January 19, 2021

HUD: Proposed Rule Issued for Implementation of National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE)

Today the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a proposed rule for the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE). This new approach incorporates extensive stakeholder input to redesign the methods HUD uses to ensure properties are in a safe, decent, and sanitary condition.

Since taking office, Secretary Carson led extensive housing reforms, placing the health and safety of affordable housing residents as an essential HUD priority. He emphasized the need for these changes after seeing firsthand the public housing inspection process. “Despite us learning more as a society about the consequences of health and housing, the way HUD evaluates housing quality has basically remained unchanged for over twenty years. NSPIRE brings much needed updates to our programs and provides consistency to the families we serve. Families in HUD programs shouldn’t have to worry about the safety or healthiness of their home depending on the program that’s providing the assistance,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson.

To establish this new inspection approach, HUD assembled a team of talented researchers, scientists, academics, inspectors, analysts, and HUD professionals with decades of affordable housing inspection experience. By drawing on this experience, NSPIRE, as implemented by the new rule, will significantly enhance HUD’s ability to focus on affordable housing properties that are not meeting quality expectations.

NSPIRE’s approach improves processes directly impacting U.S. assisted, and affordable housing resources to provide decent, safe, and habitable homes for millions of transitioning and low-income families. The NSPIRE Rule https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/01/13/2021-00098/economic-growth-regulatory-relief-and-consumer-protection-act-implementation-of-national-standards strengthens HUD’s affordable housing oversight. This includes the ability to identify substandard housing, streamline the current array of regulations, and reduce historically complex affordable housing procedures. The improvements demonstrated by the NSPIRE rule outline how HUD effectively evaluates housing across all HUD programs, “having a singular set of standards allows us to have deeper insight into those conditions that impact families and the success of housing programs through defining common patterns and themes that might otherwise go undetected” said HUD DAS David Vargas Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC).

Small and rural housing providers, for example, face unique challenges. As part of the overall set of regulatory changes being proposed in the NSPIRE rule, HUD would implement regulatory relief for small, rural housing providers to reduce unnecessary burdens and costs.

“Small and rural providers manage incredibly difficult processes, and this rule will allow them to see specific measurable changes to aid in improving effectiveness of inspections while reducing the operational burdens to manage these important processes,” said PIH General Deputy Assistant Secretary Dominique Blom. NSPIRE components will fuse data and information from a large number of sources to determine areas to reduce risk and provides that information to decision makers and stakeholders so that they can take timely action to improve the conditions of the properties.

With NSPIRE, HUD’s approach embraces a responsive model for program administration. The NSPIRE rule introduces an innovative and robust framework to ensure NSPIRE remains responsive to changes in the housing industry, stakeholder needs, and advances in technology. The provisions in the rule lay out regular and repeated input from stakeholders, including technical experts, leading to updates at least once every three years —including opportunities for public comments.

In line with Secretary Carson’s vision, this rule fortifies HUD’s deep commitment to millions of families that rely on HUD to constantly improve the processes of assessing property conditions and to ensure tenants have healthy and habitable homes. This responsive model would place the most focus on residents, their safety, and their units. It stresses the importance of eliminating safety and health hazards from homes and enhances the reliability of our assessments. The NSPIRE people-first approach encourages stronger communication and collaboration between residents and owners through regular and consistent feedback for significant improvements now and far into the future.

HUD seeks public comment on all aspects of the proposed rule. To be considered, comments should be submitted in accordance with guidance published in the Federal Register notice. The Proposed Rule is available for review and feedback at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/01/13/2021-00098/economic-growth-regulatory-relief-and-consumer-protection-act-implementation-of-national-standards. It is open to comments until 03/15/2021.

This post was originally published here.