Don’t Be Afraid of Section 8 Inspections

2019-04-15

Don’t Be Afraid of Section 8 Inspections

Section 8, or the Housing Choice Voucher Program, offers landlords a great opportunity for “guaranteed” rent. Many landlords though, avoid it due to misconceptions about having to deal with annual Section 8 inspections. Let’s separate some facts from myths! 

Why are Annual Section 8 Inspections Done? 

So, yes Section 8 (will use the abbreviation S8 going forward) typically requires an annual inspection to make sure a home still meets their requirements – basically, they want to make sure the landlord isn’t ignoring any maintenance issues. It’s also not uncommon for an S8 inspection to uncover maintenance issues not reported, sometimes not even noticed, by the tenant. So, landlords committed to taking care of their properties shouldn’t be intimidated by an S8 inspection. 

What Maintenance Issues are Section 8 Inspectors Looking For? 

Every Section 8 inspection has to use the HUD (Department of Housing Urban Development) checklist form HUD-52580. For the most part, it’s about health & safety issues – handrails, lead paint issues, functional GFCI’s near water sources, water leaks, electrical issues, etc.  

It also covers obvious cosmetic repairs like holes in walls, broken doors, missing light covers, frayed carpeting and the like.  

Landlords should address most of these issues anyways to keep tenants happy, avoid slip & fall lawsuits and to protect their properties from deterioration and waste. 

How are Tenant Damages Handled? 

Many S8 inspections will identify maintenance issues that were caused by a tenant, that a landlord really shouldn’t be responsible for (and often the tenant doesn’t report).  

Some S8 offices will send a landlord a letter summarizing the needed repairs and break them down into groups of; Emergency Repairs, Tenant Repairs and Landlord Repairs. The tenant will be held responsible to address the repairs assigned to them or face the possibility of losing their S8 Housing Voucher.  

Regardless, the repairs must be done or the S8 rent payments will be suspended and may ultimately be cancelled. A landlord always has the option of trying to collect repair costs from the tenant per the terms of their lease with the tenant. Just be sure they aren’t the repairs assigned to the landlord. 

Timeline for Repairs 

S8 inspections have standard deadlines for landlords to make required repairs. Emergency repairs, those that are serious safety issues, must typically be done in 24-72 hours. The rest of the repairs are usually required to be completed AND re-inspected within 4 weeks. 

If the 2nd inspection fails, most S8 offices will abate (suspend) rent payments and give a landlord an additional 4 weeks to get the repairs done and pass a re-inspection. Abated rent will not be reimbursed to a landlord and cannot be collected from the tenant – it’s gone forever. 

If the 3rd inspection fails, a landlord may be able to get a chance at a 4th inspection if they prove extenuating circumstances – like a tenant not cooperating with access to the home to make the repairs. Otherwise, the S8 office will usually issue a letter to the tenant warning them they have to move from the home, as it doesn’t meet S8 requirements, or lose their S8 Housing Voucher. 

How Landlords Get in Trouble with S8 Inspections 

As property managers, we deal with S8 inspections all the time. We’ve taken over the management of properties with S8 inspection issues and had to quickly solve them. We also have to calm down property owners who overreact to S8 inspection repairs and want us to violate S8 guidelines. 

From all that experience, the biggest issue we see with S8 inspections is landlords not wanting to do any repairs or trying to put band aides on repair issues. These landlords should avoid the S8 program or improve their outlook on making repairs. 

The most common issue we see is landlords not understanding their responsibilities under the program and what their options are. Landlords should thoroughly read and reference the Housing Assistance Payments Contract form HUD-52641 (also known as the HAP Contract). Landlords are constantly complaining that tenants don’t read, understand and follow the leases they sign, yet many landlords don’t take the time to really read and understand this document!  

In summary, while the S8 inspection process isn’t perfect, landlords that keep their properties in good condition should have little to fear. When an unusual problem arises, instead of panicking and stressing, be attentive and ask the managing S8 office for assistance.  

