Housing Quality Standards
The Berkeley Housing Authority is required to inspect each assisted unit before a contract is approved, and at least once every 12 months thereafter. The inspection is performed to determine compliance with HUD's Housing Quality Standards (HQS).
The process for the Annual inspection begins approximately 9 months after the initial inspection to satisfy HUD requirements, and thus the inspection may occur 9 to 12 months after the initial inspection, and every 9-10 months thereafter. Written notice of the inspection is mailed to the tenant and landlord approximately 2 weeks prior to the scheduled inspection. The length of advance notice for “special” inspections is determined by the severity of the conditions. Although we encourage both the tenant and owner to be present, the only requirement is for someone 18 or older to be present who is authorized to grant the Inspection permission to enter the unit. (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
The Berkeley Housing Authority makes available a preliminary checklist in PDF for both owners and tenants to review and get familiar with.
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 28-days. If repairs are confirmed as corrected at the reinspection, there is no impact on the rental subsidy.
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
- No working smoke detector
- Inability to maintain adequate heat (in colder weather)
- 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.
If all the deficiencies noted at the initial inspection are not repaired and confirmed at the scheduled reinspection, the rent will be abated* (withheld) effective the first day of the month following the failed reinspection. Payments will resume effective upon confirmation of all required repairs.
July 1, 2021
Inspection; unit fails HQS.
Aug 1, 2021
Scheduled reinspection date; unit fails or is not available for inspection.
Aug 17, 2021
Unit passes inspection.
The rent (HAP check paid by BHA) would be abated (forfeited) and owner would not be entitled to payment for 16 days (August 1 through 16). Payments will resume August 17. Since the rental subsidy is paid in advance on the first of each month, the BHA would deduct the overpayment from a future rental subsidy payment.
*Exception: If the deficiencies were the responsibility of the family, the BHA will continue providing subsidy payments (HAP), but will initiate termination of the tenant’s voucher.
Note: Tenants must continue paying their rent portion to the landlord, during any abatement period.
Termination of Contract
BHA is responsible for insuring that all assisted units meet minimum Housing Quality Standards (HQS). If a unit is in abatement for more than 180 days, BHA will move to terminate the contract, and as appropriate, initiate termination action for the tenant.