Industry Standard Repair Rule Change to REAC
Good and Workmanlike Repairs
HUD REAC released a notice on their website this week (July 5, 2016) entitled “Non-Industry Standard Repairs“, which indicates a new standard that details that all repairs made to properties must be “made in a good and workmanlike manner with materials that are suitable for the purpose and free from defects”. This new standard outlines a series of specific items and deficiencies that will be determined to be “good and workmanlike”.
Before we detail these new changes, it should be noted that this is a significant departure from previous interpretations of the UPCS (Uniform Physical Condition Standards), which typically focused on the existence of a qualifying condition instead of evaluating for the manner of repair or design.
This new standard outlines the following standards to all items in the inspection item list:
(a) Ensure that all components, as repaired, perform its intended purpose and function; and
(b) That all repairs are finished in a manner reasonably compatible in design and quality with the original and adjoining decorative materials
“Each repair shall be made in accordance with the industry standard for that particular inspectable item (e.g. hole in the drywall be repaired using the same or equivalent materials, have the same texture, and shall have a minimal deviation from and/or have an indistinguishable difference from the original appearance.”
Inspectors are now instructed to record a deficiency for any sub-standard repair observed based on the size of the area affected and/or the item inspected.
REAC Provides a “Partial List” of inspectable items that are frequent “incorrectly” repaired:
- Using a piece of plywood to cover a hole in drywall
- Filling cracks in a brick wall with caulking instead of tuck-pointing with mortar
- Drywall Repair – covering the damaged area with laminate, plywood, instead of filling the damaged area with drywall plaster, tape, and sanding and painting to finish
- Door Repairs – repairing doors with plaster or plywood on wood/wood veneer doors
- Downspout Gutters – using a different material, such as PVC on aluminum pipes, instead of correcting with materials that are similar to the materials in place
- Erosion – Covering affected areas with hay, straw, or other materials instead of repairing the eroded areas with soil, gravel, or other approved fillers
- Electrical Panels – Using caulking or expandable foam to fill in gaps or cracks instead of correcting the panel cover
- Refrigerator Gaskets – Repairs using tape, adhesive, or other materials is not acceptable and any such repairs will be cited as a deficiency
- Window Locks – windows can no longer be secured with a post or stick in lieu of a manufactured or aftermarket lock
Repairs Beyond The Minimum Standards
HUD REAC goes on to say that this is a response to the industry embracing the minimum standards of the inspection code instead of using the inspection code standards as a way to ensure that all repairs are done to appropriate industry standards. The objective nature of the UPCS inspection code had the drawback of allowing these repairs, as the standards were defined, precise, and avoided subjective determinations. Inspectors will now be required to determine if there is (a) a deficiency that meets the specific objective deficiency code, and/or (b) a repair was made to the area that was not done according to “industry standard” for each and every component.
Appealing Non-Industry Citations
The notice goes on to detail that property owners/managers will still have the ability to file an appeal after an inspection if they feel that their repairs had been done to the industry standard and they had been incorrectly cited for a deficiency. However, supporting documentation will need to state how the repairs met industry standards and must be justified by a licensed expert in the subject matter.
This notice provided to REAC inspectors creates a difficult standard that will likely be interpreted differently by each REAC Inspector. Preparation for REAC Inspection will invariably become more difficult and likely in many cases – more costly for many.
We recommend that all properties start to look at REAC Compliance as an annual or even semi-annual event, even if you are fortunate enough to receive a score that affords you multiple years between inspections. With these new exacting standards, ongoing maintenance and the qualify of repairs will need to be a major concern for everyone.
As always, we recommend working with one of our professional consultants who will help you navigate the process and get the best possible result.