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The Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspection Site

HQS is the standard inspection protocol that is used HUD funded for Section 8 properties and several other HUD funded programs.  HUD requires that HQS inspections be completed each time a new apartment is rented to a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher participant and once a year for the duration of the lease on that apartment, as well as under certain special circumstances.  Normally, HQS inspections are ordered by local HUD funded Housing Authorities as a part of their tenant-based or project-based Section 8 Programs. 

The intent of this site is to provide information about Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspections- what they are, why they matter to a tenant and a landlord and what to expect from an HQS inspection.

My name is Dann Dodd.  I have been conducting HQS inspections as a contract inspector to local Housing Authorities in New Hampshire since 1997. This year I will conduct about 1800 HQS inspections for 7 New Hampshire Housing Authorities.

Over the years, it has become apparent to me that despite the volumes of information available on HQS through HUD, the Housing Authorities, independent companies and the web, landlords and tenants are still less than well informed about the Inspection component of the various Section 8 programs in which they participate.

Section 8 Voucher programs are one of the main reasons that local Housing Authorities exist throughout the United States.  Their charge is to be sure that the money they provide as subsidies is well and appropriately spent.  The HQS inspection protocol was developed by HUD to ensure that the physical housing that they are subsidizing is 'safe, sanitary and decent'.  The HQS Inspection is fundamentally a physical inspection of the physical thing the landlord has put up for lease in return for a fee. 

HQS inspections are conducted using a checklist.  The basic checklist used is the same all across the United States.  There are various forms of this checklist: a standard form (HUD 52580), an expanded form with definitions of the standards (HUD 52580a) and various electronic format forms.  In all cases, the checklists which are used by inspectors to conduct HQS inspections are identical to or a facsimile of the HUD 52580.  

I will not go into a point-by-point discussion of the forms and standards here.  You can download your own copy of the HQS checklist here.  If you are unfamiliar with HQS, go for the 52580a form.  It has definitions and explanations.  If you just want a checklist, go for the 52580.  It is shorter.