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Advocating for and providing quality, affordable, and safe housing is central to the mission of the Housing Authority of the City of Alameda. An important component of ensuring that quality housing is provided is complying with the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection protocol. HQS defines “standard housing” and establishes the minimum quality criteria necessary for the health and safety of program participants. HQS inspections must be completed each time a new unit is rented and at specified intervals for the duration of the lease on the unit, as well as under certain other special circumstances. 

Click on any question below to expand the menu for an answer. 

I own or live in a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Assisted Unit. How often will my unit be inspected?

AHA owned and managed units are inspected on an annual basis. You will be notified several months in advance of the inspection.

Our Maintenance department will pre-inspect your unit two months before your scheduled annual inspection to identify items in need of repair prior to your scheduled inspection. Let our maintenance department know at the pre-inspection or contact them before your annual inspection if you notice any of the following:

  • Air filters that are missing or need to be replaced

  • Loose toilets, or toilets that don’t flush properly

  • Unit or closets doors that do not open and close properly or won’t stay on track

  • Cracked or broken windows, or windows that do not open, close, and lock properly

What can I do to prepare my unit for inspection?

You can help your inspection go smoothly by preparing ahead of time:

  • Ensure an adult family member will be present during the scheduled inspection

  • Ensure a clean and sanitary environment for the unit and common areas

  • Clear all walkways and rooms of tripping hazards

  • Remove any items from windowsills 

  • Place light bulbs in all light sockets

  • Test the smoke detector(s) 48 hours prior to the inspections; if the smoke detector(s) doesn’t work, replace the battery

  • Remove any grease and food residue from the stove top

What are the most common items that cause a unit to fail a HQS inspection?

  • Nonfunctional smoke detectors (a single non-functioning smoke detector will cause a unit to fail, even when others in the unit are working properly)

  • Missing or cracked electrical outlet cover plates

  • No railings where required (4 or more steps)

  • Peeling exterior and interior paint

  • Tripping hazards caused by permanently installed floor coverings (carpet/vinyl)

  • Cracked or broken windowpanes

  • Inoperable stove burners or range hoods

  • Missing burner control knobs

  • Inoperable bathroom fans or no ventilation in bathroom

  • Leaking faucets or plumbing

  • Missing or improper discharge line attached to temperature/pressure relief valve

  • No carbon monoxide detector in unit and on each level

What fail items are considered to be life threatening?

HUD requires the AHA 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 AHA notification. The following are considered life threatening conditions (8.I.C. LIFE THREATENING CONDITIONS [24 CFR 982.404(a)]):

  • 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 the outside temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit at any point between 12:01 a.m. and the actual time of inspection on the day of the inspection. If there is a weather forecast predicting temperatures to be below 50 degrees Fahrenheit at any point within 48 hours of the actual time of the inspection, the absence of a working heating system will be addressed immediately as a health and safety issue on a case-by-case basis. Utilities that are 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

  • Window bars in bedrooms with no release

  • Combustible materials near the gas water heater or gas furnace.

  • If an owner fails to correct life threatening conditions as required by the AHA, the housing assistance payment will be abated and the HAP contract will be terminated. (See Section See 8-II-G of the Administrative Plan).

  • If a family fails to correct a family caused life threatening condition as required by the AHA, the AHA may terminate the family’s assistance. (See 8-II.H of the Administrative Plan).

Need more information? You are welcome to send inspection related questions via email to: [email protected], or contact Inspection Team for inspections at (510) 690-8290.
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