We often get inquires from property owners/managers wanting to know what items we look for while completing a unit inspection. Listed below are some general items our inspectors will be looking at while inspecting your property.
Please be aware that it would be impossible to list every situation an inspector may encounter, this information is provided to give you guidance only.
Section 8 Housing Quality Standards
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Notices and Handbooks
Policies and procedures for HUD sponsored programs are set forth in several sources. Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the principal source of Federal Housing Regulations. The CFR is published annually.
HUD handbooks contain regulations, clarifications, and guidance. They provide technical assistance to those implementing HUD programs. In addition, HUD issues official notices not only to update handbooks and regulations but also to specify the procedures to be followed in implementing changes in regulations.
The intent is to establish minimum criteria necessary for health and safety for occupants of housing assisted under the program. The minimum criteria contain both performance requirements and acceptability criteria. HQS provides guidance for determining unit acceptability. Some criteria focus on health and safety and require the Housing Authority to determine if the unit is acceptable. Other criteria relate to decency and suitability, thus permitting the tenant to determine unit acceptability.
Completion of The Inspection Checklist
Application of standards by inspectors must be accurate. Evaluation and determination of Pass/Fail items must be consistent, unit-to-unit. The focus to be on HQS rather than housekeeping practices (evaluate housekeeping only if decent, safe and sanitary conditions are affected). Ratings are to be made with objectivity. The entire checklist must be completed. Items should not be omitted. The form provides that if one inspection item FAILS, the unit FAILS. The form provides for the use of inspector determination in "Pass with Comment" inspection items. For proper documentation, record condition of unit prior to tenant moving in (except annual inspections), for security deposit purposes and to aid in resolving owner/tenant conflicts at end of lease term. Pass with comment areas are recorded as being tenant preference. The form should be used to comment on repairs needed for rent reasonableness purposes. The completed form must reflect a pass or fail determination. Conditional approvals are permitted only in instances of severe weather items. A final determination concerning inconclusive items must be made and noted. Necessary to reinspect and record disposition of items that received a fail rating.
Electricity And Security
The outlets required, by type of room, are:
A Living Room requires two outlets or, one outlet and one permanently installed ceiling or wall light fixture.
A Kitchen requires one working outlet AND one permanently installed wall or ceiling fixture in working condition (a working outlet cannot substitute for a light fixture).
A Bathroom requires a permanent light fixture, in working condition. An outlet cannot be substituted for a permanent light fixture.
A Bedroom or any other room used for sleeping (code 1) requires two outlets, or one outlet and one permanently installed light fixture.
All Other Roomsused for living (code 2-6) require a means of natural or artificial illumination such as a light fixture, a wall outlet to serve a lamp, a window in the room or adequate light from an adjacent room.
Each outlet must be permanently installed in the baseboard, wall or floor of the room. A single outlet may have more than one receptacle. A permanently installed light fixture is one that is securely fastened to a ceiling or wall and is not movable.
These cannot be counted as an outlet for HQS purposes:
Table or floor lamps
Ceiling lamps plugged into a socket
An extension cord plugged into another plug (no extension cords allowed for wiring purposes).
To be acceptable, the following conditions must be present:
Both the outlets and light must be working.
If the light does not work, check to be sure the bulb is not burned out.
If the electric service to the unit is temporarily disconnected: Check inconclusive. A reinspection of the unit will be necessary to verify that the electric outlets and switches operate properly when the service is on. All tenants must maintain electrical service to their unit. No initial inspection will take place if the electrical service is not on.
An electrical hazard is:
A broken or frayed electrical wire(s), indicating wear or age.
An exposed or bare metal or copper wire(s), not covered by rubber or plastic insulation.
A loose or improper wire connection to an outlet or improper splicing of wire(s).
A light fixture hanging from an electric wire or cord with no other firm support.
A missing or cracked switch and/or outlet cover plate(s).
An exposed fuse box connector or connections.
Overloaded circuits evidenced by frequently "blown" fuses or "tripped" breakers with hazard of electrocution or fire.
Rubber or plastic coated electrical wiring mounted on the exterior surface of a wall or ceiling in a manner that could result in its being broken, cut or otherwise damaged. Surface mounted nonmetallic-sheathed wire such as "Romex" is a hazard of this type. Any wiring of this type must be securely attached to a wall or ceiling, out of the way of traffic. A metal-sheathed electrical wire can be mounted on a wall and ceiling surface irrespective of location.
