HUD announced a new survey to obtain feedback from residents whose homes were inspected under the new National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) inspection process. Notice PIH 2023-24/H-2023-10 explains that HUD intends to use a new Inspection Feedback Survey (“Survey”) to identify and address residents’ “pain points” in the inspection process and to guide HUD’s efforts to improve residents’ general satisfaction with their housing conditions. HUD’s goal is to ensure the voices of residents in HUD-assisted housing are given the same representation as the voices of other stakeholders. The Notice states that HUD recognizes the importance of direct resident involvement in creating a positive living environment and in advancing the overall mission of affordable housing.
NSPIRE is replacing HUD’s former physical inspections standards, the Uniform Physical Conditions Standards (UPCS) and the Housing Quality Standards (HQS). NSPIRE inspections of public housing units began on July 1, 2023. On October 1, NSPIRE inspections will begin for private multifamily properties assisted with Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance; Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly; Section 202 Direct Loans; Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities; the HOME Investment Partnerships Program; the national Housing Trust Fund; Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS; Emergency Solutions Grants; the Continuum of Care program; and mortgages insured or held by HUD. The Survey will not be offered to residents assisted with a Housing Choice Voucher or a Project-Based Voucher because public housing agencies (PHAs) conduct the physical inspections for those programs. Project-Based Contract Administrators (PBCAs) or HUD inspectors conduct physical inspections for the other programs.
The Notice indicates that HUD staff hosted workshops with resident council members to gather input about the Survey questions, questionnaire format, and the Survey instrument. The Survey is designed to take approximately five minutes, with residents replying to only four questions and indicating “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree” along a five-point scale when appropriate:
- I was present during the HUD inspection process of my unit – yes or no.
- I trust HUD to provide housing that is safe and habitable.
- How would you rate your satisfaction with your housing conditions?
- How would you rate your satisfaction with HUD’s inspection process?
There is also an open-ended question enabling residents to indicate whether they would like to share anything else with HUD. If residents respond to the open-ended question indicating persistent conditions that impact the health and safety of residents, HUD might decide to inspect a property.
Under NSPIRE, only a random sample of units in a property will be inspected, along with five units recommended by a resident organization; only residents of these units will receive the Survey. Survey Flyers will be placed by inspectors on a kitchen counter or another noticeable location in an inspected unit. The Survey Flyer has a link and a QR code to the actual survey. Participation in the survey is voluntary and anonymous.
The Notice states that HUD will confirm with PHA management whether there are people with a disability who need an alternative communication method. While the Survey Flyer will have common language translations indicating that language access to the Survey is available, HUD will also consult with PHA management to determine whether there are any limited English proficient (LEP) residents who may need materials in additional languages. NLIHC notes that PHAs will not be aware of people with disabilities or LEP residents at the many other non-public housing properties subject to NSIRE inspections. HUD should instruct PBCAs to engage in similar consultation with property owners of buildings they inspect.
If a public housing resident does not have broadband internet or internet devices at home, the Notice reminds PHAs that their Operating Funds and Capital Funds may be used to make purchases and provide access to services and devices. Learning how to use the devices is not discussed, nor does the reminder help the many residents of non-public housing properties subject to NSPIRE inspections.
If residents experience health and safety violations requiring follow-up, they may contact the REAC Technical Assistance Center (TAC) at 1-888-245-4860 or [email protected] to request HUD's intervention.
HUD published final overall NSPIRE regulations on May 11, 2023 (see Memo, 5/15). Two Federal Register notices and one PIH/Housing Notice supplement the final rule.
- HUD published a physical Standards notice, along with a link to 295 pages of detailed “inspectable items,” on June 22 (see Memo, 6/26).
- An Administrative Procedures Notice was posted on June (see Memo, 7/10).
- A Scoring notice was published on July 7 (see Memo, 7/17).
Read Notice PIH 2023-24/H-2023-10 at: https://tinyurl.com/2xaespm7
The HUD Inspection Feedback Survey is at: https://tinyurl.com/ywwf6upu
The Survey Flyer is at: https://tinyurl.com/38swbupu
NLIHC’s summary of key provisions of the final NSPIRE rule is at: https://bit.ly/3Oweh7H
HUD’s NSPIRE website is at: https://bit.ly/2V9qvV3
More information about all HUD programs subject to the new NSPIRE rule is available in NLIHC’s 2023 Advocates’ Guide.