Lumiform Mobile audits & inspections
Get App Get App

Ensure Housing Quality Standard With an HQS Inspection Checklist

An HQS inspection checklist ensures that your property meets the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Housing Quality Standards (HQS).

What Is an HQS Inspection Checklist?


Using an HQS inspection checklist properties are inspected before the start of the lease. HQS inspections are also performed regularly throughout the resident’s tenancy to ensure that the property remains compliant.


The Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program or the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) helps people with low income to have a safe and decent home at an affordable rent. The program provides a rental subsidy that helps pay the rent.


Use a HUD inspection form to streamline the HQS process. It ensures that the property meets the standards from heating and plumbing to the living room, kitchen, bathroom, and general health and safety.

This article covers the following topics:


1. What happens during an HQS Inspection


2. Commonly failed items in an HQS inspection form


3. The advantages of an HQS inspection form

Flat interior white


What Happens During an HQS Inspection?


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) finances the Section 8 program. They provide housing assistance payments (HAP) to private landlords on behalf of senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and extremely low and very low-income individuals or families.


You need to pass the inspection as detailed in a HUD inspection form to qualify for the program. Once your property passes the HQS inspection, you can rent it out to someone who has a Section 8 voucher.


A staff member of the Public Housing Authority or an outside inspector the PHA has hired will conduct this inspection. It is in addition to the inspection done by your city. The purpose of this inspection is to ensure that your property meets the Housing Quality standards determined by the HUD.


A property could fall under any of three decisions: “yes, pass,” “no, fail,” or inconclusive. If the report is a “no, fail,” the inspector specifies what repairs need to be done and indicates the date for reinspection and final approval. If it’s a pass, the inspector gives additional comments, if necessary. If the result is inconclusive, the inspector’s report must include an explanation and a date for final approval.


The landlord, tenant, the HUD, Section 8 staff, neighbors, and other interested parties can request inspections. There are four instances when an HQS inspection is necessary:


1. Initial or New Unit Inspection


An initial inspection occurs upon submission of a Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA). If the property passes the HQS inspection, the lease and contract must be executed within 30 days. If the inspection finds 12 violations or deficiencies, a reinspection will be scheduled. A notice will be sent to the owner informing the owner of the result, but it will not list the violations.


If the owner fails the second inspection, the tenant can select a different unit. You will be wasting a lot of time and money if you don’t pass the first inspection. Make sure you have a housing quality standards self-inspection checklist as a guide so you can inspect your property thoroughly.


2. Annual HQS Inspection


An annual inspection must be conducted, as required by the Section Eight Management Assessment Program (SEMAP). Any failure to allow inspections can get the owner or the tenant penalized. The owner and the tenant or their representatives must be at the property during the inspection.


3. Special/Complaint Inspection


If the tenant or owner complains that the unit does not meet HQS, the PHA will conduct an inspection. They may also perform a special inspection based on reports from other interested parties such as public officials and neighbors. A gas or carbon monoxide leak, structural damage, and other life-threatening issues will prompt an inspection within 24 hours of notification.


The owner and the tenant both have the responsibility of making sure the property meets the HQS requirements.


The owner will be given 24 to 48 hours to correct the issues if the deficiencies pose risks to the tenant’s health or safety. If the issues are less serious, the owner will be given up to 25 days to repair them.


The owner must correct the failed items in the HQS inspection form after a reasonable time to correct the item. If not, the housing assistance payment must be reduced. Meanwhile, if the tenant caused the HQS violations, they are responsible for correcting the issues. Failure to do so will lead to the termination of the subsidy.


4. Quality Control Inspections


The purpose of Quality Control inspections is to make sure the property continues to meet HQS throughout the tenancy of the Section 8 participant family.

HQS Inspection Form: Common Failed Items


The HQS inspection form contains a list of areas the inspector will need to assess. These areas, also known as performance requirements, can be found in the HUD inspection checklist 2020. They include the following:

  • Access
  • Food Preparation and Refuse Disposal
  • Illumination and Electricity
  • Interior Air Quality
  • Lead-Based Paint
  • Sanitary Conditions
  • Sanitary Facilities
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Site and Neighborhood
  • Space and Security
  • Thermal Environment
  • Water Supply


You must get yourself a copy of a HUD inspection form or HQS inspection form to ensure that you comply with all the requirements. If you fail in one area, you will fail the entire inspection. If you don’t remedy the violations, your tenant will have the right to move out of your property.


To give you an idea of items to pay extra attention to, here’s a list of the most failed items in many HQS inspections:

  1. Poorly wired electrical outlets, such as when the receptacle is wired the wrong way when an outlet isn’t connected to the grounding system, and other shock hazards
  2. Deteriorated paint, paint adhesion loss, or cracked, flaked, chipped, peeled coating. This is especially important in properties built before 1978 where pregnant women, children younger than six years old, or a child with high environmental intervention blood lead level (EIBLL) reside or will reside
  3. Missing, defective, or incorrectly mounted carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
  4. Faulty windows such as those that are difficult to open, warping, rotting, fogging, and drafty windows
  5. Staircases that have missed, damaged, or loose steps, poor lighting in the stairway, inadequate stair dimensions, improper railing heights, and missing railings
  6. Loose wire connections at the light fixture, switches, and outlets, exposed wires, and faulty neutral wire connections on circuit breaker terminals
  7. Exterior doors that don’t have secure locks and interior doors that don’t open or close properly
  8. Lack of ventilation, such as a screened window or exhaust fan in bathrooms, leaking drains, and dirty gutters and downspouts
  9. Presence of pests, such as roaches, rodents, bedbugs, and any other infestation
  10. Holes and other defects on ceilings, walls, and floors, gas utility and heating system are not in service

Brown building



The Advantages of a digital HQS Inspection Checklist


With Lumiform’s mobile app, you can easily perform a housing quality standards self-inspection checklist using a tablet or smartphone – online or offline. With the desktop software, you create your individual hud inspection form for your different properties. If anything is changing, you customize your existing templates in a snap. As a landlord, facility manager, or real estate agent, you will benefit from the following advantages for each inspection when you use Lumiform’s tool:


  • Customize with the flexible form builder in seconds your HQS Inspection Form according to property type.
  • Get comprehensive inspection reports by including photos and detailed notes.
  • Get an overview of everything that’s going on and changing in housing inspections using the digital surface.
  • Get started digitally right away by accessing over 12.00 free templates. You can also edit these to your needs.
  • Increase the efficiency of your internal processes: Through more efficient communication within the team, with third parties and with management, as well as faster incident reporting, you solve incidents up to 4x faster than before.
Try Lumiform for free

White kitchen with plants

Share this content:

Your contact for all questions concerning HQS Inspection Checklist

You have questions or would like to schedule a personal demo? We are happy to help you!