oversight

The Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority, Steubenville, OH, Did Not Adequately Enforce HUD's Housing Quality Standards and Its Own Requirements

Published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General on 2015-09-24.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

         Jefferson Metropolitan Housing
                   Authority,
                Steubenville, OH
     Housing Choice Voucher Program Housing Quality
                       Standards




Office of Audit, Region 5     Audit Report Number: 2015-CH-1007
Chicago, IL                                   September 24, 2015
To:            Kevin J. Laviano, Director of Public and Indian Housing Hub, 5DPH


               //signed//
From:           Kelly Anderson, Regional Inspector General for Audit, Chicago Region, 5AGA
Subject:       The Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority, Steubenville, OH, Did Not
               Adequately Enforce HUD’s Housing Quality Standards and Its Own
               Requirements


Attached is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Inspector
General’s (OIG) final results of our review of the Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority’s
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program housing quality standards.
HUD Handbook 2000.06, REV-4, sets specific timeframes for management decisions on
recommended corrective actions. For each recommendation without a management decision,
please respond and provide status reports in accordance with the HUD Handbook. Please furnish
us copies of any correspondence or directives issued because of the audit.
The Inspector General Act, Title 5 United States Code, section 8M, requires that OIG post its
publicly available reports on the OIG Web site. Accordingly, this report will be posted at
http://www.hudoig.gov.
If you have any questions or comments about this report, please do not hesitate to call me at
(312) 353-7832.
                    Audit Report Number: 2015-CH-1007
                    Date: September 24, 2015

                    The Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority, Steubenville, OH, Did Not
                    Adequately Enforce HUD’s Housing Quality Standards and Its Own
                    Requirements



Highlights

What We Audited and Why
We audited the Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher
program housing quality standards based on a request from the U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development (HUD) and the activities included in our 2015 annual audit plan. Our audit
objective was to determine whether the Authority conducted thorough housing quality standards
inspections of its program units in accordance with HUD’s and its own requirements. This is the
second of two audits on the Authority’s program.

What We Found
The Authority did not adequately enforce HUD’s housing quality standards and its own
requirements. Specifically, it failed to ensure that 44 program units, including 38 that materially
failed, complied with HUD’s housing quality standards and its program administrative plan. As
a result, the Authority’s households were subjected to health- and safety-related violations, and
the Authority did not properly use its program funds.

What We Recommend
We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Cleveland Office of Public and Indian Housing
require the Authority to (1) certify that the applicable housing quality standards violations have
been corrected for the 44 units cited, (2) reimburse its program more than $38,000 from non-
Federal funds for the 38 units that materially failed to meet HUD’s and its own requirements,
and (3) implement adequate procedures and controls to ensure that all units meet HUD’s housing
quality standards and its own requirements to prevent more than $1.9 million in program funds
from being spent on units that do not comply with HUD’s requirements over the next year.
Table of Contents
Background and Objective......................................................................................3

Results of Audit ........................................................................................................4
         Finding: The Authority Did Not Always Ensure That Program Units Complied
         With HUD’s Housing Quality Standards and Its Own Requirements ........................ 4

Scope and Methodology .........................................................................................14

Internal Controls ....................................................................................................16

Appendixes ..............................................................................................................17
         A. Schedule of Questioned Costs and Funds To Be Put to Better Use ...................... 17

         B. OIG Housing Quality Standards Inspection Results ............................................. 18

         C. Auditee Comments and OIG’s Evaluation ............................................................. 20

         D. Federal and Authority Requirements ..................................................................... 24




                                                            2
Background and Objective
The Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority is a public housing agency created in 1958 by the
State of Ohio to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing for low-income households. The
Authority is governed by a five-member board of commissioners appointed by elected officials.
The board’s responsibilities include performing duties and functions as required by the
Authority’s bylaws or its rules and regulations. The executive director has supervision over the
administration of the Authority and management over the housing projects of the Authority.

The Authority administers the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program funded by the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The program provides assistance to low-
and moderate-income individuals seeking decent, safe, and sanitary housing by subsidizing rents
with owners of existing private housing. As of August 15, 2015, the Authority had 818 units
under contract and was authorized to receive more than $2.2 million in program funds for the
fiscal year.

The goal of the Housing Choice Voucher program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary
housing at an affordable cost to low-income families. To accomplish this goal, program
regulations set forth basic housing quality standards, which all units must meet before assistance
can be paid on behalf of a family and at least annually throughout the term of the assisted
tenancy. Housing quality standards define “standard housing” and establish the minimum
criteria necessary for the health and safety of program participants.

