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October 19, 2018
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Home > Regional Housing & Planning Programs > Housing Programs > Housing Choice Voucher Program

Housing Quality Standards

Housing Quality Standards (HQS), developed by HUD, are used to ensure that housing subsidized by the Housing Choice Voucher Program remains safe, decent and sanitary. HQS is a comprehensive set of guidelines for the inspection of federal and state subsidized housing units. HQS address a variety of housing safety and quality issues including: lead-based paint regulations, pest control, trash disposal, appliances, and the proper installation of smoke detectors. The program is flexible, allowing local housing agencies to institute stricter standards as well.

Examples of HQS Inspection Items

  • Ceilings and walls are in good condition with no large cracks, holes, peeling paint or loose plaster.
  • All rooms have either two working electrical boxes or one working outlet and one overhead light or light fixture.
  • Presence of locks on ground floor windows.
  • Adequate space for storage and food preparation.
  • Kitchen and bathroom have hot and cold running water.
  • Handrails are present for stairwells composed of four or more steps.

Examples of Common Inspection Failures

  • Exterior doors without dead bolt, thumb-turned locks.
  • Chipped or peeling paint.
  • Wet or damp basements.
  • Window screens missing or in poor repair.
  • Windows difficult to open or fail to properly remain open, and cracked or broken windows.
  • Plumbing problems such as leaking faucets or running toilets.
  • Electrical problems such as exposed wiring, broken switches, cracked plates or ungrounded/failed plugs.
  • Outside fencing in poor repair.
  • Gutter and downspouts unsecured, rusted or missing.
  • Missing or inoperable smoke detectors.
  • Inoperable burners on stoves, missing burner knobs or inoperable range hoods.
  • No temperature/pressure relief valve on water heaters.
  • Trip hazards caused by permanently installed floor coverings.
  • Utilities not in service.

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