Uniform Physical Condition Standards for Vouchers (Inspections)

Introduction

The goal of the Housing Choice Voucher Program is to provide “decent, safe and sanitary” housing at an affordable cost to low-income families. To accomplish this, program regulations set forth basic Uniform Physical Condition Standards for Vouchers (UPCS-V) which all units must meet before assistance can be paid on behalf of a family and periodically throughout the term of the assisted tenancy. UPCS-V establishes the minimum criteria necessary for the health and safety of program participants.

AMHA will also have an inspection supervisor or an inspections certified designee perform quality control inspections on a sample of units under contract annually to maintain AMHA's required standards and to assure consistency in AMHA's program. This page describes AMHA's procedures for performing UPCS-V inspections and other types of inspections, and standards for the timeliness of repairs. It also explains the responsibilities of the landlord and family, and the consequences of non-compliance with UPCS-V requirements for both families and landlords.

Please review the AMHA Landlord Presentations below.

Guidelines / Types of Inspections

Efforts will be made at all times to encourage landlords to provide housing above UPCS-V minimum standards.

There are fourtypes of inspections AMHA will perform:

  • Initial/Move-in: Conducted upon receipt of Request for Tenancy Approval
  • Periodic: Must be conducted within twenty-four months of the anniversary date of the last full inspection
  • Special/Complaint: At request of landlord, family, agency, or third-party
  • Quality Control: to maintain standards and to assure consistency


Initial UPCS-V Inspection

All utilities must be in service prior to the first initial inspection. If the utilities are not in service at the time of inspection, the unit will be considered “failed” and the unit will be rescheduled for an inspection date when all the utilities are in service. An initial inspection cannot be considered passed until the unit is inspected with all appropriate utilities in service.

If the tenant is responsible for supplying the stove and/or the refrigerator, AMHA will allow the stove and refrigerator to be placed in the unit after the inspection.  If after the unit has passed all other standards, the family certifies that the appliances are in the unit and working according to the UPCS-V standards, AMHA will not conduct a re-inspection.

The Initial Inspection will be conducted to:

  • Determine if the unit and property meet UPCS-V
  • Document the current condition of the unit as to assist in future evaluations whether the condition of the unit exceeds normal wear and tear
  • Document the information to be used for determination of rent reasonableness

If the unit fails the initial UPCS-V inspection, the landlord will be advised to notify AMHA once repairs are completed.

After failing an initial inspection, the landlord will be notified by the Inspections department via phone of the next available date and time that the unit can be reinspected. If repairs are not anticipated to be complete by that day and time, the landlord may indicate the date in which the repairs are expected to be complete. A reinspection may be scheduled for after the expected completion date or the Inspections department may contact the landlord at a later time to reschedule if the expected completion date is unknown.

The landlord will be allowed up to 2 re-inspections for repair work to be completed.

If 30 days has lapsed since the first inspection, or the maximum number of failed re-inspections has occurred, the family must select another unit.

If the voucher is near expiration prior to the unit passing and the unit fails, the client will be advised to select another unit and reminded of how much time is remaining on their voucher.


Periodic UPCS-V Inspections

* Landlords are strongly encouraged to complete a pre-inspection before the date of the Housing Choice Voucher Program inspection to assess and complete repairs if needed.

AMHA conducts an inspection in accordance with UPCS-V at least biennially. Special inspections may be scheduled between anniversary dates in addition to the periodic inspections.

The landlord must correct deficiencies, which cause a unit to fail, unless it is a fail for which the tenant is responsible.

The family must allow AMHA to inspect the unit at reasonable times with reasonable notice. Inspections will be conducted on business days only. Reasonable hours to conduct an inspection are between 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

AMHA will notify the family in writing at least 10 days prior to the inspection.

Inspection: The family and landlord are notified of the date and time of the inspection appointment by mail and on the Landlord Portal for the convenience of the landlord. If the family misses/reschedules two (2) inspection appointments, AMHA will consider the family to have violated their Family Obligations and their assistance may be terminated in accordance with the termination procedures outlined in the HCVP Administrative Plan.

Time Standards for Repairs:

  • Emergency items which endanger the family's health or safety must be corrected by the landlord within 24 hours of notification. (See Emergency Repair Items section below).
  • For non-emergency items, repairs must be made by the scheduled reinspection date, which is within 30 days.
  • For major repairs, the Inspections supervisor may approve an extension beyond 30 days with written documentation received at least 24 hours before the scheduled re-inspection date.

If the repair(s) can be verified by use of a third party (such as utilities or pest control), whether it is tenant or landlord responsibility, AMHA may use that resource in lieu of a physical re-inspection, by the re-inspection date which will be scheduled within 30 days for non-emergency violations and within 24 hours for non-life threatening emergencies.


Special / Complaint Inspections

If at any time the family or landlord notifies AMHA that the unit does not meet UPCS-V standards, AMHA will conduct an inspection.

AMHA may also conduct a special inspection based on information from third parties such as neighbors or public officials.

AMHA will inspect only the items which were reported, but if the inspector notices additional deficiencies that would cause the unit to fail UPCS-V, the responsible party will be required to make the necessary repairs.