29 thoughts on “Don’t Be Afraid of Section 8 Inspections

  1. My two section 8 inspections,were never addressed for move in since February 1,2020, a second one saw set up with in couple of wks time.Landlord said it passed and I could get keys and move in.Now in July 13,2020 six months later and 715.00 monthly rent later,I get email from my housing coordinator my unit has never passed all the inspections and housing has never sent the landlord payments,I’ve paid him everytime,w my debit card,and he’s got nerve once I’ve paid rent this month to tell me he didn’t really have funds to get the smallest size air con window unit cleaned or fixed we have 1 other smallest size air con window unit for the rest of 880 sq.ft. house.Now this was brought to my attention just a day ago,what’s gonna happen from here ?My housing coordinator says I might have to move does that mean I will be issued another voucher.Thank you for your time.

    1. Sorry to hear about your situation. Usually, if a home doesn’t pass an S8 inspection, the tenant must move to keep their S8 voucher. Your S8 caseworker can tell you if your voucher will be transferred to a new home. Just get it in writing for your own protection.

      1. Hello our landlord purposely made no repairs to fail and to get us to move even tho our lease isnt up yet. So what does this mean for us our lease still has months left but section 8 stopped paying him and we are having a hard time locate new housing.

        1. Unfortunately, we are not aware of any laws requiring a landlord to make Section 8 required repairs.

          If a landlord doesn’t want to make the repairs, Section 8 abates the rent.

          If you don’t pay 100% of the rent the landlord is allowed to start the eviction process for nonpayment of rent.

          This is why tenants should work with their landlords to keep the rental home in compliance with Section 8 requirements.

  2. My 2nd inspection failed Again Because Landlord does not fix any repairs. Ive Been telling them for 2 yrs what needs repair and nothing and now that rent has been abated they want to come fix everything but I have already recieved my new voucher to move and have til January 31st 2021 To Move. Can I tell them that iam moving out and they can work on the repairs after i move? Or do i have to let them in anyway? Thank You

    1. It depends on what your lease states. Most leases allow for showings, and often repairs, the last 30 days of a tenant’s lease term. You could face penalties against your security deposit for any violations of your lease terms.

        1. Section 8 usually doesn’t care who does required repairs, as long as they are done to their standards to pass their inspection.

          You may want to check and confirm that your landlord is okay with you doing the repairs.

    2. Hello here where I live we have a 120 days to find a place. I found a place and paid the rent and security. As I research it tell I have an exit and thee is one way to come in. Plus down in the basement it’s mold all on the walls. Everytime I go there I get a sore throat and stuffy noise.. the landlord gave me the option to move but I can’t do that because it’s going to mess up my section 8 if I don’t continue on with the inspection. What he did tell me though if I decide to move that he would not be giving me back my security. If the inspection don’t pass in day decided they want me to move isn’t he supposed to give me back all my money??? Will section 8 give me more time to find a place??

      1. We wouldn’t recommend moving into a home until it passes S8 inspection, to avoid issues like this.

        Since it’s doubtful the home will pass S8 inspection, you should start looking for a new place ASAP.

        Regarding the rent, the landlord is entitled to keep at least the prorated portion to cover the time you’ve lived there. You may want to politely threaten that if they don’t give the rest back, you will call the city building department for a health & safety inspection.

        Once you move out, you could also take the landlord to small claims court.

  3. Heres my situation,
    I have lived in a fairly nice apartment this will be the 3rd year renewing lease as of April 2021.
    I just had inspection and it failed because the hot water tank doesnt have a connecting hose at the bottom??? here’s my thing, why was I allowed to move in 2 years ago if section 8/landlord knew the hot water tank didn’t have a hose?
    If the landlord fails the 3rd inspection I am forced to move with a voucher and a broken lease since I already signed the lease for recertification.
    If I stay in the apartment I lose the voucher and have to pay full rent which I barely afford.
    What good is a voucher if I am walking around with a broken lease no one will take it because that’s equal to an eviction.
    at this point I feel like my rights as a tenant has been violated and there should be higher HUD officials I can seek legal advice.
    This is the worst case scenario because if in two years I have been in this unit why hasn’t a connecting tube been attached to the water heater by now.
    Please give me your best expertise advice God forbid this inspection fails the 3rd time!
    I suffer from anxiety so this situation is nerve wracking at this point.

    1. “why was I allowed to move in 2 years ago if section 8/landlord knew the hot water tank didn’t have a hose?”

      Why are you assuming your landlord is at fault?

