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What is NSPIRE?

NSPIRE – the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate – is the new physical inspection model designed to promote HUD’s goal of reducing health and safety hazards in the home. To achieve this goal, NSPIRE prioritizes the condition of dwelling units—where people live. NSPIRE aligns multiple HUD programs to a single set of inspection standards so that the same expectations of housing quality can be achieved across HUD programs.

Why is NSPIRE happening?

HUD’s analysis found that its inspection models could be improved to enable HUD to more effectively and consistently evaluate housing across programs. HUD determined that while its legacy inspection models are well-intentioned in design, neither model currently aligns with HUD’s priorities or the state of the housing industry. While a majority of properties are in compliance with HUD’s standards, NSPIRE will provide improved capabilities to detect and identify those properties that are not.

When is NSPIRE becoming effective?

For Public Housing properties, HUD will commence regular inspections after July 1, 2023, and will prioritize properties that have not been inspected since normal operations resumed in June 2021 after the pandemic.
For the Multifamily Housing programs, HUD (or the Servicing Mortgagee, as applicable) will commence inspections for participants in the NSPIRE Demonstration beginning July 1, 2023, and for all other properties starting October 1, 2023.

For the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV), Project Based Voucher (PBV) programs, and the programs managed by HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD), the NSPIRE final rule will be effective October 1, 2023.

How does NSPIRE emphasize Resident Safety?

By shifting focus of scores away from cosmetic deficiencies, prioritizing physical assets located inside of the unit that are key to resident health and safety. Likewise, higher weight will be placed on defects inside of the units – where residents spend their time, instead of the common areas and outside of the unit. Introducing easier to calculate scores to improve property self-inspections and compliance.

How does the Scoring model work?

Consistent with existing practice and with the NSPIRE proposed rule, NSPIRE retains a pass/fail indicator for the HCV and PBV programs and uses a 0–100-point scale for public housing and properties previously inspected under UPCS.

HUD will score deficiencies based on two factors: severity and location. The categories of severity are Life Threatening, Severe, Moderate, and Low. The location categories are the unit, inside, and outside. Under the NSPIRE scoring methodology, in-unit deficiencies are weighted more heavily; properties with in-unit deficiencies are more likely to fail inspections.

HUD weighs deficiencies using a Defect Severity Value. Under the Defect Severity Value methodology, the weight of the deduction for a given deficiency changes depending on both the location and the severity of the deficiency such that a LT deficiency inside a unit will lead to the largest deduction and a Low deficiency observed outside the property will lead to the smallest deduction of points.

To find more information about the tables, value of defects according to severity and location, and multipliers, refer to HUD’s Official Scoring Notice.

What is the NSPIRE Demonstration?

The NSPIRE Demonstration is a two-year process to test and evaluate NSPIRE standards, processes, and protocols in collaboration with approximately 4,500 volunteer properties. By performing inspections under the NSPIRE Model at volunteer properties, HUD will be able to test and evaluate the revised standards, the new scoring model, new technology, and new information exchange and support services.
The Demonstration allows HUD to test aspects of NSPIRE independently of existing regulations. By performing NSPIRE inspections at volunteer properties, HUD will be able to test and evaluate the revised standards, the new scoring model, and updated technologies and processes across the new model.

HUD weighs deficiencies using a Defect Severity Value. Under the Defect Severity Value methodology, the weight of the deduction for a given deficiency changes depending on both the location and the severity of the deficiency such that a LT deficiency inside a unit will lead to the largest deduction and a Low deficiency observed outside the property will lead to the smallest deduction of points.

To find more information about the tables, value of defects according to severity and location, and multipliers, refer to HUD’s Official Scoring Notice.

What remains the same under NSPIRE?

  • 40 standards remain mostly unchanged.
  • Life-threatening Health and Safety deficiencies require a 24-hour repair timeframe.
  • Continued assessment on deficiencies in Health and Safety, function and operability.

What is changing under NSPIRE?

  • Moved away from 5 distinct inspectable areas: unit, common areas, building systems, site and building exterior.
  • Removed non-Health and Safety items such as overgrown vegetation, non-security/safety fence damage, common area paint peeling, damaged trim, common area paint peeling, exterior caulking damage and scratched counter tops.
  • Changed focus away from cosmetic deficiencies, prioritizing physical assets located inside of the unit that are key to resident health and safety.

What is new under NSPIRE?

  • Consolidation of three inspectable areas: outside, inside, and unit.
  • More stringent requirements for heating, call-for-aid systems, GFCI/AFCI, electrical outlets, mold, infestation, and structural systems.
  • Enhancement to smoke alarms, CO detectors, fire doors, dryer exhaust, guardrails, and handrails.
  • Revised H&S classifications and timeframes –increased urgency to 24-hour repair for life threatening and severe non-life-threatening items, and 30-day repair for moderate deficiencies.