Quality Control Inspections

The Inspections supervisor or inspections certified designee will perform Quality Control Inspections on a sample of units as required by SEMAP. The purpose of Quality Control Inspections is to ascertain that each inspector is conducting accurate and complete inspections, and to ensure that there is consistency among inspectors in application of the UPCS-V.

A sampling will include a cross-section of neighborhoods and a cross-section of inspectors. The quality control inspector or supervisor may be present with the inspector during the inspections.


Emergency Repair Items [24 CFR 982.404(a)]

The following items are considered of an emergency nature and must be corrected by the landlord or tenant (whoever is responsible) within 24 hours of notice by the inspector:

  • Life Threatening:Gas (natural or liquid petroleum) leak or fumes
  • Gas/oil fired water heater/HVAC with missing or misaligned chimney
  • Inoperable or missing carbon monoxide detector
  • Deteriorated paint as defined by 24CFR 34.110 in a unit built before 1978 that is to be occupied by a family with a child under 6 years of age: This is a life-threatening condition only for the purpose of a condition that would prevent a family from moving into the unit.
  • Fire Extinguishers- where required
  • Electrical problem which could result in shock or fire
  • Building lacks an alternate means of exit in case of fire
  • Lack of at least one functional smoke detector on each floor level of the unit

Emergency:

  • Lack of security
  • Utilities not in service (such as electricity, gas (LP/natural), water, or oil)
  • No running hot water
  • Structural integrity condition – a condition exists where the building, or a component of the building, is in imminent danger of potential collapse
  • Absence of at least one functioning sink and toilet unit
  • No heat when outside temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and temperature inside unit is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Presence of a non-working air conditioner or lack of adequate ventilation when the outside temperature has reached above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, for units that house seniors and/or persons with disabilities
  • Major plumbing leaks or flooding, open sewage
  • No working refrigerator
  • No working stove/oven or other method of heating/preparing foods

For non-life threatening reasons, AMHA may give a short extension (not more than 3 business days) whenever the responsible party cannot be immediately notified or it is impossible to complete non-life threatening repairs within a 24-hour period.


Consequences If Landlord Is Responsible

When it has been determined that a unit on the program fails to meet Uniform Physical Condition Standards for Vouchers, and the landlord is responsible for completing the necessary repair(s) in the time period specified by AMHA, the assistance payment to the landlord will be abated.


Abatement

AMHA must abate Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) to the landlord for failure to correct a UPCS-V violation under the following circumstances:

  • An emergency (life-threatening) violation is not corrected within 24 hours of inspection and AMHA did not extend the time for compliance;
  • A routine violation is not corrected by the reinspection date (within 30 days of the original inspection) and AMHA did not extend the time for compliance.

After a unit goes into abatement, the final inspection will be scheduled 25-30 days from the date the unit went into abatement for routine violations. Upon completing repairs, landlords may call to inform AMHA. The abatement will be reduced, contingent upon the unit passing the 2nd re-inspection, to five days from the date that the landlord called to inform AMHA that the repairs were completed.

Payments will not be made to the landlord for the period of time the HAP was abated and the unit did not comply with UPCS-V. The notice of abatement states that the tenant is not responsible for AMHA's portion of rent that is abated.


Reduction of Payments

AMHA will grant an extension in lieu of abatement in the following cases:

  • The landlord provides documentation, before the 1st reinspection date, from a contractor stating the date that the repairs are expected to be completed (receipts may be accepted if the landlord is making repairs)
  • The extension is approved by the Inspections Supervisor
  • The landlord is making a major upgrade

The extension will be made for a period of time not to exceed 30 days. At the end of that time, at AMHA's discretion, if the work is not completed, AMHA will begin the abatement.


Termination of Contract

If the landlord is responsible for repairs, and fails to correct all the deficiencies cited prior to the end of the abatement period, the landlord will be sent a HAP Contract Termination Notice.

Prior to the effective date of the termination, the abatement will remain in effect.

If repairs are completed before the effective termination date, the termination will be rescinded if the tenant chooses to remain in the unit. Only one inspection will be conducted after the termination notice is issued.


Determination of Responsibility

Certain UPCS-V deficiencies are considered the responsibility of the family:

  • Tenant paid utilities not in service
  • Failure to provide or maintain family-supplied appliances
  • Damage to the unit or premises caused by a household member or guest beyond normal wear and tear.  “Nnormal wear and tear" is defined as items which could not be charged against the tenant's security deposit under state law or court practice

The landlord is responsible for all other UPCS-V violations.

The landlord is responsible for vermin infestation. However, if such infestation is serious and repeated, it may be considered a lease violation and the landlord may evict for serious or repeated violation of the lease. AMHA may terminate the family's assistance on that basis.

The inspector will make a determination of landlord or family responsibility during the inspection.


Consequences if Family is Responsible

If emergency or non-emergency violations of UPCS-V are determined to be the responsibility of the family, AMHA will require the family to make any repair(s) or corrections by the next inspection date. If the repair(s) or correction(s) are not made in this time period, AMHA will propose termination of assistance to the family. The family will receive a proposed cancellation letter to request a hearing. The landlord's rent will not be abated for items that are the family’s responsibility.

If the tenant is responsible and corrections are not made, the HAP Contract will terminate when assistance is terminated.