      How did the hot water heater pass the previous Section 8 inspections?

      If you really like your apartment and want to stay, what are you doing to work with your landlord to make sure this issue is resolved?

      1. I’m sorry. Whos replying. Its not this persons job to make repairs that should be done by owner. And huh??? How is it not the landlords fault. And women living in section 8 housing. We don’t know how to replace hosing and things. U r suggesting she fix things they r suppose to fix.

        1. Everyone seems to make assumptions without hearing both sides of a story!

          Until the landlord is heard from, we don’t know exactly the whole story. What we do know is that somehow the home passed a Section 8 inspection when the tenant moved in and probably passed a 2nd Section 8 inspection after the first year.

          Logically, either:
          1) The Section 8 inspector missed the hose on two consecutive inspections
          2) The hose was there for both Section 8 inspections, but is now missing

          In either case, the tenant and landlord should work together to figure this out.

  4. I’ve lived here ghb or 3 years and the past year they haven’t fixed anything I’ve asked them too..So it’s getting worse my ceiling has a high whole with water pouring down. .I’ve been pludging my own toilet for 6mths My oven now doesnt work..They dont come fix nothing because manager of maitence guy doesnt care for me..my door has been kicked in by tentsnts that aren’t on a lease but hold me responsible..I made police report..So sec 8 lady let’s her family live here for free.She had 6 different apartment for free until she had a nice one. She didnt want me to be friends with her sis.She thinks I’m bad but she let’s tentans get raised by police and finds it mot a problem. So they are letting my inspection fail on purpose so I have to move out.They let my apartment go like this ..my air conditioning has leaked on my carpet for 3 years and so now it’s all molded..So I guess now my question is so if a sec 8 manager doesnt like you then they are aloud to do this. IVE made police reports about tentans kicking my door in twice and they did nothing..not even fix my door I have a 3year old that has been woreies and scared for awhile. They let the maitence guy deal drugs and they know it. Ic you are cool with her then u get your house fuxed..If not then they make you movrour..now I have no where to live because you have let my house go to hell. this is not fair. I swear she’s raiest and I’m at my limited..She fixed my neighbor windows and not mine .They got raided for selling dope and mine had gun shots in windows and let mine stay like that. IVE been bullied for 3years by her and maintenance guy and it’s not fair. So now to get rid of me she let’s my apartment fail on purpose..

  5. My husband and I are currently choosing designs since we are already planning to build our dream home next year. So, everything is set and he should consider preparing for Section 8 inspections. Thanks for mentioning here that these check-ups are done simply to regulate maintenance issues that might have been opted from the report.

  6. My second inspection is stated as failed when I log into my account but no one ever came to reinspect when it failed the first time. I’m unable to to get in touch with my caseworker or my landlord any suggestions?

    1. When did your landlord do the required repairs?

      If they haven’t, you need to speak with them first about getting them done.

      If repairs are done, then you can speak with your caseworker about when the reinspection is.

  7. I’m a landlord and I had a failed Section 8 inspection because a kitchen drawer face was missing. The tenant and I somehow missed the deadline for the self-certification process and had to have a physical re-inspection, which passed. But the housing authority abated 10 days of rent! Has anyone had success in appealing inspections or abatements? Kitchen drawer faces dont appear to be a criteria on the inspection checklist.

  8. So my landlord fail inspection and section 8 stop paying but have me still here.and I injured myself as a result. Then terminate my voucher .wat should I do

    1. That is all unfortunate.

      You should discuss your options with your caseworker.

      Your landlord will probably start eviction proceedings if they aren’t receiving rent. An eviction in your background will highly likely have a negative impact on your ability to secure future housing.

