Housing Quality Standards (HQS)

Housing Quality Standards


Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program regulations at 24 CFR Part 982 set forth basic housing quality standards (HQS) which all units must meet before assistance can be paid on behalf of a family and at least annually throughout the term of the assisted tenancy.  HQS define “standard housing” and establish the minimum criteria for the health and safety of program participants.  Current HQS regulations consist of 13 key aspects of housing quality, performance requirements, and acceptability criteria to meet each performance requirement.  HQS includes requirements for all housing types, including single and multi-family dwelling units, as well as specific requirements for special housing types such as manufactured homes, congregate housing, single room occupancy, shared housing, and group residences.


What is the purpose of Housing Quality Standards?

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 help HUD and local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) accomplish that goal by defining “standard housing” and establishing 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.

What are the 13 key aspects of housing quality covered by performance requirements and acceptability criteria in the HQS?

The 13 key aspects of housing quality covered by HQS include:

Sanitary facilities;  Interior air quality; 
Food Preparation and refuse disposal; Water supply;
Space and security;  Lead-based paint;
Thermal environment;   Access;
Illumination and electricity;   Site and neighborhood;
Structure and materials;     Sanitary condition; and
Smoke Detectors;  


How are Housing Quality Standards enforced?

HQS inspections are conducted by the Waukegan Housing Authority staff and contractors to ensure that potential and current HCV units meet the minimum performance and acceptability criteria for each of the 13 key housing quality aspects.

When do HQS inspections occur?

HQS inspections come in four different varieties.  Initial Inspections occur when a voucher holder indicates to the Waukegan Housing Authority that they desire to lease a specific housing unit.  The unit must pass the initial inspection before the execution of the assisted lease and housing assistance payments (HAP) contract and the initiation of payments.  Annual Inspections occur once a year on housing units that are currently under lease by an HCV participant family.  Annual inspections ensure that HCV units continue to meet HQS throughout the tenancy of the HCV participant family.  Special Inspections may be complaint inspections or quality control inspections.  Complaint inspections occur when a tenant, owner, or member of the public complains about the condition of an HCV housing unit.  Quality control inspections examine a sample of housing units within a given PHA’s jurisdiction each year and occur throughout the year.




Q.  If I agree to pay part of my security deposit down and the other half in installments and I don’t pay, can my landlord evict me for non-payment of deposit?
A.  Yes!  Your landlord can evict you for non-payment of security deposit, which becomes a violation of your family obligation of your behalf.

Q.  If I don’t complete my Annual re-certification can my voucher be terminated?
A.  Yes!  You will be responsible for the full contract rent until the recertification is complete.

Q.  When my household has an increase in income when should I come in and report it?
A.  You have within ten (10) calendar days to report in writing any changes.

Q.  If I lose an income and report it to the WHA in writing, will I still be responsible for my portion of the rent?
A.  Yes!  You are responsible for your rent until the adjustment is complete.

Q.  Can my landlord evict me without taking me to court?
A.  No!  The landlord must follow legal procedures which are noted in the Tenancy Addendum.

Q.  Do I have to notify the WHA before moving out of my unit?
A.  Yes!  If you move without written authorization from the WHA you will be terminated from the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Q.  If anyone wants to move in/out of my unit, when should I notify the WHA?
A.  The WHA should be notified in writing ASAP regarding the change.  WHA should be provided with written request regarding the addition of anyone to the household composition.  A criminal background check will be performed on anyone 18 years or older and verification of income must be done of everyone.

Q.  Am I responsible for late fees?
A.  Yes, if you are late with your portion of the rent, however the tenant is not liable for late fees associated with Housing Authority Payments.

Q.  If any of my utilities are turned off at any time can I be terminated from the Housing Program?
A.  Yes!  Your voucher can be terminated for the shut off of any utility services that the household is responsible for.

Q.  How many days after I turn in a request for tenancy approval will it take to inspect the unit?
A. 5 – 10 days.  The inspector will contact the landlord to set up the date and time regarding the inspection.  No calls will be placed to the participant regarding the scheduling of the inspection.  Your case manager will notify you via phone when the inspection passes and inform you of your portion of the rent.

Q.  After my initial lease ends may I go on a month to month lease?
A.  No!  Upon your renewal of your Annual Re-Certification your landlord must provide a new lease that will consist of 12 consecutive months, however your landlord may agree at anytime to allow you to move.  This agreement must be in writing and given to your case manager.

Q.  Can I be terminated if my unit is not inspected?
A.  Yes!  After two attempts to inspect your unit your case manager will TERMINATE your voucher.