A lamp cord that is being used as a permanent part of the electrical system.
A non-working outlet, but only if the electrical box or cover plate gives off a shock or if there are scorch marks around the outlet.
Electrical cords which run under rugs or other floor coverings (a potential fire hazard).
Improper connections, insulation or grounding of any component of the electrical system.
A wire laying in or located near standing water, too near where water might splash, or any other unsafe place.
An outlet or electrical heating appliance very close to a bathtub (poses a "shock" hazard).
The Acceptability of the location of outlets and fixtures is a tenant preference.
Space and Security
The unit must have a minimum of a:
The unit must contain at least one sleeping or living/sleeping room for each two persons.
Tenant Preference On Space
Acceptability of the location of the living room, kitchen area, and bathroom with-in the dwelling unit.
Appropriate size of these rooms and all sleeping and living/sleeping rooms. Most housing agencies have a minimum square footage for bedrooms.
General Security Requirements
These areas must be lockable:
Unit's windows that are accessible from the outside. HUD states that a lockable combination storm/screen window with a non-lockable inside window is acceptable.
Unit's exterior doors that provide access to or egress from the unit. To be accessible from outside means: doors that open to the outside or into a common, public hallway. Windows or doors that lead onto a fire escape, porch, or other outside area that can be reached from the ground such as: Basement, first floor, fire escape windows.
Lock For Doors
The requirements are:
All locks should be operable and fastened securely to the door.
The lock "striker plate" should be operable and fastened securely to the door frame.
The presence of only a chain lock is not acceptable and will not permit the unit to pass.
A simple "bolt lock" is not acceptable and is inadequate if it is the only lock on the only door of the unit. Key only dead bolt locks are not acceptable.
The door frame must be strong enough to cause the door and lock to close securely.
The doors and component parts must be free from damage that would seriously affect their use and ability to be locked such as: splits, cracks, and holes.
Locks For Windows
The requirements are:
Locks installed on windows must work and when placed in the locked position, hold securely.
A window that is nailed shut is acceptable unless: it is needed as an alternative means of exit in case of fire. This seriously decreases air circulation within the unit; or it is required to be openable for sleeping room purposes. A security bas is acceptable if used for sliding windows. Note: Most housing agencies will not pass a unit with a window nailed shut.
Locked security or burglar bars that cover the entire window are not acceptable; they must have a quick release mechanism.
General Room Standards
Basic Objectives In Rating Windows
To assure that windows are located in certain rooms. that windows be openable where required, and that all windows in the room are reasonably weather tight.
Location And Openability Requirements
The requirements for location and openability vary by room type:
Livingroom: Requires a window, but does not have to be openable.
Kitchen: No requirements.
Dining Room: No requirements.
Bedroom (or any other room used for sleeping): Window is required; must be openable if designed to be openable.
All bathrooms: If a window is present, it must be openable. If no window is present, there must be an exhaust vent system. Ventilation system types may be electric fans, gravity flow, or shafts designed for this purpose that permit air to escape to the outside.
Rooms Other Than Those Listed: No requirements.
Sleeping room windows must be openable if they were designed to be opened.
Skylight: If present, it is evaluated just like all other windows.
Fail Ratings For Windows
Severe deterioration of a window requires a fail rating. Examples of this are:
Missing or broken panes.
Dangerously loose, cracked panes.
Windows that cannot be locked.
Windows without a tight seal, allowing serious drafts to enter unit.
Pass With Comments Conditions For Windows
Moderate deterioration of a window results in a pass with comment. Examples of this condition are:
Minor cracks in a window pane.
Minor rotting in a window frame.
Missing putty, resulting in loose pane(s).
Screens On Windows
Screens are not required. If screens are present, apply the standard, "can someone get cut?" if they are torn. Some Housing Agencies have a higher standard and do require screens. Check with your local agency.
Basic Objectives In Rating Ceilings
To assure that the tenant is not exposed to any structural hazards or to any danger of a large amount of falling plaster or other heavy surface materials, and to assure that the room is reasonably weather tight.
Fail Ratings For Ceilings
Example of unsound or hazardous ceiling conditions that would require a fail rating are:
Severe bulging or cracking.
Presence of large holes. All holes must be repaired.
Falling surface materials.
Loose sections of plaster, which are in danger of falling.
Missing/damaged parts such as ceiling tiles.
