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Title 24Subtitle BChapter IXPart 982 → Subpart I


Title 24: Housing and Urban Development
PART 982—SECTION 8 TENANT-BASED ASSISTANCE: HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM


Subpart I—Dwelling Unit: Housing Quality Standards, Subsidy Standards, Inspection and Maintenance


Contents
§982.401   Housing quality standards (HQS).
§982.402   Subsidy standards.
§982.403   Terminating HAP contract when unit is too small.
§982.404   Maintenance: Owner and family responsibility; PHA remedies.
§982.405   PHA initial and periodic unit inspection.
§982.406   Use of alternative inspections.
§982.407   Enforcement of HQS.

Source: 60 FR 34695, July 3, 1995, unless otherwise noted.

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§982.401   Housing quality standards (HQS).

(a) Performance and acceptability requirements. (1) This section states the housing quality standards (HQS) for housing assisted under the HCV program.

(2)(i) The HQS consist of:

(A) Performance requirements; and

(B) Acceptability criteria or HUD approved variations in the acceptability criteria.

(ii) This section states performance and acceptability criteria for these key aspects of housing quality:

(A) Sanitary facilities;

(B) Food preparation and refuse disposal;

(C) Space and security;

(D) Thermal environment;

(E) Illumination and electricity;

(F) Structure and materials;

(G) Interior air quality;

(H) Water supply;

(I) Lead-based paint;

(J) Access;

(K) Site and neighborhood;

(L) Sanitary condition; and

(M) Smoke detectors.

(3) All program housing must meet the HQS performance requirements both at commencement of assisted occupancy, and throughout the assisted tenancy.

(4)(i) In addition to meeting HQS performance requirements, the housing must meet the acceptability criteria stated in this section, unless variations are approved by HUD.

(ii) HUD may approve acceptability criteria variations for the following purposes:

(A) Variations which apply standards in local housing codes or other codes adopted by the PHA; or

(B) Variations because of local climatic or geographic conditions.

(iii) Acceptability criteria variations may only be approved by HUD pursuant to paragraph (a)(4)(ii) of this section if such variations either:

(A) Meet or exceed the performance requirements; or

(B) Significantly expand affordable housing opportunities for families assisted under the program.

(iv) HUD will not approve any acceptability criteria variation if HUD believes that such variation is likely to adversely affect the health or safety of participant families, or severely restrict housing choice.

(b) Sanitary facilities—(1) Performance requirements. The dwelling unit must include sanitary facilities located in the unit. The sanitary facilities must be in proper operating condition, and adequate for personal cleanliness and the disposal of human waste. The sanitary facilities must be usable in privacy.

(2) Acceptability criteria. (i) The bathroom must be located in a separate private room and have a flush toilet in proper operating condition.

(ii) The dwelling unit must have a fixed basin in proper operating condition, with a sink trap and hot and cold running water.

(iii) The dwelling unit must have a shower or a tub in proper operating condition with hot and cold running water.

(iv) The facilities must utilize an approvable public or private disposal system (including a locally approvable septic system).

(c) Food preparation and refuse disposal—(1) Performance requirement. (i) The dwelling unit must have suitable space and equipment to store, prepare, and serve foods in a sanitary manner.

(ii) There must be adequate facilities and services for the sanitary disposal of food wastes and refuse, including facilities for temporary storage where necessary (e.g., garbage cans).

(2) Acceptability criteria. (i) The dwelling unit must have an oven, and a stove or range, and a refrigerator of appropriate size for the family. All of the equipment must be in proper operating condition. The equipment may be supplied by either the owner or the family. A microwave oven may be substituted for a tenant-supplied oven and stove or range. A microwave oven may be substituted for an owner-supplied oven and stove or range if the tenant agrees and microwave ovens are furnished instead of an oven and stove or range to both subsidized and unsubsidized tenants in the building or premises.

(ii) The dwelling unit must have a kitchen sink in proper operating condition, with a sink trap and hot and cold running water. The sink must drain into an approvable public or private system.

(iii) The dwelling unit must have space for the storage, preparation, and serving of food.

(iv) There must be facilities and services for the sanitary disposal of food waste and refuse, including temporary storage facilities where necessary (e.g., garbage cans).

(d) Space and security—(1) Performance requirement. The dwelling unit must provide adequate space and security for the family.

(2) Acceptability criteria. (i) At a minimum, the dwelling unit must have a living room, a kitchen area, and a bathroom.

