HUD is seeking public housing agencies (PHAs) and owners of private HUD-assisted multifamily properties to volunteer for its Real Estate Inspection Center (REAC) pilot project. According to a Federal Register notice on August 21, over the course of two years HUD will inspect 4,500 properties willing to voluntarily adopt HUD’s National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) model. According to an October 29, 2018 email, HUD intends to change the 20-year-old REAC physical inspection system to better reflect the physical condition of privately owned, HUD-subsidized housing (see Memo, 10/29/18).
The NSPIRE model has three major components:
- Three types of inspections: 1) self-inspections by PHAs and owners and agents of private, HUD-assisted multifamily housing, 2) inspections conducted by contractors and/or federal inspectors, and 3) inspections conducted solely by federal inspectors. HUD has created a new acronym combining PHAs and owners/agents – POAs. HUD will inspect participating properties at least once during the demonstration using the NSPIRE standards.
- Three categories of physical deficiencies: 1) health and safety, 2) function and operability, and 3) condition and appearance. HUD states that ideally each category could result in emergency work orders, routine work orders, and other maintenance.
- Three inspectable areas: 1) inside (common areas and building systems), 2) outside (building site and building envelope), and 3) units (the interior of an individual home).
Federal and contract inspectors will use a newly developed Critical to Quality (CTQ) standard, a subset of the entire set of NSPIRE standards. When a deficiency is noted against one or more CTQs, there will be a high correlation to substandard conditions within a property. Prior to the demonstration, HUD will publish a minimum standardized list of exigent health and safety (EH&S) items to be included in the CTQ inspection that POAs must correct, remedy, or act to abate within 24 hours of receipt of notification and submit evidence of repair, correction, or abatement. HUD expects this list to be similar to the exigent health and safety items in the Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) and the list of life-threatening conditions published as part of the UPCS-V demonstration.
HUD indicates that Region III will receive preference as part of an initial group of volunteer POAs. Unlike information provided at earlier HUD listening sessions (see Memo, 3/4), NSPIRE will add properties from other regions on a rolling basis. POAs must meet the NSPIRE standard of 100% unit inspections annually. POAs will not be subject to both NSPIRE and UPCS inspection. NSPIRE will not apply to units assisted with Housing Choice Vouchers or Project-Based Vouchers. Once NSPIRE standards have been validated through the demonstration, however, they will be tested with HCV properties under the existing UPCS-V demonstration.
Finally, HUD will inspect for the presence and function of carbon monoxide detectors, an affirmative requirement for the installation of carbon monoxide detectors for properties/units that contain fuel-burning appliances or fuel-burning fireplaces or that are in buildings with attached private garages with an opening connected to the dwelling unit or sleeping unit.
HUD has posted an initial set of possible NSPIRE standards and requests feedback regarding them. The initial set concerns smoke detectors, chimneys, exit signs, sinks, and trash chutes. More standards will be added.
The Federal Register notice regarding the NSPIRE demonstration is at: https://bit.ly/2ZkuCmK
The NSPIRE website is at: https://bit.ly/2V9qvV3