Pass With Comment Conditions For Ceilings
Examples of a basically sound ceiling with the presence of some non-hazardous defects resulting in a pass with comment rating are:
Minor crumbling of plaster.
Water stains, with no evidence of decayed plaster.
Basic Objectives For Rating Walls
To assure that the tenant is not exposed to any structural hazards and to assure that the room is reasonably weather tight.
Fail Ratings For Walls
Examples of unsound or hazardous defects that would require a fail rating are:
Severe buckling, bulging or leaning.
Loosed or damaged structural members.
Any holes, regardless of size, which allow significant drafts to enter unit.
All holes in walls must be patched. Minor dents in wall will be listed as a "pass with comment".
Pass With Comment Conditions For Walls
A basically sound wall with some non-hazardous defects would result in a pass rating. Examples are:
Tips For Walls
If one wall fails, all walls fail.
Broken or cracked plaster may be repaired by patching the plaster.
Loose plaster can be secured with nails or plaster buttons.
Damaged sheet rock can be repaired, re-nailed, or replaced in sections.
Loose or broken paneling can be glued or re-nailed to the wall.
Basic Objectives In Rating Floors
To assure that the tenant is not exposed to any threat of structural collapse or tripping and to assure that the room is reasonable weather tight.
Fail Ratings For Floors
Examples of unsound or hazardous defects that result in a fail rating are:
Buckling or movement under walking stress.
Sections of damaged or missing parts (floor boards).
Cracks or holes that penetrate both the finish floor and sub-flooring (would allow weather and vermin to enter).
Permanent floor coverings or floor boards which present a tripping hazard.
Pass With Comment Conditions For Floors
Floors that are basically sound but where non-hazardous defects exist receive a pass with comment rating. Examples of non-hazardous defects are:
Significant scuffing, marring or scratches in the floor finish or other floor covering.
Minor damage to linoleum or parquet floor (NO trip hazards allowed).
Soiled floor coverings (Must Be Decent, Safe and Sanitary).
Other Rooms Used For Living
"Used for Living" rooms or areas are those walked through or lived in on a regular basis.
All rooms in the unit must be inspected.
Complete as many "other Room" supplements as are present in the unit and not already on Sections 1, 2 3 of the form.
Complete an "other room" supplement for all entrance halls, corridors, and stairways in the unit and are part of the area used for living.
If a hall, entry, or stairway is contiguous, rate them as a whole or all part of one space.
Frequently Used Rooms
Include in this section the following areas if they are frequently used:
Closed-in porch that is used as a bedroom in the summer.
Infrequently Used Rooms
Rooms permanently closed off or infrequently entered are not included in this category such as:
Utility room (the occasional use of a washer or dryer in an otherwise unused room does not constitute "regular use").
Attached closed-in porch, basement or garage if it is closed off from the main living area or it is infrequently entered.
Lead-Based Paint Regulations Requirements
Inspection Requirements And Regulations Requirements
Rule is not applicable to 0-bedroom units, units that are certified by a qualified inspector to be free of lead-based paint, or units designated exclusively for the elderly. Many agencies have adopted a zero tolerance for all units. Check with your local agency for guidance.
Any unit is subject if a child under six years of age is "expected to reside." Actual knowledge that a child will reside is not required. Do not ask about pregnancy status.
Units constructed prior to 1978 with a child under 6 years old (obtain the date built from the tax assessor's office or some other source. Document the construction date).
Inspector must visually inspect to identify deteriorated paint, at the initial and each periodic inspection, on the interior and exterior of the unit.
All deteriorated paint must be treated. There are no limits to the surfaces covered by the requirement.
All surfaces within the dwelling unit.
All surfaces on the exterior of the unit, regardless of height from the ground.
All common areas serving the dwelling unit.
Treatment Methods For Deteriorated paint
Owners must treat deteriorated paint by methods that are in compliance with Federal, State, Local or tribal laws.
Basic Objectives In Rating Kitchens
To verify that the dwelling unit contains a kitchen or kitchen area for the preparation and storage of food, along with the necessary appliances.
A kitchen is defined as being a separate room or area of a larger room which is used primarily for preparation of meals.
Defined by function, a kitchen:
Is used primarily for the preparation and storage of food.
A bedroom with a refrigerator in it cannot be defined as a kitchen.
Defined by facilities contained, a kitchen or kitchen area must have:
A separate kitchen sink for preparing food and washing dishes, with piped hot and cold water that drains into an approvable system.
