The quality of the physical housing unit and environment of the tenant household will significantly impact the tenant’s overall experience and ultimate success. Ensuring the quality of the physical unit starts with the inspection prior to move-in and continues throughout the tenancy.
Any housing unit in which a supportive housing tenant will live, regardless of the property owner, should be inspected before the tenant moves in and at least once a year while the tenant lives in the unit. This will ensure its quality and that it is not in need of repair. In many cases the unit or the subsidy used to rent it will be funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Such units should be inspected using Housing Quality Standards (HQS). For non-HUD funded units, HQS may be useful, but other standards of equal or greater rigor also can be used.
Click on Overview of Housing Quality Standards to learn more about HQS.
As part of the move-in process, the housing or property manager should walk through the unit with the tenant, noting the move-in condition of items such as windows, doors, locks and provided furnishings. This walk-through is also an opportunity to explain how to properly use and maintain features of the apartment. The housing or property manager should inform the tenant that they will be responsible for the cost of repairing any damage to the listed items beyond normal wear and tear. Click here for a Sample Apartment Condition Checklist.
In addition to ensuring that the initial quality of the housing unit is high, it is also important that it is maintained throughout the duration of the tenancy.
- Staff should inspect units prior to move-in and at least annually thereafter. The inspections should ensure that units meet or exceed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Quality Standards (HQS).
- Tenants should be given proper notice of any scheduled inspections. Click here for more information on Key Control and Entering Tenants’ Units.
- Staff should ensure that inspection results that require follow-up or corrective actions are addressed within reasonable time-frames.
- Property management staff should have a comprehensive, written plan as well as a schedule for inspections, pest control, routine maintenance and replacement activities designed to sustain the quality of the physical environment.
- There should be clear procedures for tenants to report maintenance problems, and for work orders to be created and completed. Staff should have clear policies and procedures to address damage that is part of and possibly beyond normal wear and tear to the unit. Click here for more information about Routine and Non-Routine Maintenance including sample forms.
- Staff should have funds available to address minor instances of tenant-caused damage to the unit, in the interest of maintaining landlord relationships and housing stability.
- Staff should ensure that the property as well as individual tenant units are safe and secure. Click here for Safety and Security Responsibilities and Tips for Creating a Safe Living Environment.