Housing Quality Standards Inspection

To provide decent, safe and sanitary conditions in all assisted homes, Caribou Housing Agency conducts annual inspections on all housing units participating in the Section 8 Program. In addition to Housing Quality Standard (HQS) inspections, random quality control inspections are conducted on at least 10% of the participating units to ensure program compliance and to confirm that repairs are consistent with current industry standards. Caribou Housing’s HQS inspection policies are located in Chapter 8 of the Housing Choice Voucher Program’s Administrative Plan.


Initial/Move-In Inspections: Caribou Housing conducts initial inspections to approve a unit for participation in the Section 8 Program. The unit must pass the HQS inspection before any Housing Assistance Payments can be paid to the owner; therefore, it is best if the family does not move into the unit before approval.

Annual/Biennial Inspections: HUD requires the Housing Authority to inspect each unit under lease at least annually to confirm that the unit still meets HQS. The inspections may be conducted in conjunction with the family’s annual reexamination, but is typically conducted separately.

Special Inspections: A special inspection may be requested between annual inspections by the owner, the family or a third party as a result of problems identified with a unit between annual inspections.

Quality Control Inspections: HUD requires that a sample of units be inspected by a quality control inspector to ensure that HQS is being enforced correctly and uniformly by all inspectors.


  • Unit must be in “made ready” status. “Made ready” status is defined as a unit that is ready for immediate move-in; for example, units must have all utilities on, a working stove/refrigerator, no trash/debris on site and working heating/cooling equipment (regardless of time of year).
  • Units built pre-1978 can’t have any chipping or peeling paint inside or outside the unit. This also applies to the exterior of secondary buildings, playgrounds, railings and common areas of the property.
  • Stove/Refrigerator must be clean and in working order (no missing kick plates or torn door seals, etc.).
  • Ensure electric, plumbing and gas services are operating in a safe manner and present no danger to occupants. For example, units must not have electric hazards, plumbing leaks, missing/broken P-traps under sinks, gas leaks, etc.
  • All windows must have working locks or a permanently attached locking device.
  • All windows must be in good working condition and able to remain open. Window panes cannot be missing, broken or cracked (cutting hazard.) Plexiglas is not an acceptable repair for glazed windows.
  • All common areas will be inspected for safety hazards (Laundry room/pool area, etc…).
  • The roof must not leak; Indications of a leak are discolorations or stains on the ceiling.
  • The hot water heater tank must have a temperature pressure relief valve with a downward discharge pipe.
  • Floor covering cannot be torn nor have holes/cracks that can cause a tripping/cutting hazard.
  • Stairs and railings must be secure. Handrails are required for steps with four or more consecutive steps or 30 inches or higher above the ground such as around stairwells, balcony, walkways, etc.
  • There should be no trip hazards such as gaps/cracks greater than ¾ inch on sidewalk, walkways, driveways, common areas, etc.
  • Working smoke detectors are required in all bedrooms and adjacent hallways. See manufacturer’s specifications for proper installation.
  • All conversions/additions must pass HQS inspection and be properly permitted by City or local agency having jurisdiction over the unit. CHA may request copies of approved permits.
  • All security/burglar bars must have a quick release mechanism (cannot use key, tool or special knowledge to open).
  • Double-keyed deadbolts, also known as double cylinder locks, are not Allowed at any location.


Re-inspections that are the result of an annual or special/complaint inspection will be used to determine if all required work has been successfully completed in a workmanlike manner. If it is discovered that the work has not been satisfactorily completed, the inspector will abate the Housing Authority portion of the monthly contract rent for up to 30 days.  The abatement will become effective at the first of the month following the re-inspection date. 

The owner/agent may request a re-inspection once the required work has been completed during the abatement period by contacting the assigned inspector. The inspector will schedule a re-inspection to verify completion of the work. If the work is completed and the unit passes inspection, the HAP payment will be released as of the approval date.

Owner/agents will not be entitled to HAP payment from the first of the month until the day the unit passed Housing Quality Standards.

Be advised that abated payments are not recoverable.  

The unit may be terminated from participation from the program, if the unit does not meet Housing Quality Standards, while in the 30 day abatement period.  


For more information on Housing Quality Standards (HQS) guidelines, please see the Caribou Housing Authority’s Administration Plan.

HQS Inspection Checklist

HQS Extension Request

HQS Electrical Certification

HQS Heating Certification

HQS Plumbing Certification

HQS Self-Certification