A stove for cooking food.
A refrigerator for storing food.
Facilities and services for the sanitary disposal of food waste and refuse.
The kitchen must have 1 working outlet and 1 working, permanently installed light fixture. Two outlets without a permanent light fixture is not adequate.
A window is not required, nor is a kitchen vent. If a window is present, it must be free of signs of severe deterioration or broken panes.
General Appliance Hazards
They must be free of hazardous conditions including a damaged or broken stove, sink or refrigerator that endangers the users.
There must be no evidence of gas or water leakage that presents the danger of fire or electrical shock.
The stove and refrigerator must be free of potential hazards due to improper hook-up.
Oven And Stove Or Range
Both the oven and stove with top burners must be present and working.
The landlord or the tenant may provide them. Note on inspection report if tenant or landlord owns the appliances.
If these are owner supplied and are not present, a fail rating is required.
If these are tenant supplied and are not present, an inconclusive rating should be given. A reinspection will have to be scheduled to reinspect the stove to verify it is in working condition.
Hot plates are not acceptable.
If the gas and/or electric service is hut off but appliances are present, an inconclusive rating is required. A reinspection will have to be scheduled to reinspect the stove to verify it is in working condition. NO INSPECTION WILL TAKE PLACE UNLESS THE ELECTRICITY AND GAS ARE ON AT THE UNIT.
All stove or range burners must work. No matches to start burners are permitted.
All operating knobs must be present.
A hazardous gas hook-up, evidenced by a strong gas smell, requires a fail rating.
To be acceptable, the refrigerator must meet certain criteria:
It may be located in a back hall or pantry.
It must maintain a temperature low enough to prevent food from spoiling over a reasonable period of time.
It must have some capacity for storing frozen food.
If a refrigerator in not present, apply the same criteria as for the stove or range.
If the electric service is shut off, apply the same criteria as for the stove or range.
If the refrigerator is obviously inadequate in size for the needs of the family, a fail rating is required. (A tabletop compact refrigerator would be clearly inappropriate for a family of four).
Defects that would result in a pass with comment rating are:
Broken or missing interior shelving. Rate the quality of refrigerator on inspection report. Refrigerator must pass the Decent, safe, and sanitary test.
Badly dented or scratched interior or exterior surfaces.
Minor deterioration of the door seal.
Loose door handle.
To be acceptable, the sink must meet certain criteria:
It must have running hot and cold water. If there is no hot water because the unit is vacant, check inconclusive. A reinspection will be required.
It must have a drain, properly connected to an approvable system, with a gas trap.
It must be free of leaks which will result in water loss and damage to the unit.
A bathroom sink will not satisfy this requirement.
Defects that would result is a pass with comment rating include:
Marked, dented or scratched surfaces.
Missing or broken drain stopper.
Check for leaks under the sink while the water is running.
Space For Storage And Preparation Of Food
The unit must provide space for the storage, preparation, and serving of food.
Space for this purpose is defined as:
Pantries or closets that contain shelves.
If no built-in storage space is provided, a table and portable storage cabinet is acceptable.
If there is no built-in storage and no room for a table and storage cabinet, a fail rating is required.
Defects that would result in a pass with comment rating include:
Marked, dented, or scratched surfaces.
Broken shelving or cabinet doors. Remember, decent, safe and sanitary rating.
Broken drawers or cabinet hardware. Remember, decent, safe and sanitary rating.
Limited size as related to needs of family.
Basic Objectives In Rating Bathrooms
To assure that there is at least one bathroom present in the dwelling unit for the exclusive use of the occupant and that there is a working toilet, washbasin, and tub or shower.
Each unit must have a bathroom.
The bathroom must be in a separate room, with a flush toilet in operating condition.
The unit must have a fixed basin with a sink trap and hot and cold water in operating condition.
The unit must have a shower or tub with hot and cold water in operating condition.
The facilities must be connected to an approvable disposal system.
These facilities may be scattered within the unit (such as toilet in one enclosure and washbasin in another area).
Only 1 bathroom is required.
Additional bathroom facilities present would be rated on part 4 of the inspection checklist.
If present, additional bathroom facilities must include:
Must have openable window or other adequate exhaust ventilation and a permanent light fixture.
The washbasin or sink must have a gas trap.
Room must be free of serious health and sanitary problems, such as:
A clogged toilet.
