Does Your Home Pass Section 8 Housing Quality Standards?

The first question you might have is “What even is the Section 8 Housing Quality Standards?” The Section 8 program was created so that lower income individuals would have access to quality housing. Essentially, before a tenant can move in, an inspection is performed on the unit by a local Public Housing Authority to make sure it’s up to their standards. Here are the thirteen performance requirements that make up the Housing Quality Standards (with examples) that Section 8 inspectors will look for.

Sanitary Facilities

For instance, an example of sanitary facilities could be that:

  • The bathroom must be located in a private room within the residence.
  • The bathroom must contain a flushing toilet, a shower or tub and a sink.
  • The shower or tub and the sink must have functioning hot and cold water.

Food Preparation and Refuse Disposal

Examples of food preparation and refuse disposal include:

  • The unit must have an oven and a stove or a range. A microwave oven can be substituted.
  • The unit must have a kitchen sink with hot and cold water and a proper sink trap.

Space and Security

Sample criteria of the space and security requirement is:

  • The unit must have a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom.
  • Any doors or windows that are accessible from the outside must be able to be locked.

Thermal Environment

Requirements of having a thermal environment are:

  • The heating system must safely provide heat to each room.
  • The cooling system must safely cool each room.

Illumination and Electricity

Some criteria of illumination and electricity include:

  • The living room and each bedroom must have at least one window.
  • The kitchen must have at least one working outlet.
  • The living room and each bedroom must have at least two working outlets.

Structure and Materials

Examples of meeting the structure and materials requirement include:

  • All ceilings, walls and floors must not show any signs of bulging, buckling and must not contain large holes.
  • The roof must be structurally sound.
  • Handrails are required when there are four or more steps.

Interior Air Quality

Meeting the interior air quality requirement would mean that:

  • Bathrooms have a window that can be opened or have other adequate ventilation.
  • The unit is free from dangerous pollutants.

Water Supply

Sample criteria of the water supply requirement is:

  • The water supply must be free from contamination.
  • Plumbing pipes and fixtures must be free from leaks.

Lead-Based Paint

Some criteria of lead-based paint include:

  • Units constructed before 1978 must be free from lead-based paint hazards.
  • There must be no chipping, cracking or peeling paint or other hazards.


Meeting the access requirement would mean that:

  • There are two ways to exit the unit (a fire escape is considered an alternate means of exit).
  • The fire escape or other emergency exit is not blocked.

Site and Neighbourhood

To pass the site and neighbourhood requirement, there must not be:

  • Excessive noise or trash accumulation in the neighbourhood.
  • An abnormal amount of air pollution.

Sanitary Conditions

To meet the sanitary conditions requirement there must not be:

  • A rodent or vermin infestation.

Smoke Detectors

Some sample criteria of the smoke detectors requirement include:

  • There must be at least one working smoke detector on each level of the unit, including the basement. Local codes may have stricter requirements, such as placing a smoke detector outside of each bedroom.
  • All smoke detectors must be operational.

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