New Resident Engagement Initiative Added to NSPIRE Demonstration
HUD is in the process of overhauling its Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) physical inspection protocol. Last year, HUD drastically reduced the notice it would give managers of public and subsidized rental housing before REAC inspections to 14 calendar days. And HUD will eventually replace REAC inspections with a new physical inspection protocol known as the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE), which will feature new standards, protocols, and processes that will apply to HUD’s public housing, HUD-assisted, and FHA-insured multifamily sites.
HUD is launching a two-year demonstration program to test and refine the NSPIRE protocols before finalizing them. Major changes to be tested in the NSPIRE demonstration include:
- Requiring site owners and management agents to perform comprehensive annual self-inspections covering all of their units;
- Placing greater weight on health and safety deficiencies than on function and appearance; and
- Adopting a new scoring model that places the most emphasis inside the residents’ units.
As part of the NSPIRE pilot process, HUD has announced that additional processes will be added to engage residents in the REAC/NSPIRE process. HUD has decided to incorporate two new procedures into the NSPIRE demonstration. First, HUD will test for the best method for including up to five additional dwelling units, identified in advance by a resident’s group, in an inspection. Where a resident’s group isn’t available, HUD will use a risk model to select units above and beyond those selected by sample. HUD believes this will improve transparency and trust in the REAC inspection.
In addition, HUD is researching best practices in engagement through resident surveys and how to integrate survey findings into the NSPIRE demonstration. HUD says it’s committed to exploring advanced technology solutions and data collection methods that will provide an additional mechanism for resident feedback and improve the REAC inspection process.
Furthermore, REAC aims to reduce the administrative burden of participating in a resident-focused inspection survey while promoting strategies to boost survey response rates. HUD believes this new procedure will ultimately improve REAC’s responsiveness and understanding of resident concerns.