A serious water leak.
Each bathroom must have one permanent light fixture in working condition. No separate outlet is required. An outlet cannot be substituted for a permanent light fixture.
Outlets or electrical appliances located too near a tub are considered a hazard. A GFCI outlet is required within six feet of a water source.
To be acceptable, a bathroom must meet certain ventilation requirements. These requirements include:
Venting to the outside, attic or crawlspace, or an openable window or working exhaust system.
Types of acceptable systems are:
Electric fan vent, which may be either wall or ceiling mounted (the fan must operate when there is electric current and the switch is on).
A gravity flow/chimney vent pipe or shaft that permits air to escape to the outside without the use of an electric fan.
Fail Ratings For Ventilation
The absence of any ventilation system would require a fail rating.
Basic Objectives In Rating Exterior
To assure that:
The foundation has the capacity to properly support the building and keep ground water out of the basement under normal rainfall conditions.
The condition of all exterior stairs, railings, and porches are sound and free from hazards.
The tenant is not exposed to any risk of structural collapse and that the roof protects the tenant's unit from the outside elements and the exterior walls are weathertight.
The tenant is not exposed to the potential collapse of the chimney and that the chimney is capable of safely carrying smoke, fumes and gasses from the unit to the outside.
The dwelling is free from the hazards of lead-based paint.
Fail Ratings For Foundations
Conditions that would require a fail rating include:
Severe structural defects indicating the potential for collapse.
Structural instability indicated by evidence of major recent settling.
Large cracks or holes.
Large sections of crumbling brick, stone or concrete.
Undermining of footings, walls, posts, or slabs.
Major deterioration of wood support members resulting from water damage or termites.
Entry of ground water into unit.
Stairs, Porches And Rails
The conditions and equipment of exterior stairways, porches, walkways, etc., must not present a danger of tripping and falling.
Fail Ratings For Stairs, Porches And Rails
Conditions that would result in a fail rating include:
Broken, rotten or missing steps or boards.
Absence of a handrail where there are four or more consecutive steps.
Absent or insecure railings around a porch or balcony that is 30 inches or more above the ground.
Roof And Gutters
The roof must be structurally sound and weathertight.
The roof would receive a pass rating if, during the inspection:
No visible signs of internal water damage were visible.
The roof could not be seen (record as "unobservable").
If the defect or condition does not affect the tenant family's unit, it is a pass with comment.
Gutters are not required and their absence cannot lead to a fail rating. If present, gutters must not be blocked with debris.
Fail Ratings For Roofs
Conditions that would require a fail rating include:
Serious buckling or sagging, indicating the potential for structural collapse.
Large holes or defects that would allow significant amounts of water or air to enter the unit.
Water damage to interior ceiling.
If a significant amount of water is allowed to enter the unit, resulting in the rotting of interior walls.
The exterior wall structure and surface must not have any serious defects.
Conditions or defects that would result in a fail rating include:
Severe buckling, bowing or leaning.
Falling or missing pieces of masonry.
Significant deterioration of portions of the exterior wall(s) that would allow water and serious amounts of air to enter the unit.
Large holes or defects that would result in vermin infestation.
Conditions that would require a fail rating include:
Evidence of deterioration or disintegration such as many missing bricks or mortar.
Metal chimney parts that do not fit tightly and/or are improperly attached.
A tie down device that distributes and transfers the loads imposed by the unit to appropriate ground anchors to resist wind overturning and sliding must securely anchor manufactured homes.
Heating And Plumbing
Basic Objectives Of Rating Heating And Cooling System
To assure that the occupant will have adequate heat in the unit during the cold months of the year. To determine whether the unit is free from unvented fuel burning space heaters or other types of unsafe heating conditions. To determine whether the unit has adequate ventilation and cooling by means of openable windows or a working cooling system.
Adequacy Of Heating Equipment
To be adequate, the system must be capable of maintaining a certain temperature during a designated time period. heat is not required in secondary rooms, (rooms not used for living).
System must be capable of providing adequate heat directly or indirectly to all rooms used for living.
Directly means each room used for living has a heat source. Source may be:
A working radiator.
A working hot air register.
Indirectly means heat can enter easily from adjacent room (i.e., through a doorway).
Absence of direct or indirect heat source in a room used for living requires a fail rating for this area.
Safety Of Heating Equipment
Major concerns in the area of safety are:
The potential for fire.
