New Inspection Standards will go into effect for the Housing Choice Voucher Program effective October 1st, 2023
On 6/20/2023, HUD finalized new inspection codes that will be replacing the current Housing Quality Standards (HQS) codes used for Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Inspections. The new standards are entitled the “National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate” (NSPIRE).
HUD's Goal for Replacing Housing Quality Standards
HUD’s goal with these new standards is to reduce health and safety hazards in covered units, consolidate the inspection standards across multiple HUD programs such as Public Housing, Multi-Family, and the Housing Choice Voucher Program, and make the inspection standards clearer, less ambiguous, and less up to interpretation.
NSPIRE Standards go into Effect October 1, 2024
HUD has advised that all Housing Choice Voucher programs, nationwide, must enforce these new inspection codes starting October 1st, 2023. However, HUD Has granted the Wichita Falls Housing Department a 1-year extension to come into compliance with most NSPIRE items (excluding standards related to unvented gas space heaters). The City of Wichita Falls will therefore begin enforcement of the NSPIRE standards starting October 1st, 2024.
Unvented Gas Space Heaters Effective 10/1/2023
Per PIH Notice 2023-28, HUD has confirmed that it has rescinded all Unvented Gas Space Heaters Waivers that were previously issued to PHAs effective 10/1/2023.
Per HUD, for any initial inspection that occurs on or after October 1, 2023, PHAs may not execute a new Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract for a unit with an unvented, fuel-burning space heater. The owner must provide an appropriate heating source prior to HAP contract execution. During any scheduled periodic inspection that occurs between October 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023, the presence of an unvented, fuel-burning space heater must be cited, and the owner must remove and replace it with an appropriate heating source no later than December 31, 2023. The owner must also ensure that if there is no carbon monoxide device in the unit, one must be installed within 24 hours, in accordance with statutory requirements. For inspections that occur on or after January 1, 2024, the presence of an unvented, fuel-burning space heater will be considered a failed item under HQS that the owner must correct in accordance with regulatory requirements and PHA-established timeframes. If the owner doesn’t correct the deficiency within the required timeframes, the PHA must abate HAP and enforce the owner obligations in accordance with program requirements in 24 CFR 982.404.
New Heat Source Requirements
All heat sources must be permanently installed (installed and self-fueled, permanently affixed within the unit or building, safely connected to the unit or building electrical system, thermostatically controlled by the unit or building, and be able to maintain a minimum of 68 degrees Fahrenheit between October 1st and March 31st.
Permanently installed heating sources may include forced air heating, radiant heat, baseboard units heated by electric, or installed wall units and may have an electric, gas, or oil energy source. Permanently installed heat sources may not be cooking appliances, portable space heaters, fireplaces, or wood stoves.
For more information regarding PIH Notice 2023-28 please visit: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/reac/nspire/standards
The new NSPIRE standards can be viewed by visiting the following link: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/reac/nspire/standards
Click Here to download an abridged NSPIRE checklist.
More Information regarding NSPIRE can be found by visiting: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/reac/nspire
NSPIRE-related questions can be answered directly by HUD via the following email: NSPIRE@hud.gov