On Friday, April 23, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced that HUD will substantially increase housing inspections, beginning on June 1, 2021.
HUD’s inspections are instrumental in identifying unsafe conditions and supporting HUD’s work with housing providers to mitigate them. Thirteen months ago, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in line with public health guidance, HUD took many steps to protect HUD-assisted households and the people who provide that assistance from exposure to COVID-19. Among those steps was the suspension of most in-person housing inspections by the Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) last year along with waivers that enabled Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and Multifamily housing owners and managers to reduce activities that could contribute to COVID-19 transmission.
In consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in alignment with HUD’s prioritization of the overall health and well-being of HUD-assisted households, PHAs, multifamily housing owners and property managers were informed on Friday that HUD has developed detailed protocols guiding all aspects of the inspection process.
“The last year has shown just how important housing is to our health and safety,” said Secretary Fudge. “More than a year since the pandemic began and with every person over the age of 16 now being eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccination, we must take steps to ensure the whole health and well-being of the households we serve—including the conditions and quality of housing. We look forward to working with residents to ensure safe and successful inspections.”
HUD, in collaboration with the CDC, will implement additional protocols and associated safety measures, including:
- The inspection of high priority/risk properties for both the Public Housing and Multifamily portfolios before other properties;
- Evaluation of known property-specific health conditions prior to the inspection;
Regular COVID-19 testing of inspectors and efforts to facilitate the vaccination of inspectors;
- Travel and quarantine guidelines for inspectors;
- Detailed operational protocols for inspectors pre-inspection, during the inspection, and post-inspection reviewed by the CDC;
- Ability for residents to opt-out of unit inspections when inspectors arrive on-site.
Additionally, under the CARES Act, PHAs and Multifamily POAs may purchase and make available to residents PPE, which HUD strongly encourages prior to an inspection.