Section 8 Inspection Process and Checklist

Learn how to pass your Section 8 inspection (also known as a Housing Quality Standards HQS inspection) with flying colors.

RELATED: Housing Quality Standards for Section 8 Inspections

HQS Inspection Process - Step by Step Guide

Step 1: To rent to a government-subsidized tenant who is under the Housing Choice Voucher or Section 8 program, you and the tenant will have to complete a Request for Tenancy Approval RTA form together. This form is to be submitted to the Public Housing Authority PHA.

Step 2: PHA will then contact you (the landlord) by mail or phone to arrange for a (HQS) Section 8 inspection. This purpose of this inspection is to make sure that your rental property meets the minimum Housing Quality Standards.

Step 3: A Section 8 inspector (a PHA employee or a PHA-hired contractor) will arrive on your rental property on the scheduled inspection date. If your property fails the inspection, you have 30 days to rectify any problems and re-schedule for a second inspection. If your property fails this second inspection, then the tenants will have to look for another rental property.

Step 4: If your property passes the HQS inspection, then you and the tenant must enter into a lease agreement within 30 days.

Section 8 Inspection Checklist - Major Pitfalls

HUD has published an official inspection guidebook entitled "A Good Place to Live!" but since it's over 20 pages, we have listed the most important inspection checks below. These are also the most common reasons for failing HQS inspections so do pay special attention to them:

Windows and Doors

  • The windows must not be damaged or missing
  • All ground floor windows must have locks
  • All doors leading outside must have locks and deadbolts

Flooring, Ceilings and Walls

  • The flooring, walls and ceilings must not have any serious defects such as serious bulging, sagging, large cracks, loose surface or other major damages
  • The flooring must not have any serious damages and cracks that will cause someone to trip and fall
  • The ceiling and roof must not leak. Stained ceilings are often a tell-tale sign of leakage
  • The interior walls of the property must not have chipped or peeling paint

Plumbing and Sanitation

  • The property must have a fixed water basin, flushing toilet and shower/bath tub
  • There must be no plumbing or water leaks
  • There has to be hot and cold running water in both the kitchen and bathroom
  • The bathroom must have either a window or exhaust fan

Lighting and Electrical Fixtures

  • There must be at least 1 working light each in the kitchen and bathroom
  •  All electrical outlets must be working and come with cover plates
  • There must be a working heating system for the property

Structural and Fire Safety

  • There must be a working smoke detector for every rental unit and on every storey of the property
  • All stairs and railings must be secure
  • If you own a rental building - The walkways, porches, lifts and other common areas have to be properly maintained to avoid tenant injury.

If you have failed your first inspection or just want to be sure, we suggest that you take this HUD inspection checklist and give your property a full pre-inspection check.

Section 8 Landlord