  9. I have a question. I am on sec 8 been living in my home 3 years. I do not have a lease because landlord never gave me a 2nd lease to sign so I am month to month. Landlord was told about my outside door that had fell off, in January, he comes to this house several days a week for his personal use in the back of the house, and hadn’t fixed my door. It kept banging making me unaware if someone was trying to break in or if it was the wind. He waited 4 months before he even attempted to fix it. I held my rent, contacted his office and spoke to them, I had a right to withhold it until he fixed the issue. As per sec 8 they told me to tell him it was his doing the rent wasn’t paid because he did not fix the door in 4 months, and it was also a violation. He decided to fix it the following day, and then left and told me he hadn’t received rent. I told him I spoke to him secretary who saod she would tell him I called the day before. He told her to message me and tell me I now owed a late fee. That’s when I called sec 8 amd let them know. And they told me what to tell him. He told me if I didn’t like living here to move. Once I told him what sec 8 said and I was not responsible for a few due to his violation, but he would get his rent now that he put my door window back on, which also animals from outside would jump through when it was open. He then sent me a text saying, you think your an attorney now, when your lease comes I am not renewing you. I told him that was retaliation. Because I waited for him to fix it. I gave him 4 months. Sec 8 said they were sending an inspector. There are other issues such as black mold in my bathroom, and plumbing, electrical and carbon monoxide detector issues. He was aware of the electric and carbon monoxide detector already over a year, and did nothing. He also built a room in the house after I moved in and never told sec 8. He threatened I can move out right after he started building it, because I was getting upset his people kept coming at like 7 am amd coming through my house. He then says, its not your room as of yet. Then he had no right to threaten me about his workers coming into my house, especially when he never told sec 8 he was building another room. During the entire time I have lived here, I just found out from PSEG electric company, that the back of the house that was part of the area he built my room in, and only divided it by a wall, the electric he is using for his own personal use, is my electricity. PSEG told me if the landlord is using it it is considered shared, and by LAW must be in the landlords name. He’s been stealing my electricity, especially in all the months they were building the room in the house. And he wasn’t to evict me? That is so wrong. He never fixes anything, and I always have proof of our conversations from text messages. I asserted my rights to have things fixed amd I keep being told I can leave. He also raised my rent but not the tenants upstairs, telling me he raised the rent for taxes and insurance. How can you raise rent on one tenant but not the others, for taxes and insurance, one tenant should not be solely responsible when other tenants live on the same property. He just told me don’t worry about other tenants worry about myself. I am worried about myself. And now sec 8 says if he refused to fix anything I have to leave immediately if inspection doesn’t pass after timeframe. He is retaliating against me, not fixing any habitability issues, and stealing my electricity the entire time I’ve lived here. Don’t I have rights? And as far as I know, a landlord must first take you to court. Also, during my last inspection, a year ago I wasn’t home so I asked my sister to be here for the inspector. She said, all he did was walk in, look around and say everything was fine. They are supposed to have a checklist for what they inspect. They said they didn’t know the landlord had another room he built. Although I told them when he was building it, they didn’t believe me, and then told me it was my responsibility to tell them once he finishes building it. It is not! The landlord lied to sec 8 and never told them he was or had finished building it over 2 years ago. He has the contract with sec 8 and the obligation to tell them when he is finished. Not me. He started building the room within a couple of months of me moving in. So when the inspector came last year, they never even checked the 1st bedroom. No smoke detectors or anything, and I can prove that, because I they say they didnt know there was another room, then they would have seen the room if they did the inspection, because I is connected to tje other bedroom. They never checked plumbing or outlets or anything. Which they are supposed to do mandatory, that is the purpose of a yearly inspection.

    1. You cannot withold rent without following the specific laws of your state – most of which require everything to be put in writing.

      You may want to hire an attorney to represent you, potenitally check with your S8 caseworker if there is a Legal Aid attorney available.

  10. We recently had our home inspected for mold. Since we have gotten sick (chronic inflammation) since moving in. We receive section 8. We don’t have the funds to relocate right now but the mold inspector said we need to since we’re being bombarded with it being in our air system. Does anyone know how Section 8 will deal with this?

    1. Unfortunately, all Section 8 will do is give the owner some time to repair and if the owner doesn’t, Section 8 will terminate the HAP contract with the owner.

      This will force you to either start paying the rent yourself or move or be evicted by the owner.

      How have you notified the owner and what was their response?

      Please consult with an attorney or at your own risk, follow what the article recommends to do.

      THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE, PLEASE CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY!

  11. I had a inspection and it failed for a crack on door.. they fixed it within the time period but never check their po box and saw the letter to report the door is fixed. Got a letter saying they going to terminate hap contract because they think landlord didn’t fix the door but they did. How does this play out? The property mgr came w the form and I signed it and it’s 2weeks due. Will they reverse this since it was a mistake?

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