HUD’s regulations at 24 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 982.401 require that all program
housing meet housing quality standards performance requirements, both at commencement of the
assisted occupancy and throughout the assisted tenancy.

Our audit objective was to determine whether the Authority conducted thorough housing quality
standards inspections of its program units in accordance with HUD’s and its own requirements.




                                                 3
Results of Audit

Finding: The Authority Did Not Always Ensure That Program
Units Complied With HUD’s Housing Quality Standards and Its
Own Requirements
The Authority did not always ensure that program units complied with HUD’s housing quality
standards and its own requirements. Of the 55 program units statistically selected for inspection,
44 did not meet minimum housing quality standards, and 38 had 1 or more exigent health and
safety violations that predated the Authority’s previous inspections, 5 or more health and safety
violations that predated the Authority’s previous inspections, or a combination of both. The
violations occurred because the Authority lacked adequate procedures and controls to ensure that
its program units complied with HUD’s housing quality standards and its own requirements. It
also failed to exercise proper supervision and oversight of its program inspections. As a result,
nearly $35,000 in program funds was spent on units that were not decent, safe, and sanitary.
Based on our statistical sample, we estimate that over the next year, the Authority will pay more
than $1.9 million in housing assistance for units with material housing quality standards
violations.
The Authority Passed Housing Units That Did Not Comply With HUD’s Housing Quality
Standards or Its Own Requirements
From the 150 program units that passed the Authority’s inspections from February 1 through
April 30, 2015, we statistically selected1 55 units for inspection. The 55 units were inspected to
determine whether the Authority ensured that its program units complied with HUD’s housing
quality standards and the requirements in its program administrative plan. We inspected the 55
units from June 15 through June 26, 2015.
Of the 55 units inspected, 44 (80 percent) had 573 housing quality standards violations, of which
561 violations predated the Authority’s previous inspections. Of these, 38 units containing 559
violations were considered to be in material noncompliance since they had 1 or more exigent
health and safety violations that predated the Authority’s previous inspections, 5 or more health
and safety violations that predated the Authority’s previous inspections, or a combination of
both. The Authority disbursed $34,948 in program housing assistance payments for the 38 units
that materially failed to meet HUD’s housing quality standards and received $3,574 in program
administration fees. The following table categorizes the 573 violations in the 44 units.




1
    Our methodology for the statistical sample is explained in the Scope and Methodology section of this audit report.



                                                            4
                                                                  Number of
                                Category of violations                            Number of units
                                                                  violations
                        Electrical                                   173                  39
                        Window                                       64                   24
                        Other interior                               42                   21
                        Smoke detector                               35                   25
                        Floor                                        34                   21
                        Interior stair or railing                    27                   18
                        Stair, rail, or porch                        21                   21
                        Wall                                         19                   12
                        Security                                     19                   16
                        Foundation                                   18                   18
                        Exterior surface                             14                   12
                        Ceiling                                      11                   9
                        Toilet                                       11                   10
                        Sink                                         10                   9
                        Heating equipment                            10                   10
                        Ventilation                                   9                   8
                        Range or refrigerator                         8                   8
                        Lead-based paint                              7                   3
                        Interior air quality                          7                   7
                        Tub or shower                                 6                   6
                        Roof or gutter                                6                   6
                        Fire exits                                    6                   6
                        Site or neighborhood                          5                   5
                        Water heater                                  4                   4
                        Plumbing, sewer, or water supply              3                   3
                        Evidence of infestation                       3                   3
                        Lead paint: exterior                          1                   1
                                         Total                       573



We provided our inspection results2 to the Director of HUD’s Cleveland Office of Public and
Indian Housing and the Authority’s acting executive director on August 24, 2015.