The potential for explosion.
The escape of gas fumes or unvented gases into the living area.
Damage tot he system, ducts, or fixtures so that heating is non-existent, inadequately distributed to the unit, or there is a potential for fire or other threats to safety.
Fail Ratings For Safety
Conditions that would require a fail rating include:
Escaping gases from disconnected or broken vent pipes.
Unvented fuel burning space heaters.
Improper fuel storage and supply lines.
Fuel storage tanks must be raised off the floor.
A shut-off valve must be located at the base of the tank.
Fuel lines running across floors must be protected.
Fuel leaks (check for excessive fuel oil stains).
A fuel tank not vented and not filled from outside the unit.
The lack of a manual shut-off device for a gas burning furnace.
Presence of combustible material around furnace.
The existence of an improper flue or chimney.
Lack of a proper vent.
A flue pipe and collar that do not fit tightly against wall.
Inadequate clearance of combustible materials around the flue.
The flue not being properly directed from furnace to a chimney.
Improper installation of the equipment.
Improper maintenance of the equipment.
Heavy build up of soot and creosote around the chimney (this same type of build up would be present around the flue).
Inadequate source of clear return air in the forced air system.
Return air not drawn from area separate from the furnace area.
Major leaks in radiators or duct work which may promote heat loss and affect the heating device's capability to satisfactorily heat all habitable rooms in the unit.
Ventilation And Adequacy Of Cooling System
To test the adequacy of both the ventilation and cooling systems, ask tenant about adequacy of air circulation during summer months.
Select a sample of 4 windows in random locations within the unit.
These windows should be designed to be opened.
If two or more open, this test is met.
Types of "working ventilation systems" include:
Central (fan) ventilation.
Room or central air conditioner.
A cooling system, if present must be safe and in proper operating condition.
The use of space heaters is not allowed unless a waiver is granted from the HUD field office. If a waiver is granted, the heater must have an approved label that it complies with accredited testing agency standards.
Basic Objectives In Rating Water Heaters
To assure that the hot water does not present a hazard to the occupant.
Reasons To Fail A Water Heater
Locations that presents a hazard:
Gas water heaters may not be in bedrooms or other living areas where safety hazards may exist.
Exceptions may be made if safety dividers or shields are installed.
Combustible materials are piled up against the heater.
Seriously cracked or broken vent pipes on gas fired water heaters that allow unexpended gases to escape into the unit.
The absence of a temperature pressure relief valve and discharge line.
Improper flues for venting exhaust gases.
Flues must have clearance from combustible materials.
Electric hot water heater does not require a flue.
Serious leaks from hot water tank.
Tag by the utility company indicating an unsafe condition.
Water And Sewer
Basic Objectives In Rating Water Supply
To determine whether the unit is served by an approvable public or private sanitary water supply and to guarantee that the tenant will have adequate clean water.
The water supply must be connected to an approvable public or private system.
Basic Objectives In Rating The Plumbing
To assure that the dwelling is not subject to serious plumbing problems involving leaking or corroded pipes that could present a hazard to the occupant.
Fail Ratings For Plumbing
Conditions that would require a fail rating include:
Main System pipes severely leaking.
Basic Objectives In Rating Sewer Connection
To verify that the unit is connected to a properly working sewer system.
The unit must be connected to an approvable public or private system.
If it is connected to a city or town system, check pass. If it is a private system, ask the owner about the type of system and determine whether it meets local health and safety standards.
General Health And Safety
Basic Objectives In Rating General Health And Safety
To assure that the tenant has direct access to his or her own unit, thereby assuring privacy of living quarters.
To assure that the tenant has an alternative means of exit from the building in case of fire.
To assure that the tenant will not be exposed to serious infestations of rats, mice or other potentially harmful vermin.
To assure that the tenant is not exposed to health hazards resulting from accumulations of garbage or trash in or about the unit.
To assure that the tenant has adequate means of storage and disposal of garbage and refuse.
To assure that the interior stairways and common hallways of the building are safe and adequately lighted so that the tenant is not exposed to safety risks.
To assure that the interior of the unit is free from any other hazards not specified or identified elsewhere.
To assure that elevators, when present, are operating in a manner that does not pose a safety hazard to the occupant.
To assure that the occupant is not exposed to abnormally high levels of harmful gases or other noxious pollutants.
To assure that the tenant is not exposed to any dangerous site or neighborhood conditions.
