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HUD Proposes New Home Inspections Rule

HUD BuildingThe U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) this week issued a proposed rule for the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE).

According to a press release, HUD's new approach involves extensive input from stakeholders to redesign the methods HUD uses to ensure properties are in safe, decent, and sanitary conditions.

"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," HUD Secretary Ben Carson said.

In creating its new approach to inspections, HUD assembled a group of 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," the press release noted.

The NSPIRE Rule, outlined on federalregister.gov, strengthens HUD’s affordable housing oversight, HUD notes.

"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."

HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary David Vargas Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) said that "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.”

He pointed out that 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.

“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 Dominique Blom, General  Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing.

Comments are due March 15, and interested persons are invited to submit comments to the Office of the General Counsel, Rules Docket Clerk, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street SW, Room 10276, Washington, DC 20410-0001. More details are available at federalregister.gov.

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media and Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning News, among others. Contact Christina at christina.hughesbabb@thefivestar.com.

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