2
    See appendix B for a detailed list of our housing quality standards inspection results.



                                                              5
The Inspected Units Had 173 Electrical Violations
One hundred and seventy-three electrical violations were found in 39 of the 55 units inspected.
The following items are examples of electrical violations listed in the table: open ground outlets;
unsecured power disconnect box, exposing electrical contacts; live wires with exposed contacts
protruding through a hole in the wall; broken outlet and missing cover plate; ceiling lamp with
exposed contacts; outlets with reversed poles; outlet missing an outlet box and protruding from
the wall; nonworking ground-fault circuit interrupter outlets; terminated wiring outside of
junction box; and wire entering electrical panel without the use of a wire connector.
The Inspected Units Had 64 Window Violations
Sixty-four window violations were found in 24 of the 55 units inspected. The following items
are examples of window violations listed in the table: broken glass pane and glass shard on
window sill; window painted shut; window with mold growing on it and large gap between the
window and the wall; window not staying up when opened; deteriorated window sill and sash,
causing gaps and allowing air infiltration; window with nonworking locks; and window missing
glass panes and covered with plywood.
The Inspected Units Had 42 Other Interior Violations
Forty-two other interior violations were found in 21 of the 55 units inspected. The following
items are examples of other interior violations listed in the table: missing bedroom doorknob
and latch; hole in the front exterior door; gaps around exterior door, allowing air infiltration;
bedroom door with loose hinges and a hole on the surface; bedroom door damaged near the
doorknob, posing a splinter hazard; no walls or other enclosure surrounding the bathroom in the
basement; screws protruding from the doorknob; two screws sticking out of the doorframe,
acting as a strike plate; and sliding exterior door falling off its tracks.
The following photographs illustrate examples of the violations noted during housing quality
standards inspections of the 38 units that materially failed to meet HUD’s housing quality
standards and the requirements in the Authority’s administrative plan.

Unit #32: Deteriorated
front entrance stoop




                                                 6
Unit #32: Clogged
lavatory drain in only
bathroom in house; had
not been used since
February 2015




Unit #10: Exposed live
wires protruding
through a wall




                         7
Unit #30: Sliding
window with a gap
when closed




Unit #6: Deteriorated
retaining wall




                        8
Unit #12: Bedroom
window with cracks and
holes filled with foam




Unit #23: Sewage
around floor drain




                         9
Unit #22: Basement
steps with no handrail




Unit #21: Unsecured
power disconnect
boxes, exposing
electrical contacts




                         10
Unit #4: Blisters,
cracks, and mold on
entry hallway wall




Unit #17: Leaking
basement window with
the glass pane held in
place by duct tape




The Authority Lacked Adequate Procedures and Controls
The Authority did not adequately enforce HUD’s housing quality standards and the requirements
in its program administrative plan. The weaknesses described above occurred because the
Authority lacked adequate procedures and controls to ensure that its program units met HUD’s
and its own requirements. It also failed to exercise proper supervision and oversight of its
program and inspections. Twenty-four of the inspections selected for review were reinspections
of previously failed units inspected by the Authority. Of the 24 reinspections, 12 units (50


                                               11
percent) had the same deficiencies as in the Authority’s initial inspection. According to the
Authority’s inspector, he physically reinspected the failed items to ensure that the deficiencies
had been corrected and passed the 12 units. However, the deficiencies had not been corrected.
The former acting executive director said that the errors occurred because the inspector had not
received housing quality standards training. This fact was confirmed by the inspector, who said
that although he requested training, he had received no training before performing housing
quality standards inspections for the Authority. The inspector said that he received 1 week of
on-the-job training, which included observing the Authority’s contracted inspectors. However,
this training occurred approximately 6 months after the Authority’s inspector had begun
performing housing quality standards inspections. The current acting executive director said
that he was developing a training plan for the Authority’s inspector. As of July 2015, the
Authority had hired a contractor to conduct its program housing quality standards unit
inspections.
Conclusion
The weaknesses described above occurred because the Authority lacked adequate procedures and
controls to ensure that its program units complied with HUD’s and its own requirements. As a
result, the Authority’s households were subjected to health- and safety-related violations, and the
Authority did not properly use its program funds when it failed to ensure that the units complied
with HUD’s housing quality standards and its own requirements. The Authority disbursed
$34,948 in program housing assistance payments for the 38 units that materially failed to meet
HUD’s housing quality standards and received $3,574 in program administration fees.
In accordance with 24 CFR 982.152(d), HUD is permitted to reduce or offset any program
administrative fees paid to a public housing agency if it fails to enforce HUD’s housing quality
standards.
If the Authority implements adequate procedures and controls for its unit inspections to ensure
compliance with HUD’s housing quality standards and its own requirements, we estimate that
HUD will avoid spending more than $1.9 million in housing assistance payments on units that
are not decent, safe, and sanitary over the next year.
Recommendations
We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Cleveland Office of Public and Indian Housing
require the Authority to
        1A.     Certify, along with the owners, that the applicable housing quality standards
                violations have been corrected for the 44 units cited in this finding.

