Pre-Rental Inspection Guidelines: Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program
The following information is provided as a general guide to what this department's inspector will look for when conducting an initial Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection of your rental unit. While this is not a complete list, it does cover the most common conditions, which would result in a failed HQS inspection:
- Certificates of (Compliance), (Occupancy), (Zoning Compliance) or (Existing use) are required for the structure and all additions, decks, added electrical and or plumbing. In the case of added electrical work, an Electrical Inspection Certificate may be required.
- The previous tenant and their belongings must be out of the unit.
- The utilities (water, electric, and gas) must be turned on. Additionally, there must be oil for the boiler (if applicable).
- Plumbing, electrical and heating systems must be in a safe working order. Leaking faucets, missing outlet cover plates, exposed electrical connections and leaking drains would result in a failed inspection.
- The unit must be broom cleaned and ready for inspection. Kitchen ovens and stove tops and refrigerators shall be clean.
- The kitchen must have a clean, washable, food preparation area of adequate size for the family. GFCI outlets are required at each countertop and in bathrooms.
- There must be a clean working refrigerator and stove at the time of inspection (regardless of who is supplying the refrigerator).
- Bathrooms must have privacy locks.
- The bathroom must have adequate ventilation in the form of an operable window, skylight or an electrically operated exhaust fan vented to the exterior.
- The floors in the kitchen and bathroom(s) must be of an easily washable and sanitary material.
- Bedrooms require complete doors that are closable. (Louver doors are not acceptable). Doors to bedrooms must not have deadbolts or keyed lock sets. Doorjambs must not be cracked or broken.
- Minimum size for bedrooms are 70 square feet (exclusive of closet area). The least horizontal measurement is 7 feet and minimum ceiling height in all habitable spaces is 7 feet 6 inches. The living room and bedrooms must have adequate light, ventilation and adequate space for the intended number of occupants.
- Defective paint will fail the inspection. Peeling, flaking or chalking paint may require an EPA certified paint inspection.
- In addition to meeting fire egress requirements, windows must not be broken, must fit properly, be easily opened and on accessible first floor rooms be lockable. Minimum opening of four square feet with least dimension of 18 inches. New housing egress openings may require larger openings.
- There must be at least one smoke detector on each floor and basement level of the rental unit. On levels with bedrooms or sleeping areas the smoke detector shall be located outside the sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms. On older homes battery units are acceptable.
- Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors complying with UL2034 shall be installed and maintained in all residences that have fuel burning appliances or equipment, a fireplace or an attached garage. CO detectors shall be installed at the same locations that smoke detectors are installed. Combination carbon and smoke detectors shall not be utilized. Tenant is responsible for all battery changes and cleaning.
- The exterior of the rental unit must be in good condition. Green mold must be washed off.
- Missing sections of siding and/or shingles, open cesspools, unstable porches, decks, accessory buildings or any condition creating a health and safety hazard will result in a failure.
- Garbage and debris must be removed from the property before the inspection. Lawns shall be mowed/snow shoveled.
- Stairs exceeding 18 inches in height require handrails. Exterior concrete steps exceeding 18 inches require wrought iron railings.
- Oil lines from tank to boiler must be protected in mortar and follow perimeter wall.
- Above ground swimming pools must be properly fenced and installed to State Code. In ground pools will require a Certificate of Compliance issued by the Building Department.
- Basement spaces that comply with habitable space requirements under the existing code may be utilized as living space.