Interagency Physical Inspection Alignment Initiative
Nearly four million American families live in rental housing that is owned, insured, or subsidized by HUD. To ensure that these families have housing that is decent, safe, sanitary, and in good repair, HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) conducts approximately 20,000 physical inspections on properties each year. With that many inspections taking place across the country, making the process more efficient and cost-effective – not to mention less burdensome for everyone involved – is the kind of change that’s easy to embrace.
And with that, we’re pleased to welcome you to the Physical Inspection Alignment Initiative, which seeks to streamline the inspections process by reducing – and whenever possible, eliminating – redundant inspections. Fewer inspections not only saves time, but reduces costs and minimizes the inconvenience on both residents and housing service providers. On these pages, you’ll learn about the Inspection Alignment process, and see the latest updates, resources, tools, and information about the Initiative. This interagency effort began in 2011 with six participating state Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs), and is projected to grow to include 33 HFAs in 2016.
A property that receives funding from more than one federal source may be subject to multiple physical inspections. These may be based on different sets of rating criteria and inspection standards such as UPCS, local code, and USDA. Because physical inspections can be triggered by events such as property acquisition, the need for rehabilitation or repair, and changes in rental subsidy status, the amount of time spent on inspections can really add up when multiple federal funding streams are combined on a given property. Many building owners and managers view the need for multiple inspections as time-consuming and burdensome, and the government recognizes that reducing (and ideally, eliminating) potentially overlapping inspections is a great way to reduce taxpayer costs.
A Working Solution: the Alignment Initiative
The Interagency Physical Inspection Alignment Initiative is streamlining the inspection process by consolidating rating criteria and inspection standards, so that multiple agencies’ reporting criteria can be met through a single inspection. State-level teams are in the process of testing solutions that could eventually eliminate duplicative physical inspections at each multifamily property financed with multiple federal funding sources.
Being Part of the Solution
As of late 2015, 31 state housing finance agencies (HFAs) are participating in the Alignment Initiative, including California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. You can see a list the Initiative’s accomplishments so far and view a thematic map of participating states here.
By taking part in the Initiative, state HFAs can receive valuable benefits, including:
- Resource savings for state agencies and federal partners achieved by reducing the inspection workload through elimination of duplicative inspections.
- A reduced burden on owners and residents through use of a single inspection.
- Free use of Record and Process Inspection Data (RAPID) inspection software, which allows users to complete inspections to the UPCS 4.0 standard, with built-in decision-trees and quality assurance checks.
- Free training on the Uniform Physical Condition Standard (UPCS) 4.0 for those agencies wishing to understand more about the standard and how to use the RAPID software to streamline inspections. Participants will receive REAC Inspector Certification upon successful course completion.
- An opportunity to collaborate with federal agencies, including HUD, USDA, and IRS, and to strengthen professional relationships within the affordable housing community.
- An opportunity to further streamline physical inspection practices and develop common policies regarding physical inspections, thereby reducing the administrative burden.
Thanks to the steady increase in the number of state HFAs participating, the Alignment Initiative continues to grow. Supported by REAC’s enhanced capacity to identify aligned properties, the Initiative’s ultimate goal is to align all physical inspections with multiple funding streams under a single physical inspection nationwide, and to continue to build on our relationships with state HFAs to meet their physical inspection training and certification needs.
Reach Out & Learn More
Navigate through the various tabs on this page to learn about our Accomplishments thus far, find out about HFA Inspector Training, and review Additional Resources. You may also view more detailed information about our Purpose and Background, and for additional information about the Physical Inspection Alignment Initiative, please contact the REAC Alignment Initiative Director, Dina Elani, at Dina.E.Elani@hud.gov or PI.Pilot@hud.gov.