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HUD News: HUD Starts Process to Strengthen Standards for Conditions in HUD Assisted and Insured Housing

Public Comment on Proposed Scoring Methodology for Inspections Now Open for the First Time in 20+ Years as Part of System-Wide Overhaul

On March 28, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published the proposed scoring notice for the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) in the Federal Register. This updated scoring notice, is a critical step in HUD’s work to improve conditions in HUD assisted and insured housing by increasing standards for and frequency of inspections. NSPIRE strengthens HUD’s physical condition standards, formerly known as the Uniform Physical Condition Standard (UPCS) and the Housing Quality Standards (HQS). The proposed notice is part of HUD’s efforts to update its physical inspection model that is now more the 20 years old.

“HUD is prioritizing the health and safety of our residents by taking this step for the first time in 20 years. NSPIRE will formally align expectations of housing quality and consolidate inspection standards across HUD programs to raise the bar for what conditions exist in HUD assisted properties,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe. Feedback on our scoring methodology will ensure that millions of homes across the nation are meeting our standards year-round.”

The public review and comment on the proposed NSPIRE physical inspection scoring and ranking methodology is part of the implementation of HUD’s upcoming final NSPIRE rule. The standards apply to Public Housing and Multifamily Housing programs, including Housing Choice Voucher, Section 8 Project-Based and other assisted housing, Section 202/811 programs, and HUD-insured Multifamily programs.

NSPIRE transforms how HUD manages the quality of affordable housing units with stronger standards, better inspections, greater insights, andhealthier and safer homes for residents. It will accomplish this by:

  • Prioritizing health, safety, and functional defects over appearance
  • Focusing on the areas where residents spend the most time: their units
  • Improving sampling and providing a more accurate score for property conditions
  • Improving compliance monitoring and enforcement for failing scores
  • Aligning inspection standards across all HUD-assisted properties
  • Incorporating resident feedback regarding the condition of units

NSPIRE inspection standards and scoring methodology reflect NSPIRE’s goals of focusing on the health and safety of residents over curb appeal and on life threatening and severe deficiencies inside units resulting in more scoring impact than those outside the units.

The scoring notice proposed for comment includes what’s changing from the Uniform Physical Condition Standard scoring system, including:

  • Removing severity and criticality levels; reducing the number of inspectable areas to the three areas of unit, inside and outside; and removing item and area-based limits and scoring weight distribution along with point caps.
  • Methodology used to revise scoring
  • Expected sampling strategy
  • Justification for scoring decisions

The Department recently held in-person NSPIRE Get Ready sessions in 15 cities across the nation. For more information on NSPIRE, visit the NSPIRE Resources page and view YouTube recordings of the day-long sessions in English and in Spanish. Questions on the proposed scoring notice can be sent directly to: NSPIRERegulations@hud.gov.

HUD encourages all interested parties to submit comments by the April 27, 2023, deadline.

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