The access to the unit by other than the family members should be controlled.
Family cannot have to go through another unit to reach their own unit.
Appropriate emergency exits from the building should exist.
"In Law" apartments (areas not separated from the main area of the dwelling unit) cannot be approved.
The family must have private access without unauthorized passage through another unit or other private property.
The unit must provide an alternate means of exit from the building (not the unit) in case of fire or other emergency.
The exits cannot be blocked or obstructed by debris, used as storage area, secured by nailing, etc.
Exits must meet local or state requirements and be considered adequate by the appropriate local officials.
Acceptable types of exits are:
A fire escape or fire stairs.
An openable window if the unit is located on the first or second floor, or easily accessible to the ground.
Exit through windows with the use of a ladder if the windows are above the second floor.
A back door, opening onto a porch, with a stairway to the ground.
The inspector must determine that the unit has private access and provides acceptable means of exit. All windows and doors should operate properly. A fire escape or fire stairs should be stable and secure. Access or passage through another unit (i.e., by balcony), may be acceptable if there is a complete firewall between the units.
A determination should be made concerning whether the unit is free from rats or severe infestation by mice and vermin.
Garbage And Debris
The unit should be free from a heavy accumulation of garbage and debris, both inside and outside.
"Heavy Accumulation" means large piles of trash, garbage and discarded furniture and debris. This is a level of accumulation that cannot be picked up by an individual within one to two hours.
The unit must contain adequate, covered facilities for temporary storage and disposal of food wastes, approvable by a local agency.
Adequate facilities are:
Trash cans with covers.
Dumpster (large scale refuse containers or boxes with lids)
Approvable by a local agency means that the local health and sanitation department approves the type of facility used.
Interior Stairs And Common Halls
Interior stairs and common halls must be free from safety hazards. The presence of such items requires a fail rating and includes:
Loose, broken or missing steps.
Absent or insecure railings.
An accumulation of objects or debris on steps.
Ripped, torn or frayed stair coverings, such as carpets or mats.
A large number of missing sections of vertical railings (called "balusters").
The absence of lighting.
Handrails missing on a section of four or more steps.
Other Interior Hazards
The interior of the unit must be free from any other hazards not specifically identified elsewhere.
These types of hazards include:
Broken bathroom fixtures with jagged edge(s).
Doors in danger of falling because of faulty hinges.
If present and where required, elevators must have a current, local inspection certificate.
Interior Air Quality
The unit must be free from abnormally high levels of air pollution caused by carbon monoxide, sewer gas, fuel gas, dust or other harmful pollutants.
Site And Neighborhood Conditions
The site and immediate neighborhood must be free from conditions that would seriously or continuously endanger the tenant's health and safety.
Each unit must have at least one battery operated or hardwired smoke detector in proper operating condition. A smoke detector is required on each level of the dwelling unit, including basements but excluding crawl spaces and unfinished attics. Most agencies require a smoke detector in each bedroom. A smoke detector should be placed in the hallways outside of sleeping rooms.
Installed outside of each separate sleeping are in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms.
On each story of the living unit, including basements and excluding crawl spaces and unfinished attics.
In new construction, there must be a smoke detector in each sleeping room.
In split level units (i.e., adjacent level with less than one full story separation), a smoke detector installed in the upper level will suffice for the adjacent lower level UNLESS there is a door between one level and the adjacent lower level.
Each detector shall make an alarm that is clearly audible in all bedrooms over background noise with all intervening doors closed.
Audibility is based upon the noise created by all household equipment that would be in operation at night (such as window air conditioners and room humidifiers).
In new construction, if more than one detector is required, they will be arranged so that the operation of any detector will cause all other detectors to alarm.
Hardwired smoke detectors must be on an unswitched portion of a branch circuit or on a dedicated branch circuit.
Detectors For The Hearing Impaired
If any hearing impaired person occupies the unit, smoke detectors must have an alarm system designed for the hearing impaired persons as specified by NFPA 74. An alarm with a visible signal must be installed in the bedroom occupied by the hearing impaired individual and connected to a smoke detector outside of the bedroom.
For rooms no larger than 14 feet by 16 feet, the visual alarm must have a minimum rating of 177 candelas.
For larger rooms, the visual alarm must be within 16 feet of the pillow.
If the visual alarm is installed more than 24 inches below the ceiling, a minimum rating of 110 candelas is allowed.