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Top 30 HQS Inspection Fail Items:

I have compiled a list of some of the most common HQS deficiencies that I encounter in the 1800 or so inspections that I complete each year.

ANY Fail deficiency will Fail the entire HQS inspection.  Many apartments Fail Initial and Annual HQS Inspections. 

The HQS inspection protocol includes both Performance Requirements (Overall Standards) and Acceptability Criteria (definitions of those standards).  While the overall Performance Requirements are rather low, the Acceptability Criteria are not. For example, a Bedroom that has one duplex outlet and one fixed light meets the Performance Requirement.  If the outlet in that same Bedroom does not work, that outlet would Fail the Acceptability Criteria. 

In other words, HQS standards are very basic, but every part that contributes to meeting those standards must operate properly.

Here's the list.  It is in no particular order.  It does not cover every possible Fail item.  It does give you a good idea as to what items you need to watch out for:


1.  Deteriorated paint on all painted surfaces in housing built in 1978 or before in which a pregnant woman or a child under 6 lives or is expected to live.  This includes all painted surfaces in the interior of the apartment and all painted surfaces in common and exterior areas accessible to a pregnant woman or a child under 6.  Areas of deteriorated paint are particularly common in window wells (the part of the window that the sashes close on), areas under kitchen sinks, the interiors of closets and pantries, door and window interior trim and wear surfaces, interior ceilings particularly in bathrooms and exterior siding and trim.

2. Improperly wired/broken outlets- (Reversed polarity, 3 pronged outlets with no ground, faulty GFI outlets and so forth.)

3.  Missing/Broken handrails and/or steps on interior and exterior stairs.

4.  No ventilation in bathroom (There must be an operable window, a power vent or a gravity vent.)

5.  Ungrounded water heater.  Missing water heater blow-off extension. Loose/misaligned exhaust vent on gas water heaters.

6. Missing circuit breakers, open slots in electric panels, missing covers on electrical boxes and water heaters, missing/broken switch plate or outlet covers.

7.  Plumbing leaks under sinks.

8.  Toilet loose on flange/broken/clogged.

9.  Clogged drains.

10.  Missing/broken heater covers.

11.  Interior wall holes in exterior walls.

12.  Deadbolts on exterior doors that require a key to operate both on the inside and the outside.

13.  Broken window panes/missing sashes/windows that won't open.

14.  Broken/missing window locks- Most windows that are nailed shut.

15.  Entry doors that are not secure.

16.  Expired fire extinguisher/elevator/boiler inspection certificates.

17.  Inoperable stove burner or oven.

18.  Leaking/inoperable refrigerator.

19.  Ripped linoleum/cracked or missing floor tiles/no finish floor.

20.  Smoke detector won't fire/missing/low tone/must be H/W (most cases in New Hampshire).

21.  Hallway emergency lights won't operate.

22.  Bath sink/vanity/shower stall not attached to wall.

23.  Leaking plumbing supply or waste pipes or valves in basement.

24.  Infestation by pests (such as mice, rats, fleas, bedbugs, etc.)

25.  Inadequate fire egress- particularly from Bedrooms on the 3rd flr and above.

26.  Hanging electric wires/open unterminated electric wires.

27.  Broken door slabs/frames.

28.  Excessive trash and debris on exterior grounds and dumpster areas.

29.  Little or no hot water.

30.  Oil boiler/furnace needs annual cleaning and service.


As you can see, many of these deficiencies Pass the Performance Requirements and Fail the Acceptability Criteria.  For example: A toilet is present in the apartment and it is private, but it doesn't flush, or there is an approved sewage disposal system but it is leaking.