Housing Authority of Lancaster

Housing Quality Standards (HQs) Inspection

Initial Inspection

The Housing Authority of Lancaster is required to perform an initial inspection of each unit to determine compliance with Housing Quality Standards (HQS) for the property to qualify for the Housing Choice Voucher Program. This process ensures the unit meets the minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by HAL. (Note:  1) The unit must be move-in ready; 2) No deposits should be paid until after the inspection).

Bi-Annual Inspection

The Housing Authority of Lancaster is required to inspect each assisted unit at least bi-annually.  The inspection is performed to determine compliance with Housing Quality Standards (HQS). Written notice of the inspection is mailed to the tenant and landlord approximately 3-4 weeks prior to the scheduled inspection.  Although we encourage both the tenant and owner to be present, the only requirement is for someone 18 or older to be present. (Note: if your maintenance person is on hand at the time of the inspection, minor repairs can be made on the spot, avoiding the need for a reinspection).

Addressing HQS Deficiencies

Owner Responsibility for HQS.  The owner must maintain the unit in accordance with HQS.

Tenants’ Responsibility for HQS.  The tenant is responsible for correcting any deficiency of HQS that is caused by:

  • Failure to grant access to the unit after receiving proper notice;
  • Failure to pay for any utilities that the owner is not responsible for paying;
  • Failure to provide and maintain any tenant-supplied appliances (i.e. stove and refrigerator);
  • Damage to the unit beyond normal wear and tear; and
  • Failure to report service issues in a timely manner to avoid costly repairs to the unit.

Repair Grace Period

Within three business days of the inspection, the Housing Authority will provide the owner and/or the tenant with a written report of deficiencies that must be corrected.  The notice will advise the date the unit will be reinspected – generally in 30-days.  If repairs are confirmed as corrected at the reinspection, there is no impact on the rental subsidy.

Abatement Period

If all the deficiencies noted at the initial inspection are not repaired and confirmed at the scheduled reinspection, the rent will be abated* (forfeited) and is not recoverable effective the date of the scheduled reinspection.  Payments will resume effective upon confirmation of all required repairs. Since the rental subsidy is paid in advance on the first of each month, the HAL would deduct the overpayment from a future rental subsidy payment if necessary.

*Exception: If the deficiencies were the responsibility of the family, the HAL will continue providing subsidy payments, but will initiate termination of the tenant’s voucher.

Termination of Contract 

The HAL is responsible for insuring that all assisted units meet minimum Housing Quality Standards (HQS).  If all required repairs are not corrected within 60-days of the initial inspection, the HALwill move to terminate the contract, and as appropriate, initiate termination action for the tenant.

Emergency Fail Items

Emergency fail items (see partial listing below) must be completed and confirmed within 24-hours:

  • No hot or cold water
  • No electricity
  • Inability to maintain adequate heat
  • Major plumbing leak
  • Natural gas leak
  • Broken lock(s) on first floor doors or windows
  • Broken windows that unduly allow weather elements into the unit
  • Electrical outlet smoking or sparking
  • Exposed electrical wires which could result in shock or fire
  • Unusable toilet when only one toilet is present in the unit
  • Security risks such as broken doors or windows that would allow intrusion
  • Other conditions which pose an immediate threat to health or safety.