NSPIRE just another housing barrier
NSPIRE is sure to inspire you to do better to keep your charges safe and happy. NSPIRE is REAC's response to concerns that REAC was not keeping people safe. NSPIRE won't work any better to keep resident's safe than the current inspection protocol. But it will allow REAC to place more of the blame on owners/agents: Resulting in less investment in housing if subject to the onerous inspection program - a barrier to living in subsidized housing!
In response to newspaper accounts of subsidized housing residents dying of Carbon Monoxide poisoning, several agencies told REAC to get its act together and fix its inspection program. REAC, you see, wasn't checking for CO detectors. REAC's response was we weren't required to check for them; it's not in the law, it told everybody.
It's odd for a Federal level inspection program that has as its mission to keep residents safe above all else to not check for something that is job one on every inspector check list from your local home inspector, to fire inspectors, and every inspection organization. It’s inspection 101! REAC will write you up for a hole in a window screen, mismatched floor tiles, or a tree limb touching a picnic bench. Just one of dozens of examples of REAC stretching the Law to inspect whatever it wanted, no matter how pedantic or overreaching. REAC does what it wants but then hides behind the law when asked why it can't do the job entrusted by the taxpayers - keeping residents safe.
REAC was able to convince the current HUD Secretary that the fault really lay with the Property Owner/Agent (POA). REAC led the Secretary to believe that if the POAs kept their properties in “good condition” year round instead for when facing a REAC inspection, and if REAC “improved” the inspection program there would be no more CO poisonings or other deaths and that deplorable conditions that were not being identified by the inspection program would all be something of the distant past.
To force POAs to keep their properties in good condition year round, the 14 day advance notice was born. No more 2 to 4 month advance notice. Now POAs have 14 days to get REAC ready, 21 days if you need an extra 7 days. So far I know of no properties that are suddenly staying abreast of repairs. They are trying to keep and hire maintenance staff in a time of severe construction worker shortages, avoid ridiculous contractor repair and consulting fees, all with the new “panacea” NSPIRE inspection protocol around the corner.
Not only will NSPIRE change how defects are evaluated and measured, but POAs will be required to do annual self-inspections and sent the results and completed work orders to REAC. Kinda like an IRS tax return! You send IRS your income and expenses with all requisite proof like 1099s, W2, receipts, etc. and hope you are not audited. REAC will be acting like the IRS in that it will have your annual inspection report to determine if you are truthful in your reporting. Where before you could fail and loose funding, contracts, residents, etc., now you can also be accused of failing false reports. I know of a POA that told REAC it had fixed its Exigent Health and Safety defects. REAC determined that it had not and fined the POA $65,000.
Like the IRS, ignorance of the law is no excuse, REAC's ever changing defects, rule changes and interpretations will make it all but impossible to know you are recording all of the "defects" spelled out in
. Heck some REAC inspection supervisors (QAs) allow some paint on a sprinkler head while others won't allow any. This is but one of the 500 REAC "objective" defects with multiple interpretations.
REAC is not improving how they inspect; they are implementing a system whereby it will be able to use your annual self-inspections against you. Sure to chill those thinking about refinancing with a HUD backed loan or seeking a HUD backed loan to build subsidized housing. REAC stands in the way of getting the homeless off the streets,
The REAC Impossible Newsletter will bring you another chapter next month on REAC. Stay tuned!