        1B.     Reimburse its program $38,522 from non-Federal funds ($34,948 for program
                housing assistance + $3,574 in associated administrative fees) for the 38 units
                that materially failed to meet HUD’s housing quality standards and its own
                requirements.

        1C.     Implement adequate procedures and controls to ensure that all units meet HUD’s
                housing quality standards and its own requirements to prevent $1,946,865 in


                                                 12
program funds from being spent on units that do not comply with HUD’s
requirements over the next year. The procedures should include but not be
limited to ensuring that inspectors are properly trained and familiar with HUD’s
and its own requirements and that they consistently conduct accurate and
complete inspections and reinspections.




                                13
Scope and Methodology
We performed our onsite audit work between May and July 2015 at the Authority’s main office
located at 815 North 6th Avenue, Steubenville, OH. The audit covered the period January 1
through April 30, 2015, but was expanded as determined necessary.

To accomplish our audit objective, we interviewed HUD program staff and the Authority’s
employees. In addition, we obtained and reviewed the following:
       Applicable laws, HUD’s regulations at 24 CFR Part 982, Office of Public and Indian
        Housing notices, HUD’s Guidebook 7420.10G, and HUD’s Housing Inspection Manual.

       The Authority’s program administrative plan, created November 2012; accounting
        records; policies and procedures; board meeting minutes for February 2015 through
        April 2015; households’ inspection reports; and housing assistance payment register.

We statistically selected a stratified random sample of 55 of the Authority’s program units to
inspect from the 150 units that passed the Authority’s inspections from February 1 through April
30, 2015. The 55 units were inspected to determine whether the Authority ensured that its
program units complied with HUD’s housing quality standards and the requirements in its
program administrative plan. After our inspections, we determined whether each unit passed,
failed, or materially failed. Materially failed units were those that had one or more exigent
health and safety violations that predated the Authority’s previous inspections, five or more
health and safety violations that predated the Authority’s previous inspections, or a combination
of both. Also, for each unit we considered the severity of the violations, and we may have
categorized an inspection, which according to the stated standards, would have resulted in the
inspection’s being categorized as a material failure, as failed. All units were ranked, and we
used our materiality standards and auditors’ judgement to determine the material cutoff point.
Based on our review of the 55 statistically selected units, we found that 38 of the units had
material failures in housing quality standards or the requirements in the Authority’s
administrative plan, although they had recently passed the Authority’s inspection. Using a
confidence interval of 95 percent, we projected that at least 59 percent of the 150 units that
passed the Authority’s inspection during our audit scope had material violations. Extending this
rate to the 608 active units on the Authority’s program, we can say that at least 358 units would
not have complied with housing quality standards or the requirements in the Authority’s
administrative plan, despite having passed the Authority’s inspection.
Based on the average housing assistance paid for the 55 properties, less a deduction to account
for a statistical margin of error, we can say with a confidence interval of 95 percent that the




                                                14
amount of monthly housing assistance spent on inadequate units was $2673 per unit. Extending
this amount to the 608 active units on the Authority’s program yields at least $162,238 in
monthly housing assistance payments made for inadequate units. This amounts to more than
$1.9 million in housing assistance paid per year for substandard units.

The calculation of administrative fees was based on HUD’s administrative fee per household
month for the Authority. The fees were considered inappropriately received for each month in
which the housing assistance was incorrectly paid for units that did not meet HUD’s minimum
housing quality standards and the Authority’s own requirements. If the questioned period was
less than a full month, we limited the administrative fee to a daily rate, based on the number of
days during which the unit did not comply with HUD’s requirements.

We relied in part on data maintained by the Authority. Although we did not perform a detailed
assessment of the reliability of the data, we performed a minimal level of testing and found the
data to be adequately reliable for our purposes. We provided our review results and supporting
schedules to the Director of HUD’s Cleveland Office of Public and Indian Housing and the
Authority’s acting executive director during the audit.
We conducted the audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate
evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit
objective(s). We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings
and conclusions based on our audit objective.




