  The Housing Authority’s inspection must include the unit site and any common areas of the property.  We are obligated to ensure that the property does not pose a danger to the health or safety of assisted families.  Therefore, garages must be accessible for the inspection.  Inspectors will evaluate garages for occupancy and HQS.

7.   After an inspection, how do I find out if the unit passed?
A:  If you are present at the inspection, the inspector will provide you with the results right away, with a copy of the inspection report.  The inspection report indicates the overall inspection result (pass or fail), and provides details on any unit deficiency (fail) items, including identifying the party (owner or tenant) responsible for correcting the deficiency.  We strongly encourage owners to attend inspections whenever possible.  This may help to identify specific deficiency items, and to clarify responsibility between owner and tenant responsibilities.

If you are not at the inspection, you may call the Housing Authority for a result 48 hours after the inspection (24 hours after for new contracts inspections).  If the unit did not pass inspection, a copy of the inspection report that identifies the deficiencies requiring your attention will be mailed to you, along with an appointment notice for a follow-up inspection.  If the inspection is for a new contract, we will attempt to reach you by telephone, in order to expedite the process for you.

Note: All inspection results are subject to a supervisor’s review.

8.   If the inspection failed, who is responsible for correcting the deficiencies?  What is the deadline?
A:   If the unit fails an inspection, the deficiencies must be corrected before the next inspection appointment.  For new contracts, the follow-up inspection is scheduled as soon as possible – generally within 10 days after the initial inspection.  If you are present at the time of the failed initial inspection, you may schedule the follow-up with the inspector at that time. Owners are usually responsible for correcting deficiencies for new contract inspections.

For annual inspections, the party responsible for correcting deficiencies will be stated on the inspection report.  The follow-up inspection will be scheduled no more than 30 days after the initial inspection, to allow you, and/or the tenant, adequate time to make the necessary corrections to the unit.

9.   Can I request reimbursement from a Section 8 tenant for tenant-related deficiencies?
A:  The rules on this subject are governed by State law and not by the Housing Authority.  Please refer to the California Tenant Guidebook on the Department of Consumer Affairs website.

10. How do I inquire about a stopped payment (HAP abatement) due to a failed inspection?
A:  If an assisted unit fails 2 consecutive inspections for owner-related deficiencies, Housing Assistance Payments will be withheld (abated) starting on the first of the month following the second owner-caused failed inspection.  Payments will not be refunded for the period that the unit is on abatement, and they will not resume until the deficiencies are corrected and the unit passes inspection.

Payments may also be abated for failure to comply with lead-based paint requirements.

If your payments have been abated due to failed inspections, you may call the telephone number on your inspection appointment notices, for specific information on your abatement case.

11. Why don’t you conduct move–out inspections anymore?
A:  In the past, some housing assistance programs limited the security deposits that owners could collect from assisted tenants.  Under these programs, the Housing Authority would conduct a move-out inspection at the end of an assisted tenancy to assess for any damage.  The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program allows owners to collect a security deposit to ensure coverage for any damages to their respective units.  However, move-out inspections are still scheduled for units under the Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation program.

12. I have questions about Lead-Based Paint violations and compliance.
A:   Housing built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint.  Lead from paint, paint chips and dust can pose health hazards if not managed properly.  Lead exposure is especially harmful to young children.  The effects of lead poisoning are irreversible, but lead poisoning is preventable.

If your unit was built prior to 1978, and houses a child under 6 years old, you are responsible for maintaining the unit, promptly repairing defective paint, and following safe work practices when making repairs.  Our Lead Info for Owners packet explains these requirements in detail.  You may also wish to visit HUD’s Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control website, or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lead website .

If you have specific questions regarding an inspection, please call the number on your appointment notice.  If you have not received an appointment notice, please contact the program specialist.

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