(ii) The dwelling unit must have at least one bedroom or living/sleeping room for each two persons. Children of opposite sex, other than very young children, may not be required to occupy the same bedroom or living/sleeping room.

(iii) Dwelling unit windows that are accessible from the outside, such as basement, first floor, and fire escape windows, must be lockable (such as window units with sash pins or sash locks, and combination windows with latches). Windows that are nailed shut are acceptable only if these windows are not needed for ventilation or as an alternate exit in case of fire.

(iv) The exterior doors of the dwelling unit must be lockable. Exterior doors are doors by which someone can enter or exit the dwelling unit.

(e) Thermal environment—(1) Performance requirement. The dwelling unit must have and be capable of maintaining a thermal environment healthy for the human body.

(2) Acceptability criteria. (i) There must be a safe system for heating the dwelling unit (and a safe cooling system, where present). The system must be in proper operating condition. The system must be able to provide adequate heat (and cooling, if applicable), either directly or indirectly, to each room, in order to assure a healthy living environment appropriate to the climate.

(ii) The dwelling unit must not contain unvented room heaters that burn gas, oil, or kerosene. Electric heaters are acceptable.

(f) Illumination and electricity—(1) Performance requirement. Each room must have adequate natural or artificial illumination to permit normal indoor activities and to support the health and safety of occupants. The dwelling unit must have sufficient electrical sources so occupants can use essential electrical appliances. The electrical fixtures and wiring must ensure safety from fire.

(2) Acceptability criteria. (i) There must be at least one window in the living room and in each sleeping room.

(ii) The kitchen area and the bathroom must have a permanent ceiling or wall light fixture in proper operating condition. The kitchen area must also have at least one electrical outlet in proper operating condition.

(iii) The living room and each bedroom must have at least two electrical outlets in proper operating condition. Permanent overhead or wall-mounted light fixtures may count as one of the required electrical outlets.

(g) Structure and materials—(1) Performance requirement. The dwelling unit must be structurally sound. The structure must not present any threat to the health and safety of the occupants and must protect the occupants from the environment.

(2) Acceptability criteria. (i) Ceilings, walls, and floors must not have any serious defects such as severe bulging or leaning, large holes, loose surface materials, severe buckling, missing parts, or other serious damage.

(ii) The roof must be structurally sound and weathertight.

(iii) The exterior wall structure and surface must not have any serious defects such as serious leaning, buckling, sagging, large holes, or defects that may result in air infiltration or vermin infestation.

(iv) The condition and equipment of interior and exterior stairs, halls, porches, walkways, etc., must not present a danger of tripping and falling. For example, broken or missing steps or loose boards are unacceptable.

(v) Elevators must be working and safe.

(h) Interior air quality—(1) Performance requirement. The dwelling unit must be free of pollutants in the air at levels that threaten the health of the occupants.

(2) Acceptability criteria. (i) The dwelling unit must be free from dangerous levels of air pollution from carbon monoxide, sewer gas, fuel gas, dust, and other harmful pollutants.

(ii) There must be adequate air circulation in the dwelling unit.

(iii) Bathroom areas must have one openable window or other adequate exhaust ventilation.

(iv) Any room used for sleeping must have at least one window. If the window is designed to be openable, the window must work.

(i) Water supply—(1) Performance requirement. The water supply must be free from contamination.

(2) Acceptability criteria. The dwelling unit must be served by an approvable public or private water supply that is sanitary and free from contamination.

(j) Lead-based paint performance requirement. The Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act (42 U.S.C. 4821-4846), the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 (42 U.S.C. 4851-4856), and implementing regulations at part 35, subparts A, B, M, and R of this title apply to units assisted under this part.

(k) Access performance requirement. The dwelling unit must be able to be used and maintained without unauthorized use of other private properties. The building must provide an alternate means of exit in case of fire (such as fire stairs or egress through windows).

(l) Site and Neighborhood—(1) Performance requirement. The site and neighborhood must be reasonably free from disturbing noises and reverberations and other dangers to the health, safety, and general welfare of the occupants.

(2) Acceptability criteria. The site and neighborhood may not be subject to serious adverse environmental conditions, natural or manmade, such as dangerous walks or steps; instability; flooding, poor drainage, septic tank back-ups or sewage hazards; mudslides; abnormal air pollution, smoke or dust; excessive noise, vibration or vehicular traffic; excessive accumulations of trash; vermin or rodent infestation; or fire hazards.

(m) Sanitary condition—(1) Performance requirement. The dwelling unit and its equipment must be in sanitary condition.

