Property Inspections

The goal of the Housing Choice Voucher program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing at an affordable cost to low-income families. To accomplish this, program regulations set forth basic housing quality standards (HQS) which all units must meet before assistance can be paid on behalf of a family and at least annually throughout the term of the assisted tenancy.

HQS defines standard housing and establishes the minimum criteria necessary for the health and safety of program participants. City of Dubuque Existing Housing Code regulations provide requirements and acceptability criteria to meet each requirement.

It is the responsibility of the City of Dubuque Housing Agency to conduct inspections of units to determine compliance with HUD requirements prior to the execution of the entire term of the assisted lease. It is the responsibility of the housing provider and the tenant to maintain according to the above standards at all times.

Items Inspected

  • Sanitary facilities
  • Food preparation and refuse disposal
  • Space and security
  • Thermal environment
  • Illumination and electricity
  • Structure and materials
  • Interior air quality
  • Water supply
  • Lead-based paint
  • Access
  • Site and neighborhood
  • Sanitary condition
  • Smoke detectors
Initial, Annual, and Special Inspections
The City of Dubuque is required to conduct three types of inspections: initial, annual, and special inspections, including quality control inspections. Inspections result in pass, fail, or inconclusive reports. Any items found to be inconclusive are also considered failed items.

Pass inspections require no further action. Fail or inconclusive inspections require follow-up reinspections as verification to confirm the correction of any infractions. Depending upon the nature of the item responsibility for correction of fail or inconclusive items may be the responsibility of the owner or tenant. Failure to comply with correction notices will result in owner or tenant sanctions.

Initial Inspection
Receipt of a completed "Request for Tenancy Approval" HUD form completed by the housing provider and the Voucher holder triggers an initial inspection. Each unit must be inspected and pass inspection before payment can begin. If the unit passes prior to the 20th of the month and the tenant has possession, Housing Assistance Payments can be pro-rated. If the unit does not pass inspection until after the 20th of the month, benefits will begin the 1st of the following month.

Annual Inspection
Each unit must be inspected annually during the assisted tenancy to verify the unit is maintained according to program standards. Annual inspections must be scheduled so that all units are inspected prior to the date it was inspected the previous year-never exceeding a 12 month period. If the unit is not inspected within the 12 month period, the rent will be abated until such time the unit passes. Any deficiencies in the City of Dubuque Existing Housing Code will be noted on an inspection report that will be provided to the landlord and the tenant. All landlord and tenant responsibilities for the property must be completed in order to continue housing payments to the landlord. If repairs are not made within the time limits stated on the inspection (normally 30 days), will result in abatement of payment to the housing provider and/or termination of program assistance for tenants.

Complaint Inspection
Inspectors must investigate complaints about code violations that are registered by tenants, housing providers or the general public. Violations resulting from complaint inspections are treated in the same manner as annual inspection violations.

Quality Control Inspection
Quality control inspections are an inspection required by HUD to ensure consistency among staff in the application of the Housing Code. Units selected for a quality control inspection are selected randomly.

Move In Condition Report
All participants are provided with a move-in condition report to be completed with the landlord. This report should include comments on conditions of the unit and may prove helpful to the landlord and tenant in resolving disputes pertaining to the security deposit at the time of move-out. The landlord may offer a similar form for this purpose.

Family obligations in Regard to HQS and Housing Code
All tenants are to maintain their units according to the standards as set forth in the City of Dubuque Housing Code, lease agreement, federal regulations and HQS (Housing Quality Standards.) Any tenant found in violation may be terminated from the rental assistance program.