NLIHC Summarizes Key Provisions of the Final NSPIRE Rule

NLIHC has prepared “Summary of Key Provisions of the Final National Standards for Physical Inspection (NSPIRE) Regulations.” Last week’s Memo (5/15) linked to an analysis of NLIHC’s comment letter regarding the proposed NSPIRE rule compared to the text of the final rule and HUD’s weak or non-responses to NLIHC’s comments.

HUD published the final rule implementing the National Standards for Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) in the Federal Register on May 11. A proposed rule was published on January 13, 2021 (see Memo, 1/19/21) for which NLIHC submitted comments (see Memo, 3/22/21). NSPIRE seeks to strengthen HUD’s physical condition standards and improve HUD oversight. It aligns and consolidates the two physical  inspection regulations (mostly contained at 24 CFR part 5) used to evaluate HUD housing across multiple programs – Housing Quality Standards (HQS) and Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS). NSPIRE physical inspections will focus on three areas: the housing units where HUD-assisted residents live, elements of their building’s non-residential interiors, and the outside of buildings, ensuring that components of these three areas are “functionally adequate, operable, and free of health and safety hazards.” The new inspection protocol will start on July 1, 2023, for public housing and on October 1, 2023, for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, the various programs of HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing Programs, and the various housing programs overseen by HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD).

NSPIRE applies to all HUD housing previously inspected by HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC), including public housing and Multifamily Housing programs such as Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA), Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly, Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities, and FHA Insured multifamily housing. NSPIRE also applies to HUD programs previously inspected under the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) regulations: the HCV program (including Project-Based Vouchers, PBVs) and the CPD programs – HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), national Housing Trust Fund (HTF), Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), and Continuum of Care (CoC) homelessness assistance programs.  

Further information will be provided in three “Subordinate Notices.” HUD proposed an NSPIRE Standards notice on June 17, 2022, focusing on health and safety physical inspection standards (see Memo, 6/27/22). HUD also proposed an NSPIRE Scoring notice on March 28, 2023 (see Memo, 4/3 and 5/1). Both the Standards notice and Scoring notice will be final and effective before HUD begins inspections under NSPIRE. Every three years, the Standards and Scoring notices will be updated and published for comment in the Federal Register. HUD did not provide an NSPIRE Administrative notice for comment, but will publish a final Administrative notice before July 1, 2023, outlining the NSPIRE process for inspections, submitting evidence of deficiency correction, other administrative requirements, and the process for gathering resident feedback on property conditions. NLIHC is concerned that residents and advocates will not be able to comment on the process of gathering resident feedback regarding property conditions.

NLIHC’s “Summary of Key Provisions of the Final National Standards for Physical Inspection (NSPIRE) Regulations” is at:

The analysis of NLIHC’s recommendations regarding the proposed rule compared to the final rule is at:

The May 11 Federal Register version of the final NSPIRE rule is at:

An easier to read preview version of the final NSPIRE rule is at:

A HUD media release about the final NSPIRE rule is at:

HUD’s NSPIRE website is at:

More information about all of the HUD programs subject to the new NSPIRE rule is available in NLIHC’s 2023 Advocates’ Guide.