(2) Acceptability criteria. The dwelling unit and its equipment must be free of vermin and rodent infestation.

(n) Smoke detectors performance requirement—(1) Except as provided in paragraph (n)(2) of this section, each dwelling unit must have at least one battery-operated or hard-wired smoke detector, in proper operating condition, on each level of the dwelling unit, including basements but excepting crawl spaces and unfinished attics. Smoke detectors must be installed in accordance with and meet the requirements of the National Fire Protection Association Standard (NFPA) 74 (or its successor standards). If the dwelling unit is occupied by any hearing-impaired person, smoke detectors must have an alarm system, designed for hearing-impaired persons as specified in NFPA 74 (or successor standards).

(2) For units assisted prior to April 24, 1993, owners who installed battery-operated or hard-wired smoke detectors prior to April 24, 1993 in compliance with HUD's smoke detector requirements, including the regulations published on July 30, 1992, (57 FR 33846), will not be required subsequently to comply with any additional requirements mandated by NFPA 74 (i.e., the owner would not be required to install a smoke detector in a basement not used for living purposes, nor would the owner be required to change the location of the smoke detectors that have already been installed on the other floors of the unit).

[60 FR 34695, July 3, 1995, as amended at 61 FR 27163, May 30, 1996; 63 FR 23861, Apr. 30, 1998; 64 FR 26646, May 14, 1999; 64 FR 49658, Sept. 14, 1999; 64 FR 50230, Sept. 15, 1999; 80 FR 8246, Feb. 17, 2015]

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§982.402   Subsidy standards.

(a) Purpose. (1) The PHA must establish subsidy standards that determine the number of bedrooms needed for families of different sizes and compositions.

(2) For each family, the PHA determines the appropriate number of bedrooms under the PHA subsidy standards (family unit size).

(3) The family unit size number is entered on the voucher issued to the family. The PHA issues the family a voucher for the family unit size when a family is selected for participation in the program.

(b) Determining family unit size. The following requirements apply when the PHA determines family unit size under the PHA subsidy standards:

(1) The subsidy standards must provide for the smallest number of bedrooms needed to house a family without overcrowding.

(2) The subsidy standards must be consistent with space requirements under the housing quality standards (See §982.401(d)).

(3) The subsidy standards must be applied consistently for all families of like size and composition.

(4) A child who is temporarily away from the home because of placement in foster care is considered a member of the family in determining the family unit size.

(5) A family that consists of a pregnant woman (with no other persons) must be treated as a two-person family.

(6) Any live-in aide (approved by the PHA to reside in the unit to care for a family member who is disabled or is at least 50 years of age) must be counted in determining the family unit size;

(7) Unless a live-in-aide resides with the family, the family unit size for any family consisting of a single person must be either a zero or one-bedroom unit, as determined under the PHA subsidy standards.

(8) In determining family unit size for a particular family, the PHA may grant an exception to its established subsidy standards if the PHA determines that the exception is justified by the age, sex, health, handicap, or relationship of family members or other personal circumstances. (For a single person other than a disabled or elderly person or remaining family member, such PHA exception may not override the limitation in paragraph (b)(7) of this section.)

(c) Effect of family unit size-maximum subsidy in voucher program. The family unit size as determined for a family under the PHA subsidy standard is used to determine the maximum rent subsidy for a family assisted in the voucher program. For a voucher tenancy, the PHA establishes payment standards by number of bedrooms. The payment standard for a family shall be the lower of:

(1) The payment standard amount for the family unit size; or

(2) The payment standard amount for the unit size of the unit rented by the family.

(3) Voucher program. For a voucher tenancy, the PHA establishes payment standards by number of bedrooms. The payment standards for the family must be the lower of:

(i) The payment standards for the family unit size; or

(ii) The payment standard for the unit size rented by the family.

(d) Size of unit occupied by family. (1) The family may lease an otherwise acceptable dwelling unit with fewer bedrooms than the family unit size. However, the dwelling unit must meet the applicable HQS space requirements.

(2) The family may lease an otherwise acceptable dwelling unit with more bedrooms than the family unit size. However, utility allowances must follow §982.517(d).

[60 FR 34695, July 3, 1995, as amended at 63 FR 23861, Apr. 30, 1998; 64 FR 26646, May 14, 1999; 81 FR 12375, Mar. 8, 2016]

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§982.403   Terminating HAP contract when unit is too small.

(a) Violation of HQS space standards. (1) If the PHA determines that a unit does not meet the HQS space standards because of an increase in family size or a change in family composition, the PHA must issue the family a new voucher, and the family and PHA must try to find an acceptable unit as soon as possible.

