The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) inspects subsidized apartments prior to lease up and annually thereafter to ensure compliance with federal Housing Quality Standards (HQS) requirements. These standards establish a minimum basis for habitability and must be maintained in order for the owner to receive monthly Housing Assistance Payments (HAP).
HPD's Division of Code Enforcement conducts the HQS inspections for the HPD Section 8 Program, while the Division of Tenant Resources (DTR) oversees the enforcement of HQS compliance related to the Section 8 subsidy. The inspectors are following Section 8 standards for apartments and public areas, New York City Housing Maintenance Code (HMC), and the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law (MDL).
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Tenant HQS Responsibilities
All Section 8 tenants are required to provide access to HPD employees to allow them to perform the inspection. A family that repeatedly fails to provide access may be terminated from the program.
Tenants are responsible for maintaining HQS and HPD will hold them responsible for damage or violations that cause a unit to fail inspection. HPD generally holds tenants responsible for the following HQS violations:
If a unit fails an HQS inspection, the owner will be notified of what specific violations were found, and whether the violations are the responsibility of the owner or the tenant. A re-inspection is automatically scheduled for the 30th day from the date of the violation. The responsible party must correct the deficiencies within that 30 day period. If additional time is required to correct the problem, an extension of the deadline must be requested from the HQS Unit in writing.
If an owner fails to correct HQS violations within the 30 day period or any HPD approved extension, HPD MUST abate the Housing Assistance Payment until the violations are corrected. Chronic or serious HQS violations may result in the termination, suspension or reduction of Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) or the termination of the HAP contract. The owner is not responsible for tenant-caused breaches of HQS. If a tenant fails to correct an HQS violation, they risk losing their subsidy.
Property Owner HQS Responsibilities
Landlords can prevent failed inspections by providing access to all public areas of the building on the inspection date. Any failures in the public areas – including no access to the basement or boiler room – will result in a failure and/or violation and cause any apartment inspected on or after that day to fail the HQS Inspection until the failure and/or violation is validly certified or closed. Landlords may correct HQS deficiencies in advance of inspection:
Owners of buildings with federally assisted units are required to follow specific correction and reporting procedures if a lead-based paint hazard is detected in the building. This may occur as the result of an HQS inspection, or following an Elevated Blood Lead Level (EBLL) result of five micrograms or more per deciliter in a child under six years old who lives in an assisted unit. For more information on owner responsibilities related to lead hazards, see Owners’ Responsibilities and Reporting Requirements Related to Lead-based Paint Hazards in Federally Assisted Units.
Property Owner Responsibilities for Failures or Violations
Timelines for clearing up HQS Failures and/or violations of the HMC/MDL have remained distinct. In order to satisfy both HQS and HMC/MDL requirements, the condition must be corrected by the earliest correction date appearing on the notice and certified as corrected by the earliest certification date appearing on the notice. Please note that within a package of violations, different violations may have different HMC/MDL dates for correction. All HQS Failures will have the same date.
Owners will receive notice of HMC/MDL violations and HQS Failures in one package for each apartment and one package for any public area violations or failures. All Notices of Violation(s)/HQS Failure(s) that result from the inspection will be sent to the managing agent indicated on the most recent valid HPD Property Registration; please make sure that your Property Registration is current. If your registration is not current, you may not receive your notice. It is your responsibility to be validly registered under NYC law. Owners can register or confirm the same by using HPD's Property Registration Online System (PROS), calling 212-863-7300, or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Owners should ensure that the managing agent is aware that he/she should act immediately upon receipt of a notice. You may also include an e-mail address on your HPD Property Registration. HPD will send a preliminary notification e-mail when a Violation/HQS Failure that results from the inspection is issued.
Appointment notices and abatement notices will be sent to the contact address listed on the Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract.
Paper Certification: Submit a notarized paper certification document using the form on the backside of the AGENCY Copy of each notice. Only an Owner, Managing Agent, Officer of the Corporation that owns the property or party otherwise responsible for the property listed on a valid Property Registration filed with the Department may certify the correction of an HMC violation.
eCertification: Certify the correction of a Notice of Violation/HQS Failure online using HPD's eCertification application. This service eliminates the need for the notarization and mailing of each certification of a Notice of Violation/HQS Failure, allows owners to certify multiple violations at one time, and reduces processing time. All failures will remain accessible through eCertification until they are certified as corrected; HMC violations will only remain accessible until the certification date.
Please be advised that false certification is a crime and may result in a penalty. Section 8 HAP will be retroactively suspended to the 1st of the month following the original certification due date of the failure item. Once the HAP is suspended due to a false certification, you will no longer be able to certify the correction of that failure and/or violation. HAP will be suspended until a re-inspection is requested and an inspector confirms the repairs have been made.
Questions about appointments and correction time periods should be directed to Code Enforcement at HQS@hpd.nyc.gov, 718-802-3579.
Certification questions should be directed to the Code Enforcement Borough Offices.
Questions about Section 8 HAP abatements, HAP re-instatements and requests for new inspections should be directed to the HQS Unit at 917-286-4300. As of January 2019, owners and property owners may view inspection notices and inspection failure details through the DTR Owner Portal.