3
    This amount was rounded for reporting purposes.



                                                      15
Internal Controls
Internal control is a process adopted by those charged with governance and management,
designed to provide reasonable assurance about the achievement of the organization’s mission,
goals, and objectives with regard to

   Effectiveness and efficiency of operations,
   Reliability of financial reporting, and
   Compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
Internal controls comprise the plans, policies, methods, and procedures used to meet the
organization’s mission, goals, and objectives. Internal controls include the processes and
procedures for planning, organizing, directing, and controlling program operations as well as the
systems for measuring, reporting, and monitoring program performance.
Relevant Internal Controls
We determined that the following internal controls were relevant to our audit objective:

   Effectiveness and efficiency of operations – Policies and procedures that management has
    implemented to reasonably ensure that a program meets its objectives.
   Reliability of financial reporting – Policies and procedures that management has
    implemented to reasonably ensure that valid and reliable data are obtained, maintained, and
    fairly disclosed in reports.
   Compliance with applicable laws and regulations – Policies and procedures that management
    has implemented to reasonably ensure that resource use is consistent with laws and
    regulations.
We assessed the relevant controls identified above.
A deficiency in internal control exists when the design or operation of a control does not allow
management or employees, in the normal course of performing their assigned functions, the
reasonable opportunity to prevent, detect, or correct (1) impairments to effectiveness or
efficiency of operations, (2) misstatements in financial or performance information, or (3)
violations of laws and regulations on a timely basis.
Significant Deficiency
Based on our review, we believe that the following item is a significant deficiency:

   The Authority lacked adequate procedures and controls to ensure that its program units
    complied with HUD’s minimum housing quality standards and its own requirements (see
    finding).




                                                  16
Appendixes

Appendix A


            Schedule of Questioned Costs and Funds To Be Put to Better Use
                Recommendation                                Funds to be put
                    number                Ineligible 1/       to better use 2/
                      1B                  $38,522

                         1C                                    $1,946,865
                       Total              $38,522              $1,946,865




1/   Ineligible costs are costs charged to a HUD-financed or HUD-insured program or activity
     that the auditor believes are not allowable by law; contract; or Federal, State, or local
     policies or regulations.
2/   Recommendations that funds be put to better use are estimates of amounts that could be
     used more efficiently if an Office of Inspector General (OIG) recommendation is
     implemented. These amounts include reductions in outlays, deobligation of funds,
     withdrawal of interest, costs not incurred by implementing recommended improvements,
     avoidance of unnecessary expenditures noted in preaward reviews, and any other savings
     that are specifically identified. In this instance, if the Authority implements our
     recommendations, it will stop incurring program costs for units that are not decent, safe,
     and sanitary and, instead, will spend those funds in accordance with HUD’s requirements
     and the Authority’s program administrative plan. Once the Authority improves its
     controls, this will be a recurring benefit. Our estimate reflects only the initial year of this
     benefit.




                                                17
     Appendix B
                             OIG Housing Quality Standards Inspection Results



                 Total number       Total        Total          Total        Total number of
                  of units that   number of    number of    violations for   housing quality   Total number of
Identification     materially     units that   units that     materially        standards        preexisting
   number             failed        failed      passed       failed units       violations        violations
      1                 x                                         35                35                35
      2                x                                         33                33                33
      3                x                                         26                26                26
      4                x                                         26                26                25
      5                x                                         24                24                24
      6                x                                         23                23                23
      7                x                                         21                21                21
      8                x                                         20                20                19
      9                x                                         18                18                18
     10                x                                         17                17                16
     11                x                                         16                16                13
     12                x                                         16                16                16
     13                x                                         16                16                16
     14                x                                         16                16                16
     15                x                                         16                16                16
     16                x                                         15                15                15
     17                x                                         15                15                14
     18                x                                         15                15                13
     19                x                                         14                14                14
     20                x                                         13                13                13
     21                x                                         13                13                13
     22                x                                         12                12                12
     23                x                                         12                12                12
     24                x                                         12                12                12
     25                x                                         11                11                11
     26                x                                         10                10                10
     27                x                                         10                10                10
     28                x                                          9                9                 9
     29                x                                          9                9                 9




                                                      18
                     OIG Housing Quality Standards Inspection Results (concluded)



                 Total number       Total        Total          Total        Total number of
                  of units that   number of    number of    violations for   housing quality   Total number of
Identification     materially     units that   units that     materially        standards        preexisting
   number             failed        failed      passed       failed units       violations        violations
     30                 x                                          9                9                  9
     31                x                                          8                8                 8
     32                x                                          8                8                 8
     33                x                                          8                8                 8
     34                x                                          8                8                 8
     35                x                                          7                7                 7
     36                x                                          7                7                 6
     37                x                                          6                6                 6
     38                               x                                            5                 5
     39                x                                          5                5                 5
     40                               x                                            3                 3
     41                               x                                            2                 1
     42                               x                                            2                 1
     43                               x                                            1                 1
     44                               x                                            1                 1
     45                                            x                               0                 0
     46                                            x                               0                 0
     47                                            x                               0                 0
     48                                            x                               0                 0
     49                                            x                               0                 0
     50                                            x                               0                 0
     51                                            x                               0                 0
     52                                            x                               0                 0
     53                                            x                               0                 0
     54                                            x                               0                 0
     55                                            x                               0                 0
   Totals             38              6           11             559              573               561