(2) If an acceptable unit is available for rental by the family, the PHA must terminate the HAP contract in accordance with its terms.

(b) Termination. When the PHA terminates the HAP contract under paragraph (a) of this section:

(1) The PHA must notify the family and the owner of the termination; and

(2) The HAP contract terminates at the end of the calendar month that follows the calendar month in which the PHA gives such notice to the owner.

(3) The family may move to a new unit in accordance with §982.354.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2577-0169)

[60 FR 34695, July 3, 1995, as amended at 60 FR 45661, Sept. 1, 1995; 64 FR 26647, May 14, 1999; 80 FR 8246, Feb. 17, 2015; 80 FR 50575, Aug. 20, 2015]

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§982.404   Maintenance: Owner and family responsibility; PHA remedies.

(a) Owner obligation. (1) The owner must maintain the unit in accordance with HQS.

(2) If the owner fails to maintain the dwelling unit in accordance with HQS, the PHA must take prompt and vigorous action to enforce the owner obligations. PHA remedies for such breach of the HQS include termination, suspension or reduction of housing assistance payments and termination of the HAP contract.

(3) The PHA must not make any housing assistance payments for a dwelling unit that fails to meet the HQS, unless the owner corrects the defect within the period specified by the PHA and the PHA verifies the correction. If a defect is life threatening, the owner must correct the defect within no more than 24 hours. For other defects, the owner must correct the defect within no more than 30 calendar days (or any PHA-approved extension).

(4) The owner is not responsible for a breach of the HQS that is not caused by the owner, and for which the family is responsible (as provided in §982.404(b) and §982.551(c)). (However, the PHA may terminate assistance to a family because of HQS breach caused by the family.)

(b) Family obligation. (1) The family is responsible for a breach of the HQS that is caused by any of the following:

(i) The family fails to pay for any utilities that the owner is not required to pay for, but which are to be paid by the tenant;

(ii) The family fails to provide and maintain any appliances that the owner is not required to provide, but which are to be provided by the tenant; or

(iii) Any member of the household or guest damages the dwelling unit or premises (damages beyond ordinary wear and tear).

(2) If an HQS breach caused by the family is life threatening, the family must correct the defect within no more than 24 hours. For other family-caused defects, the family must correct the defect within no more than 30 calendar days (or any PHA-approved extension).

(3) If the family has caused a breach of the HQS, the PHA must take prompt and vigorous action to enforce the family obligations. The PHA may terminate assistance for the family in accordance with §982.552.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2577-0169)

[60 FR 34695, July 3, 1995, as amended at 60 FR 45661, Sept. 1, 1995]

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§982.405   PHA initial and periodic unit inspection.

(a) The PHA must inspect the unit leased to a family prior to the initial term of the lease, at least biennially during assisted occupancy, and at other times as needed, to determine if the unit meets the HQS. (See §982.305(b)(2) concerning timing of initial inspection by the PHA.)

(b) The PHA must conduct supervisory quality control HQS inspections.

(c) In scheduling inspections, the PHA must consider complaints and any other information brought to the attention of the PHA.

(d) The PHA must notify the owner of defects shown by the inspection.

(e) The PHA may not charge the family for an initial inspection or reinspection of the unit.

(f) The PHA may not charge the owner for the inspection of the unit prior to the initial term of the lease or for a first inspection during assisted occupancy of the unit. The PHA may establish a reasonable fee to owners for a reinspection if an owner notifies the PHA that a repair has been made or the allotted time for repairs has elapsed and a reinspection reveals that any deficiency cited in the previous inspection that the owner is responsible for repairing pursuant to §982.404(a) was not corrected. The owner may not pass this fee along to the family. Fees collected under this paragraph will be included in a PHA's administrative fee reserve and may be used only for activities related to the provision of Section 8 Tenant-Based Rental Assistance.

(g) If a participant family or government official reports a condition that is life-threatening (i.e., the PHA would require the owner to make the repair within no more than 24 hours in accordance with §982.404(a)(3)), then the PHA must inspect the housing unit within 24 hours of when the PHA received the notification. If the reported condition is not life-threatening (i.e., the PHA would require the owner to make the repair within no more than 30 calendar days in accordance with §982.404(a)(3)), then the PHA must inspect the unit within 15 days of when the PHA received the notification. In the event of extraordinary circumstances, such as if a unit is within a Presidentially declared disaster area, HUD may waive the 24-hour or the 15-day inspection requirement until such time as an inspection is feasible.

