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Housing Quality Standards


HUD Performance and Acceptability Standards

HUD's performance and acceptability standards for HCV-assisted housing are provided in 24 CFR 982.401. These standards cover the following areas:

  • Sanitary facilities
  • Food preparation and refuse disposal
  • Space and Security
  • Thermal environment
  • Illumination and electricity
  • Structure and materials
  • Interior air quality
  • Water supply
  • Lead-based paint
  • Access
  • Site and neighborhood
  • Sanitary condition
  • Smoke detectors 

A summary of HUD performance criteria is provided in Exhibit 8-1. Additional guidance on these requirements is found in the following HUD resources:

  • Housing Choice Voucher Guidebook, Chapter 10.
  • HUD Housing Inspection Manual for Section 8 Housing
  • HUD Inspection Form, form HUD-52580 (3/01) and Inspection Checklist, form HUD‑52580‑A (9/00)
  • HUD Notice 2003-31, Accessibility Notice: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 and the Fair Housing Act of 1988.



  • The AHA may impose variations to the HQS as long as the additional criteria are not likely to adversely affect the health or safety of participant families or severely restrict housing choices for families. HUD approval is required for variations to the HQS. HUD approval is not required if the variations are clarifications of HUD's acceptability criteria or performance standards [24 CFR 982.401(a)(4)].

Thermal Environment [HCV GB p.10-7]

  • The AHA must define a “healthy living environment” for the local climate. This may be done by establishing a temperature that the heating system must be capable of maintaining, that is appropriate for the local climate.

AHA Policy

  • The heating system must be capable of maintaining an interior temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit between October 1 and May 1.

Clarifications of HUD Requirements

AHA Policy

As permitted by HUD, the AHA has adopted the following specific requirements that elaborate on HUD standards.


  • In areas where plaster or drywall is sagging, severely cracked, or otherwise damaged, it must be repaired or replaced.


  • Window sashes must be in good condition, solid and intact, and properly fitted to the window frame. Damaged or deteriorated sashes must be replaced.
  • Windows must be weather-stripped as needed to ensure a weather-tight seal.
  • Window screens must be in good condition (applies only if screens are present).


  • All exterior doors must be weather-tight to avoid any air or water infiltration, be lockable, have no holes, have all trim intact, and have a threshold.
  • All interior doors must have no holes, have all trim intact, and be openable without the use of a key.


  • All wood floors must be sanded to a smooth surface and sealed. Any loose or warped boards must be resecured and made level. If they cannot be leveled, they must be replaced.
  • All floors must be in a finished state. Raw wood or unsealed concrete is not permitted.
  • All floors should have some type of base shoe, trim, or sealing for a "finished look." Vinyl base shoe is permitted.


  • All sinks and commode water lines must have shut off valves, unless faucets are wall mounted.
  • All sinks must have functioning stoppers.


  • All worn or cracked toilet seats and tank lids must be replaced and toilet tank lid must fit properly.


  • If window security bars or security screens are present on emergency exit windows, they must be equipped with a quick release system. The owner is responsible for ensuring that the family is instructed on the use of the quick release system.



HUD requires the PHA to define life-threatening conditions and to notify the owner or the family (whichever is responsible) of the corrections required. The responsible party must correct life-threatening conditions within 24 hours of PHA notification.

       PHA Policy

The following are considered life-threatening conditions:

  • Any condition that jeopardizes the security of the unit
  • Major plumbing leaks or flooding, waterlogged ceiling or floor in imminent danger of falling
  • Natural or LP gas or fuel oil leaks
  • Any electrical problem or condition that could result in shock or fire
  • Absence of a working heating system when outside temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Utilities not in service, including no running hot water
  • Conditions that present the imminent possibility of injury
  • Obstacles that prevent safe entrance or exit from the unit
  • Absence of a functioning toilet in the unit
  • Inoperable smoke detectors
  • If an owner fails to correct life-threatening conditions as required by the PHA, the PHA will enforce the HQS in accordance with HUD requirements. See 8-II-G.
  • If a family fails to correct a family-caused life-threatening condition as required by the PHA, the PHA will enforce the family obligations. See 8-II.H.
  • The owner will be required to repair an inoperable smoke detector unless the PHA determines that the family has intentionally disconnected it (by removing batteries or other means). In this case, the family will be required to repair the smoke detector within 24 hours.