A Guide to Inspections
Section 8 Inspections
For an apartment to be leased by a Metro Housing|Boston Section 8 voucher holder, the apartment must meet the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing Quality Standards (HQS) and the supplemental inspection requirements of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). These standards are in place to make sure that each apartment is safe for the tenants who live there.
Apartments are required to be inspected on an annual or biennial cycle depending on the owner’s maintenance history. Inspections can also take place for the following reasons: A new tenant is about to move into a unit, a tenant or property owner has made a complaint, or an audit inspection.
Metro Housing|Boston is looking for your feedback. We’ve recently updated our survey for property owners and managers and would love to get your responses. Please take a moment to complete this short survey to help us serve you better:
As of June 1, 2021, Metro Housing will resume in-person inspections, with certain restrictions. For details, please click HERE.
The U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development (HUD) requires that homes of Housing Choice Voucher Program (commonly known as Section 8) participants be inspected to ensure that they meet all health and safety standards.
There are five main types of inspections:
- The initial inspection, which must take place before the HAP contract is executed.
- Full inspections are required to ensure that health and safety standards are maintained. Depending on the program, there are two types of regularly occurring inspections:
- Annual inspections must take place within 365 days of the last full inspection (once a year).
- Biennial inspections must take place within 730 days if the last full inspection (every other year).
- Re-inspections are scheduled to make sure issues discovered during a full inspection are addressed. Re-inspections will be scheduled as-needed until the issues have been resolved.
- Audit inspections are conducted for quality control purposes. Homes are chosen at random and any home under contract may be chosen.
- Supervisory review or complaint inspections are conducted at the request of either the tenant or the property owner. These inspections should only be scheduled after all other means of remedy have been attempted.
Metro Housing|Boston wants you to pass your inspection the first time. Below are some items to check before your first inspection.
- Functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Windows that open and shut without being propped up. Locks and screens are also required.
- Handrails where there are four or more steps inside and outside the building.
- A window or a working ventilation fan in the bathroom.
- No locks on interior doors that could result in a person being unable to exit a room.
- Flooring that is free of trip hazards. Bathroom and kitchen floors must be watertight and easy to clean.
- Heat must be operational between September 15 and June 15 at a minimum of 68° F. Hot water must be functional and range between 110-130° F.
- Weather-tight, caulked doors and windows.
- Plumbing that is free of leaks.
- A clean stove that works properly.
- Lights on the exterior of the building, both front and rear.
Property Owner Responsible
If an apartment fails an inspection due to repairs that are the responsibility of the property owner, the property owner is notified in writing and is provided 30 days to complete all the necessary repairs. If there is an immediate health and safety hazard for which the owner is responsible, the property owner is given 24 hours to complete the repair.
If an apartment fails inspection as a result of damage caused by the tenant, the tenant has 30 days to repair the damage. If utilities have been shut off due to tenant failing to make payments, the tenant has 24 hours to restore the utilities. (The property owner’s HAP will not be suspended provided there are no owner repairs outstanding.)
When a unit fails an inspection due to non-life threatening conditions, Metro Housing|Boston will provide the owner with written notification within five business days outlining the corrective action to be taken and possible penalties for failure to comply. The owner is given a reasonable amount of time to make the necessary repairs. During this time, the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) continues without penalty. If all the repairs are completed no further action is necessary.
If Metro Housing|Boston has given the owner notice that the unit has failed, and has given the owner reasonable time to make the repairs, but the owner has not completed the repairs, the owner will be told that the contract may be suspended or terminated. If the contract is terminated, the tenant will be directed to locate a new unit that will pass inspection.
Learn more about Section 8 inspections
- Metro Housing|Boston Inspection Grading Guidelines (How inspectors determine unit grades)
- MA Inspection Training Guide
- HUD Housing Quality Standards (HQS)
- Chapter II State Sanitary Code (Minimum standards for human habitation)
- Make sure that stove doesn’t tip!
- City of Boston Housing Inspection Division website
Communities we serve
Metro Housing|Boston serves individuals and families, as well property owners, in 30 communities throughout Greater Boston.
- North Reading
*Metro Housing|Boston does not administer RAFT, Voucher Programs, or HomeBASE assistance in Lynn. See Lynn Housing Authority.
*In addition to the 30 communities listed above, Metro Housing|Boston administers rental voucher programs in Holbrook, Randolph, and Weymouth. If you are specifically seeking RAFT assistance in those communities,
you must apply instead to Housing Solutions. (http://housingsolutionssema.org).