I was having a heated discussion with our Maintenance Supervisor.
I trying not to let my frustration show.
“Why are we failing the section 8 inspections?
It seems like we are making the same mistakes over and over.”
I looked up from the letters we’d received from the housing authority.
There were four such letters that came in over the past few weeks.
Getting one of these letters is a painful reminder that we had failed.
It meant that we’d missed one or more items in the unit.
If any single item doesn’t meet HUD guidelines, the unit fails.
That means the tenant can’t move in.
That means the owner doesn’t start to collect rent yet.
In essence, no one walks away from the inspection happy.
Something Had to Change
I had to accept responsibility for those failures.
When you can accept responsibility for when things go wrong, it gives you the power to fix it and make it right.
Vacancy is just too expensive; for a $600 per month rental, every day that property is vacant costs the owner $20.
And, you make your new tenant’s life more difficult when the inspection fails.
That means means an unhappy customer right off the bat. Not good.
Our new goal was to pass every Section 8 inspection the first time, every time.
My maintenance supervisor got another cup of coffee as we begin to hash out the details.
It’s all about planning. It’s about preparation.
Figuring out how to fix this was not like picking the winning lottery number.
There is no secret about what the inspectors are looking for.
And we are mailed a notification well in advance of the inspection to us when it will occur.
Shame on us if we aren’t ready for the inspection.
Our preparation would determine whether or not we passed the inspection.
If we are organized, if we have a way of checking every detail we know they will look for, we stand a much better chance of passing the inspection on the first time.
If we don’t, we’ll keep failing inspections, over and over.
How We Pass an Oklahoma City Section 8 Inspection the First Time
We created a detailed checklist with all of the things we’ve learned from years of doing inspections.
Everything in the unit must work as it was designed to work.
If you simply go through the unit and verify that every item is working as it was designed to work, you will pass 95% of the inspection requirements.
Our checklist covered all the electrical, plumbing, heat and air, cosmetic, appliance, and other types of issues in the property.
There is that last 5% of items that are requirements specific to housing that you must also address. Here is a short but incomplete list:
- If the unit has older wood-frame windows, they must all lock and must stay open on their own accord. Windows can not be sealed shut.
- The discharge line on the hot-water tank needs to be copper, galvanized steel, or CPVC that is properly rated for temperature and pressure.
- Three-prong outlets must be grounded.
- The unit cannot have any chipped or peeling paint.
There are many others. This is just a sample of the types of things that are required for the unit to pass inspection.
We then went to work training the technicians so they would know what it takes to pass the inspection first time around.
The unit is likely to pass inspection once the technician has done the pre-inspection checklist.
They don’t always pass. Sometimes the inspector finds something we didn’t expect.
Or we run across something odd that wasn’t on the checklist. At those times, we update the checklist.
Not only that, but we took advantage of training sessions offered by the local housing authorities. They will tell you what the major stumbling blocks are. They want landlords to pass the inspection the first time, too. It helps them to be more efficient.
One other change we put in place at the suggestion of one of the inspectors was to have a maintenance technician present at the inspection. That way, if something isn’t quite right, we can make a last-minute adjustment to get the unit to pass.
Now that we have a system in place we expect the inspections to pass the first time.
It’s worked well for us. We pass more than 50% of our inspections on the first time.
Contact us to determine if we can help.
Here are 15 more guidelines that will help you pass your next Oklahoma City Section 8 inspection:
- Everything in the house must work. This is an overarching rule. For example, all windows must open and close properly. There is very long list of these sorts of things.
- All the light fixture must have light bulbs.
- Doors and windows must be adequately sealed. No daylight around doors. The windows must stay open by themselves (i.e., not require a prop to keep them open). If the windows have screens, the screens must be in good repair.
- Ventless gas heaters are not acceptable in any living spaces. If the house is heated by wall-mounted electrical heaters, you must also have baseboard heaters.
- The house cannot have chipped or pealing paint.
- All the appliances must be in the house. They must all be in working order. If the tenant is providing the appliances, they must be in the house at the time of the inspection.
- All the utilities must be turned on.
- The inspector cannot pass an inspection if she sees live roaches in the property.
- Toilets cannot be loose.
- The temperature / pressure relief valve on the hot water tank must have a pipe for water to escape if necessary. The pipe must be a material that will not degrade with heat.
- All bedrooms must have one closet, and in addition must have at least one window.
- There must not be any openings around the outside of the house in which an animal could climb under the house the house or get inside the walls.
- Water fixtures and toilets must not leak.
- Porches or steps must have handrails if they are more than 18 inches off the ground.
- You can’t have electrical receptacles that are dead. If those receptacles are three-pronged, they must be properly grounded. The field inspectors will have a tester, and they will test them all. All electrical receptacles must be secure to the wall.
Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list.
We love to manage properties that are under housing.
Want us to help you pass your next Oklahoma City Section 8 inspection? Click here to get information about our company.
If you are wondering if you should offer Section 8 to prospective tenants, this is a good resource: http://yourokcpropertymanager.com/rent-oklahoma-city-property-section-8/.