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Housing Quality Standards: What are HQS Inspections?

Housing Quality Standards What are HQS Inspections

When you’re looking to buy a property, you must know what the housing quality standards are. That’s why housing quality inspections (HQS) are so important. 

This article will discuss what HQS inspections are and why they’re necessary. We’ll also discuss the different types of inspections and what they entail. So if you’re wondering whether or not your property needs an HQS inspection, read on!


What is HQS?

To help low-income families purchase or lease decent, safe, and sanitary housing units, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development created the Housing Quality Standards (HQS). This program ensures minimum housing quality standards are met in units that participate in HUD voucher programs. HQS standards are required both at initial occupancy and during the lease term.


What is HQS Inspection?

An HQS inspection verifies that the unit meets with the Housing Quality Standards Section 8 of the US Housing Act of 1937—also known as the Rental Assistance program or the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP). A certified inspector from the Public Housing Agency (PHA) is the one who conducts the inspection, covering both the interior and exterior of the unit. The housing authority regularly conducts HQS inspections as they are a project-based or tenant-based yearly requirement. It can be announced or unannounced, depending on the housing authority. 


Why is HQS Inspection Necessary?

HQS inspections are important because they help to ensure that the units being leased are up to par with HUD’s housing quality standards. By conducting these inspections, HUD can ensure that tenants live in safe and decent housing. Additionally, HQS inspections can help prevent fraud and abuse within the HCVP program.


The HQS Inspection Process

As authorized by law, the HQS establishes the minimum requirements that any residential unit should meet to become eligible for Housing Assistance Payments (HAP). This support is provided via direct deposit from the local housing authority. 

To prepare for an initial HQS or pre-HAP inspection here’s what property owners, landlords, and managers can expect the process structure to look like:

Pre-HQS Inspection

Before HQS inspection, you should be aware of the general HQS requirements. Apart from the building exterior, plumbing and heating, and general health and safety of the unit, the following areas should also meet housing quality standards:

  • Space and security
  • Sanitary facilities
  • Sanitary conditions
  • Food preparation
  • Refuse disposal
  • Electricity and illumination
  • Thermal environment
  • Interior air quality
  • Structure and materials
  • Water supply
  • Access
  • Lead-based paint
  • Sanitary conditions
  • Smoke detectors
  • Site and neighborhood


During HQS Inspection

Once the inspector arrives, they will first identify themselves and present you with their official credentials. They will then conduct a thorough inspection of the unit, both inside and out. If the inspector determines that all items meet the inspection criteria, their final rating will be a “Pass.” However, if any item is marked as “Fail,” the unit will fail the inspection entirely.

The HQS inspection report will specify the conditions and reasoning that caused the unit to fail. It will also indicate the necessary repairs and resolution to pass the HQS during re-inspection. If the property owner or manager is present during the inspection, the inspector will notify them about the non-compliant items and what needs to be done to correct them.

When the tenant is not present at the inspection or when the inspector cannot access the property, they will rate the unit as “inconclusive.” The inspector should follow up on the landlord about any inconclusive items in the HQS inspection form later.

Pos-HQS Inspection

After the HQS inspection, the landlord will need to execute the following:

  • Make the necessary repairs to the unit if it has failed the inspection.
  • Facilitate the inspector’s access to the unit for re-inspection.
  • Comply with the terms of the HAP contract.
  • Pay for utilities.
  • Maintain the unit in accordance with the HQS.
  • Ensure continued compliance.


Common Failed Items During an HQS Inspection

Usually, landlords hoping for HCVP should resolve failed items identified in the HQS inspection within the next 30 days. To give you a heads up, here are some of the most common items that tend to fail during an HQS inspection:

  • Non-functional smoke detectors
  • No railing where required.
  • Cracked or missing electrical outlet cover plates.
  • Trip hazards caused by floor coverings (vinyl/carpets).
  • Broken or cracked window panes.
  • Missing or damaged burner control knobs.
  • Non-functional stove burners or range hoods.
  • Poor plumbing system, leaking faucets.
  • Inoperable bathroom fan
  • Lacking proper ventilation
  • No pressure relief or temperature valves on water heaters.


The inspector will provide a list of items that failed during the HQS inspection. The landlord must then correct these items within 30 days. On the other hand, if the inspector detects failed items during a re-inspection, they will only give the landlord 24 hours to address and resolve them.


Use DataMyte Digital Clipboard to Pass Your HQS Inspections!

If you want to pass your HQS inspection and get that coveted HCVP, you’ll need to prepare your unit for it. One way to do so is by creating an HQS inspection checklist of your own—similar to the one used by HQS inspectors.

The best way to create a comprehensive HQS inspection checklist is by using the DataMyte Digital Clipboard and its customizable smart forms and checklist feature. With our Digital Clipboard, you can easily add or remove items on your checklist and create new ones specific to your unit. You can also share your checklist with other team members and collaborate on it in real-time!

With a digital HQS inspection checklist, you can prepare for your inspection ahead of time and avoid any potential hiccups that could occur. Additionally, you can easily document and track any repairs that need to be made after the inspection.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started on your digital HQS inspection checklist today with the DataMyte Digital Clipboard! Visit our website to learn more.



As a landlord, property manager, or owner of a Section-Eight voucher unit, it’s important to be aware of HQS inspections and what they entail. By familiarizing yourself with the inspection process and using a digital HQS inspection checklist from DataMyte, you can ensure that your units are up to par and avoid any potential issues down the road.



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