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HUD’s New National Standards for Physical Inspection of Real Estate

In 2018, HUD indicated that the HUD REAC Inspection system would undertake a wholesale re-examination. As a result, HUD developed a new concept that would change the inspection process to be more about health and safety and quality of life for residents.  This concept has resulted in the development of NSPIRE – the National Standards for Physical Inspection of Real Estate. As of 2020, NSPIRE is part of a demonstration (pilot) program, where it is being used on several thousand properties to determine its effectiveness.

What Are HUD NSPIRE Inspections?

NSPIRE changes the underlying motive behind apartment inspections. The process moves inspections from the current protocol, Uniform Physical Conditions Standards (UPCS,) to a more streamlined system focused on health and safety items. However, it is also a change to an overall process that has a focus on good routine maintenance practices, and away from a process that focused on periodic reviews. This includes:

  • Changing the Inspection Process to focus on health and safety and less on capital repair issues
  • Change report scoring to be more focused on units
  • Institute requirements for most issues to be repaired within either 24 hours or 30 days
  • Establish new self-inspection and reporting requirements which require active ongoing maintenance
  • New Inspection Procurement and Quality Assurance process which will replace the current Reverse Auction Program model.

NSPIRE is currently in a pilot demonstration program and public comment period, which will likely extend through 2020-2021.

New Requirements for REAC NSPIRE

While NPSIRE will include several new requirements for properties, such as Carbon Monoxide detectors. It also includes a reduction of certain inspection requirements, such as removal of some issues like:

  • Overgrown vegetation (unless it affects handicapped accessibility)
  • Window thermopane seals
  • Door seals
  • Other capital replacement items

NSPIRE reforms aim to change the inspection process to one that has technical requirements for inspectors, who have to use equipment such as infrared detectors to look for moisture damage, which could result in mold and mildew.

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