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Notice marks HUD’s first comprehensive overhaul of Inspection Standards in more than 20 years

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the pending publication of the Final Inspection Standards Notice for the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) in the Federal Register. The notice details inspectable items at HUD-assisted and Multifamily-insured properties. This includes a classification of which conditions are considered life-threatening, severe, moderate, or low-risk by item and inspectable area. Additionally, the Notice commits HUD to review standards at least every three years.

“These strengthened standards show HUD places the health and safety of residents first and foremost,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “As we put their needs first, we are not only doing the right thing, we’re also innovating and becoming more responsive in our Department’s practices across the board.”

“The NSPIRE standards do two things really well. They bring consistency across programs, which is important for housers, and they bring much needed focus to the areas where residents spend most of their time and conditions that most directly affect their wellbeing,” said Office of Public and Indian Housing Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard J. Monocchio. “I’m incredibly proud of the team and the Department for the clarity and purpose represented by the Final Inspection Standards Notice.”

NSPIRE improves HUD’s oversight by aligning and consolidating inspection regulations used to evaluate HUD housing across multiple programs. NSPIRE strengthens HUD’s physical condition standards, formerly known as the Uniform Physical Condition Standard (UPCS) and the Housing Quality Standards (HQS).

The new three-year notice review cycle allows HUD to be more responsive to evolving industry standards and the changing needs of the public housing portfolio. This also creates the opportunity for the public to comment and propose changes at regular intervals.

The NSPIRE Standards were tested during the NSPIRE Demonstration and were opened for public comment on June 17, 2022. The final standards were published with changes considering feedback HUD received and additional testing in the field during the NSPIRE Demonstration. Major changes include:

  • Addressing life-threatening and severe deficiencies within 24 hours. All other deficiencies must be addressed within 60 days or a reasonable period.
  • Making the Smoke Alarm Standard consistent with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 72.
  • Creating a Fire Door Standard detailing the specific function, operability and structural integrity requirements for fire doors.
  • Requiring carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in compliance with the 2018 International Fire Code.
  • Setting minimum temperature requirements during the colder months and requiring a permanent heating source.
  • Including criteria for when guardrails and handrails are required.
  • Establishing infestation deficiencies based on discrete levels of observations with clarification on citable pests.
  • Developing deficiencies based on observed mold conditions or elevated moisture levels measured using a moisture meter.
  • Including a deficiency for an enhanced visual assessment for deteriorated paint in units where children under 6 years of age reside to document potential lead-based paint hazards. Specifying Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protection as a requirement.
  • Including affirmative habitability requirements for bathrooms, kitchens, and other rooms utilized by residents.

HUD published the final NSPIRE rule on May 11, 2023, that made changes to inspections for the Public Housing and Multifamily Housing programs. In addition to the final rule, the Final Standards Notice is one of three core subordinate publications as part of NSPIRE; HUD will publish the two remaining notices – the final Scoring and the Administrative Notices – this summer.

For more information on NSPIRE, visit the NSPIRE homepage and view the video of the NSPIRE Standards or other videos on the NPSIRE playlist. Questions about NSPIRE can be sent to [email protected].