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New Federal Standards

Starting October 1, 2023, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will implement a new inspection protocol for rental housing assisted by the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.

The standards are called the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE). This ensures that the same standards apply to all inspections for housing that received any type of HUD funding.

Some failed inspection items that previously were required to be fixed within 30 days will now require a 24-hour correction. This includes items related to the installation of carbon monoxide and smoke/fire alarms and missing power outlets or switch plate covers, among other items.

More details are available on the flyer below.

Move-in Inspections

The San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) is required to ensure that all housing units occupied by Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance participants meet certain health and safety standards.

These “Housing Quality Standards” (HQS) are set by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD).

Before SDHC enters into a contract and issues rental assistance payments, units must pass an HQS inspection.

Step-By-Step Guide to Inspections
Housing Inspection Checklist

Pre-Inspection Requests

Landlords may request that SDHC pre-inspect the units they wish to potentially rent in the future to participants in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance program.

This pre-inspection of a rental home or apartment shortens the amount of time it takes to lease a unit through the Housing Choice Voucher program.

After a unit successfully passes the pre-inspection, landlords can indicate that the unit was “pre-inspected” in Box 1 of the Rental Assistance Program Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) form, which is provided by the renter.

In addition:

  • Pre-inspections are valid for 60 days from the date the unit passed inspection.
  • The unit must be vacant, or occupied by a tenant who has been notified that they will be receiving a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher.
  • No occupant may reside in the unit between the date the units passes the pre-inspection and when a Voucher recipient moves in.
  • All owner-provided utilities and appliances must be in place and operational at the time of the pre-inspection.

If you have a unit located in the City of San Diego that you would like to rent to a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program participant, please click on the link below to submit a Pre-Inspection Request Form. SDHC will contact you within one business day after receiving your request to schedule the pre-inspection, which can take place as soon as two business days later.


Pre-Inspection Request Form (PRF)

You may also call our Inspections Department at 619-578-7650 to request a pre-inspection.

Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspection Videos

See below videos for examples of what SDHC looks for when conducting Housing Quality Standards Inspections.

Exterior & Living Room




Heaters & Electrical Panels

Step-by-Step Guide to Inspections

Step 1: Submit the Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) Packet

The Request for Tenancy Approval (RTFA) Packet from SDHC has the information and forms required to start the move process.

You or the tenant can return the completed and signed RFTA Packet and forms along with a copy of an unexecuted lease agreement to SDHC, unless you choose to use an SDHC-approved lease agreement.

After the form is reviewed and the unit is determined ready for inspection, a request for the initial move-in inspection is forwarded to the SDHC Inspection Department.


Step 2: Schedule an Inspection

Upon receiving the RFTA, the SDHC Inspection Department will contact you to schedule the initial move-in inspection.

Make sure the phone number on the RFTA form is the best number to reach you.

If SDHC is unable to reach you, inspectors will leave a phone message asking you to call back to schedule the inspection.


Step 3: Review the SDHC Housing Inspection Checklist

The SDHC Housing Inspection Checklist provides a list of items inside and outside of the unit that will be checked during the inspection.

Step 4: Attend the Inspection

Inspections cannot be completed if no one is present at the unit to let the inspector in to the apartment, or if the appointment is canceled.

If this happens, you will need to reschedule the appointment.

Step 5: Confirm the Contract Rent

Following the inspection, if the proposed contract rent is disapproved based on the average fair market rent in the neighborhood, an SDHC staff member will inform you of the maximum approvable contract rent.

You will need to confirm if the maximum approvable contract rent is acceptable to you.

Step 6: Schedule a Re-Inspection, if Necessary

If the unit fails the initial inspection, you will need to contact the SDHC Inspection Department to schedule a re-inspection when the unit is ready.

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Pre-Inspection Request Form (PRF)

The San Diego Housing Commission uses this information to schedule pre-inspections for Housing Quality Standards. Please complete all fields. SDHC will contact the landlord within (1) one business day of the request.
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