Avoid Violations During HUD Inspections with Last-Minute Site Checkup
You may think that because you take good care of your site, conduct regular inspections, and promptly fix problems, you’re prepared for your site’s upcoming HUD inspection. But it’s important to give your site a last-minute once-over to make sure you catch any problems before the inspector arrives. Some of the easiest-to-avoid inspection problems can cost you big points or get you hit with a health-and-safety “ticket,” says Paul Crosby, director of maintenance with Gene B. Glick Company, Inc. But you can keep your score up and avoid these violations by taking an hour or two the day before your scheduled HUD inspection to check for and fix a number of these easy-to-repair violations, or at least make them appear less serious, says Crosby.
We’ll tell you where to look for problems and what our experts say to look for during a last-minute inspection of your site. We’ll also give you a Model Checklist: Use Pre-Inspection Checklist for Resolving Last-Minute Problems, that you can use to make sure you avoid frustrating point losses for easy-to-repair violations.
Where to Look for Problems
HUD inspects all areas of your site, so you should walk through all areas to look for problems. Here’s where to look:
Site grounds and building exterior. Look for problems outside on your site’s grounds and the exterior of the building.
Interior common areas. Look for problems in the site’s interior areas. Depending on the size and layout of your site, you may have to check for and repair items in the following interior areas: lobby; office; community rooms; basements/closets/storage; garbage areas; laundry room; kitchens; halls/stairs; restrooms; day care facility; and other common areas.
Vacant units. HUD will inspect vacant units at your site, so look for quick-fix items in these units, says Crosby.
Occupied units. HUD will also inspect occupied units. But it may be difficult for you to inspect these units at the last minute, says Crosby. You probably won’t have enough time to give residents notice of your last-minute inspection so that they can provide access, and then inspect all the units at your site the day before the HUD inspection. Instead, try targeting a few occupied units in each building for your last-minute inspection.
What to Look For
You probably won’t have time to catch—and fix—every type of violation during a last-minute inspection, says Crosby. This isn’t the time to deal with violations that require expensive special equipment and experts to repair—you should keep on top of those problems as part of your site’s ongoing maintenance and self-inspections, he says.
So focus on the easy-to-fix violations instead. You can do most of the following tasks without any special maintenance training and for very little cost. Others may take just a few minutes of your maintenance staff’s time to fix. Here are some items you should do before an inspection to avoid losing points unnecessarily:
· Trim vegetation growing through fences or into sidings and tree branches growing too close to buildings;
· Mop up puddles in walkways, parking lots, roofs, and other parts of your site;
· Pick up litter and garbage;
· Remove or spot-paint small patches of graffiti (larger areas may require experienced contractors);
· Replace broken or burned out lightbulbs;
· Clear exit doors and windows of obstructions;
· Clear fire escapes of obstructions;
· Clear electrical panels of obstructions;
· Replace missing or broken electrical switchplates and outlet covers;
· Clear furnace/electrical rooms of storage and other obstructions;
· Adjust water heater pressure/temperature to proper levels;
· Properly align misaligned HVAC vents;
· Reset ground fault interrupters (GFIs);
· Fix leaky faucets;
· Fix running/clogged toilets;
· Unclog sinks and tubs; and
· Check for inoperable smoke detectors and replace batteries as needed.
Use Checklist to Cover All Items
Use the checklist to make sure you’ve made the repairs listed above as needed. The day before a scheduled HUD inspection, walk through the exterior and interior of your site with your maintenance supervisor. As you go through each area of the site, check off any items that now pass inspection—whether because they were taken care of before your inspection or because you just took care of them. If an item needs follow-up, red circle its checkbox. Check off the red-circled items as you either complete your own quick-fix repairs or confirm that site staff has completed them.
Our checklist is divided into two parts: one for site grounds and building exterior areas, and one for areas inside the site. You should perform the tasks listed under “Site Interior” for all applicable areas, including the lobby, office, community room, basements, closets, storage areas, garbage areas, laundry room, common area kitchens, halls and stairs, restrooms, day care, other common areas, and vacant or inspectable units. This means you may have to fix certain items in multiple areas of the site. For example, leaky faucets are a violation whether they occur in your site’s common area kitchen or in a unit kitchen. So make sure you’ve fixed any leaky faucets in that area, as well as in any unit you inspect.
Also, don’t forget to give your site a thorough cleaning to give HUD inspectors a good first impression of your site—wipe down window sills, office equipment, laundry machines, and light fixtures; mop floors; and vacuum carpeting. Even a slightly dusty site sends the message that you don’t care about your site and gives inspectors reason to look harder at your site’s overall physical condition.
Paul Crosby: Director of Maintenance, Gene B. Glick Co., Inc., PO Box 40177, 8330 Woodfield Crossing Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46240; www.glickco.com.
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