                                                       19
Appendix C
             Auditee Comments and OIG’s Evaluation



Ref to OIG    Auditee Comments
Evaluation




Comment 1




                               20
             Auditee Comments and OIG’s Evaluation




Ref to OIG    Auditee Comments
Evaluation




Comment 2




                               21
             Auditee Comments and OIG’s Evaluation




Ref to OIG    Auditee Comments
Evaluation




Comment 3




                               22
                         OIG Evaluation of Auditee Comments


Comment 1   We commend the Authority for taking steps such as hiring a contractor to conduct
            inspections, creating internal processes to increase efficiency and quality of its
            inspections, employing an interim executive director, recruiting inspection staff,
            and developing a training plan for the new inspectors and its program staff to
            improve its to improve its performance. These actions, if fully implemented,
            should strengthen its housing quality standards inspection policies and
            procedures.
Comment 2   We commend the Authority for correcting 100 percent of the 24 hour exigent
            health and safety violations and have received the Authority’s documentation
            during the audit. The Authority stated that it is in process of reinspecting its
            entire portfolio and is conducting landlord outreach and educations, and has
            updated its briefing materials to include HUD’s housing quality standards and a
            listing of common items that do not meet HUD’s standards. The Authority should
            continue to work with HUD to ensure these measures are sufficient and
            appropriately implemented.
Comment 3   We commend the Authority for (1) revising its internal policies and procedures,
            (2) developing a tracking system for its inspections, (3) scheduling its staff for
            training and certification in HUD’s housing quality standards, and (4) keeping its
            staff updated through meetings, memos, and by creating standard operating
            procedures. The Authority should continue to work with HUD to ensure these
            measures are sufficient and appropriately implemented.




                                             23
Appendix D
                             Federal and Authority Requirements

Regulations at 24 CFR 982.401 require that all Section 8 program housing meet the housing
quality standards performance requirements both at commencement of assisted occupancy and
throughout the tenancy.

Regulations at 24 CFR 982.404(a)(1) state that the owner must maintain the unit in accordance
with housing quality standards. (2) If the owner fails to maintain the dwelling unit in accordance
with housing quality standards, the public housing authority must take prompt and vigorous
action to enforce the owner’s obligations. Public housing authority remedies for such a breach of
the housing quality standards include termination, suspension or reduction of housing assistance
payments, and termination of the housing assistance payments contract. (3) The public housing
authority must not make housing assistance payments for a dwelling unit that fails to meet the
housing quality standards, unless the owner corrects the defect within the period specified by the
public housing authority and the public housing authority verifies the correction. If a defect is
life threatening, the owner must correct the defect within no more than 24 hours. For other
defects, the owner must correct the defect within no more than 30 calendar days (or any public
housing authority-approved extension). (4) The owner is not responsible for a breach of the
housing quality standards that is not caused by the owner and for which the family is responsible.
(However, the public housing authority may terminate assistance to a family because of a
housing quality standards breach caused by the family.)

Regulations at 24 CFR 982.404(b)(1) state that the family is responsible for a breach of the
housing quality standards that is caused by any of the following: (ii) the family fails to provide
and maintain any appliances that the owner is not required to provide but which are to be
provided by the tenant, or (iii) any member of the household or guest damages the dwelling unit
or premises (damages beyond ordinary wear and tear). (2) If a housing quality standards breach
caused by the family is life threatening, the family must correct the defect within no more than
30 calendar days (or any public housing authority-approved extension). (3) If the family has
caused a breach of the housing quality standards, the public housing authority must take prompt
and vigorous action to enforce the family obligations. The public housing authority may
terminate assistance for the family in accordance with section 982.552.

The Authority’s administrative plan, chapter VII, section J, states that the following are
considered to be life-threatening violations:
       (1)   Exposed electrical wiring,
       (2)   Gas leak,
       (3)   Carbon monoxide,
       (4)   Inoperable or missing smoke detectors,
       (5)   Inoperable or missing locks on exterior doors,
       (6)   Inoperable or missing locks on windows reachable from the ground, and
       (7)   Any facilities not being maintained (electric, water, etc.).



                                                 24