Housing Quality Standards Inspection

The goal of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is to provide “decent, safe and sanitary” housing at an affordable cost to low-income families. Housing Quality Standards establish the minimum quality criteria necessary for the health and safety of program participants. All HCV housing units must meet these housing quality standards in order to participate in the HCV program

General HQS Requirements

  •  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 and Carbon
  • Monoxide Detectors

HQS inspections are conducted by PHA staff in accordance with HUD regulations to ensure that potential and current HCV housing units meet the minimum performance and acceptability criteria for each of the housing quality requirements.

Inspection checklist

HUD Inspection booklet

HUD Inspection checklist

  • Initial lease up 
  • Biennially
  • Complaint and special inspections
  • Supervisory or quality control inspections 
  • The New Hampshire Housing Rental Assistance Inspector will contact you to set up the initial inspections
    • The unit needs to be vacated by the prior unassisted tenant at the time of inspection. The purpose of having the unit vacant is to allow the inspector to view the unit in move-in condition
    • All utilities should be in full working condition even if the tenant will ultimately be responsible for the payments of these utilities. If the utilities are not operable at the time of the inspection, an inconclusive rating will be given to that portion of the inspection until the inspector can verify the utility requirement.
    • The inspector must be able to access all common areas and the basement of the building
  • If there are any fail items, they must be repaired before assistance can start.
  • Once a move-in date has been agreed upon, New Hampshire Housing will prepare paperwork and a contract package will be sent to you.
  • Sign your lease with the tenant, have them pay a security deposit and move in.
  • The initial term of the lease must be for one year. The lease can be month-to-month once the initial one-year term has expired.
  • Electronic fund transfers for New Hampshire Housing subsidy portion will be wired directly to your financial institution, on the first business day of the month.
  • Note: The unit must pass inspection and the contract must be signed by the owner and returned to New Hampshire Housing before payment will be made. Electronic DocuSign Signatures are acceptable.A copy of the signed lease must be received within 30 days from the effective date in order for payment to continue.

New Hampshire Housing has adopted the National Fire Protection Association standard for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and overall fire protection and safety (Chapter 153State Board of Fire Control, Information Bulletin 2009-007 Addendum Office of the State ofNew Hampshire Fire Marshall).

Click here for Chapter 129, HB317 Final Version. 

New Hampshire Housing required Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Under New Hampshire State Law (RSA 153:10a). The CO Detectors must be on every level of the home and have battery back-up and be electrically powered, either by being hard wired or plug-in as noted in the bulletin from the State Fire Marshall. 

Click here for the bulletin addendum.

Buildings that do not have attached garages or any fuel-fired or solid fueled appliances or devices are exempt from the requirements. The property owner is responsible to know the law and to maintain both smoke detectors and CO detector systems in good working order.  

Emergency (24 Hour) Fails:

  • Utility not in service (electricity, gas, oil or propane) 
  • Non-working or missing smoke detector 
  • Non-working or missing carbon monoxide detector 
  • No heat 
  • Gas leak/fumes

Non-emergency Fails:

  • No access to the utility room or basement 
  • Improperly wired outlets (open ground, GFCI outlets not tripping, hot neutral reverse) 
  • Deteriorated interior or exterior paint (peeling, cracking, chipping, chafing) for units built prior to 1978 with a child under age six 
  • Smoke detectors or carbon monoxide alarms that are chirping or hanging from the wires 
  • Broken or inoperable windows (slams when opened, cracked panes, broken locks) 
  • Exposed electrical wires/connections (outlets/switches missing or broken faceplates, knockouts missing in breaker boxes, uncovered junction boxes, missing ceiling light globes, uncapped wires) 
  • Drafty exterior doors (weatherization missing or worn) 
  • Cutting hazards including protruding nails, pipes or metal objects 
  • Evidence of rodent or bug infestation 
  • Holes or large gaps in walls/ceilings/floors of living spaces 
  • Inoperable light fixtures 
  • Plumbing issues (leaks, clogged drains, faucets running) 
  • Missing, loose, or protruding handrails/railing/steps/floor boards 
  • Missing discharge line on water heater (from the pressure relief valve) 
  • Tripping hazards with curling or cut linoleum, frayed carpet or broken/missing thresholds 
  • Combustible material within three feet of furnace/water heater or oil tank 
  • Lack of illumination in common hallways or exterior entrances 

The purpose of addressing the Lead Based Paint (LBP) issue is to implement the LBP Poisoning Prevention Act by establishing procedures to eliminate the hazards of LBP poisoning for units assisted under the HCV Program. This is a general guideline for property owners concerning Lead Based Paint. 

Buildings constructed prior to 1978 with children under six years of age living in the household, are required to undergo visual inspections for defective paint surfaces (surface on which the paint is cracking, scaling, chipping, peeling or loose) at both initial and annual inspections. 

After September 15, 2000, the requirements include using Safe Work Practices to repair any defective paint, using qualified or supervised workers to complete the work and perform a clearance test to ensure that all hazards have been handled. 

Prior to execution of the HAP contract, the owner must inform New Hampshire Housing and the family of any knowledge of the presence of lead-based paint on the surfaces in the unit. This certification is on the lead paint form which comes with your contract package. Please keep it on file for seven years. 

Any questions or concerns regarding this section should be directed to the Rental Assistance Manager. For more information on lead-based paint, please visit our website

Resources/Lead Hazard Control Information