[60 FR 34695, July 3, 1995, as amended at 64 FR 26647, May 14, 1999; 64 FR 56914, Oct. 21, 1999; 81 FR 12375, Mar. 8, 2016]

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§982.406   Use of alternative inspections.

(a) In general. (1) A PHA may comply with the inspection requirement in §982.405(a) by relying on an alternative inspection (i.e., an inspection conducted for another housing assistance program) only if the PHA is able to obtain the results of the alternative inspection.

(2) If an alternative inspection method employs sampling, then a PHA may rely on such alternative inspection method to comply with the requirement in §982.405(a) only if HCV units are included in the population of units forming the basis of the sample.

(3) Units in properties that are mixed-finance properties assisted with project-based vouchers may be inspected at least triennially pursuant to 24 CFR 983.103(g).

(b) Administrative plans. A PHA relying on an alternative inspection to fulfill the requirement in §982.405(a) must identify the alternative inspection method being used in the PHA's administrative plan. Such a change may be a significant amendment to the plan, in which case the PHA must follow its plan amendment and public notice requirements, in addition to meeting the requirements in §982.406(c)(2), if applicable, before using the alternative inspection method.

(c) Eligible inspection methods. (1) A PHA may rely upon inspections of housing assisted under the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program or housing financed using Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs), or inspections performed by HUD, with no action other than amending its administrative plan.

(2) If a PHA wishes to rely on an inspection method other than a method listed in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, then, prior to amending its administrative plan, the PHA must submit to the Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) a copy of the inspection method it wishes to use, along with its analysis of the inspection method that shows that the method “provides the same or greater protection to occupants of dwelling units” as would HQS.

(i) A PHA may rely upon such alternative inspection method only upon receiving approval from REAC to do so.

(ii) A PHA that uses an alternative inspection method approved under this paragraph must monitor changes to the standards and requirements applicable to such method. If any change is made to the alternative inspection method, then the PHA must submit to REAC a copy of the revised standards and requirements, along with a revised comparison to HQS. If the PHA or REAC determines that the revision would cause the alternative inspection to no longer meet or exceed HQS, then the PHA may no longer rely upon the alternative inspection method to comply with the inspection requirement at §982.405(a).

(d) Results of alternative inspection. (1) In order for a PHA to rely upon the results of an alternative inspection to comply with the requirement at §982.405(a), a property inspected pursuant to such method must meet the standards or requirements regarding housing quality or safety applicable to properties assisted under the program using the alternative inspection method. To make the determination of whether such standards or requirements are met, the PHA must adhere to the following procedures:

(i) If a property is inspected under an alternative inspection method, and the property receives a “pass” score, then the PHA may rely on that inspection to demonstrate compliance with the inspection requirement at §982.405(a).

(ii) If a property is inspected under an alternative inspection method, and the property receives a “fail” score, then the PHA may not rely on that inspection to demonstrate compliance with the inspection requirement at §982.405(a).

(iii) If a property is inspected under an alternative inspection method that does not employ a pass/fail determination—for example, in the case of a program where deficiencies are simply identified—then the PHA must review the list of deficiencies to determine whether any cited deficiency would have resulted in a “fail” score under HQS. If no such deficiency exists, then the PHA may rely on the inspection to demonstrate compliance with the inspection requirement at §982.405(a); if such a deficiency does exist, then the PHA may not rely on the inspection to demonstrate such compliance.

(2) Under any circumstance described above in which a PHA is prohibited from relying on an alternative inspection method for a property, the PHA must, within a reasonable period of time, conduct an HQS inspection of any units in the property occupied by voucher program participants and follow HQS procedures to remedy any identified deficiencies.

(e) Records retention. As with all other inspection reports, and as required by §982.158(f)(4), reports for inspections conducted pursuant to an alternative inspection method must be obtained by the PHA. Such reports must be available for HUD inspection for at least three years from the date of the latest inspection.

[81 FR 12375, Mar. 8, 2016]

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§982.407   Enforcement of HQS.

Part 982 does not create any right of the family, or any party other than HUD or the PHA, to require enforcement of the HQS requirements by HUD or the PHA, or to assert any claim against HUD or the PHA, for damages, injunction or other relief, for alleged failure to enforce the HQS.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2577-0169)

[60 FR 34695, July 3, 1995, as amended at 60 FR 45661, Sept. 1, 1995; 80 FR 8246, Feb. 17, 2015. Redesignated at 81 FR 12375, Mar. 8, 2016]

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