Housing Quality

In order to protect the health and safety of the tenants, HUD has established standards for determining whether a unit is decent, safe and sanitary. The Waterloo Housing Authority inspects each unit before it is put under a housing assistance payment contract and an annual inspection is required to assure that the unit meets Housing Quality Standards (HQS). HUD publishes payment standards each year.

Inspection checklist

This checklist is only a guide. For complete information, consult the City of Waterloo’s Code of Ordinances.


The following is a list of items the housing inspector will check when an inspection is made. It is recommended that you review this list and conduct your own inspection prior to our visit:

Kitchen: Does the kitchen have a stove and refrigerator of an appropriate size for the unit? Are they maintained in good condition? Is there adequate space for the storage preparation and serving of food? Does the kitchen contain two separate unobstructed electrical outlets that are not located behind stationary appliances? Does the kitchen have a permanently installed light fixture? Are kitchen floors and counters maintained free from tears, gouges, or rips that would prohibit the surface from being kept clean and sanitary? In duplex and apartment buildings, are there supplied garbage and refuse containers? Are there any leaks in drain lines or under sinks? Does the kitchen sink have hot and cold running water?

Security: Are all doors and windows accessible from the outside equipped with locks that are in good working order?

Windows: Are windows free from breaks or cracks in the glass? Do the windows open, operate properly, and stay up without being propped? Are all operable windows equipped with a screen? Are all screens maintained in good condition? Are storm windows provided for openable, single-paned windows?

Baths: Is there a private bathroom enclosed in the unit that includes a stool, tub or shower and the lavatory sink? Is the bathroom floor in good condition and free from tears, gouges, or rips? Does the bathroom have a permanently installed light fixture? Are all faucets, drains, tubs and/or showers, and stools maintained in good condition? Are there handles missing? Are there any leaks in drain lines or under sinks? Do all apartments have private bathrooms? Does the bathroom have an operable window or mechanical ventilation?

Mechanical: Does the furnace or heating system supply enough heat to all rooms so that the dwelling unit can be heated at all times to a temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit at a distance of 36 inches above the floor? Is the heating unit properly operating, venting, and connected with all safety devices present and functioning? Does the hot water heater have an approved pressure-temperature relief valve, and a discharge tube? Is it properly vented?

Fire extinguishers: Are there fire extinguishers available on each floor or in each unit of a multiple apartment building which are accessible and in proper operating condition?

Smoke detectors: Do all dwelling unit have approved operating smoke detectors located in each bedroom on each floor and near each sleeping area? Are common halls and stairways equipped with smoke alarms?

Sleeping areas: Do all sleeping rooms have at least 70 square feet of floor space and at least 50 square feet for each additional occupant? Are there any habitable rooms which measure less than 7 feet in length or width?

Lighting: Are halls and stairways provided with adequate light at all times? Does each room used for living and sleeping have a window that open to the outside that provide natural lighting and ventilation?

Walkways: Are the walkways and sidewalks maintained in good repair?

Exits: Does every dwelling unit have immediate access to two unobstructed means of exiting? Are first and second floor exit windows maintained clear and unobstructed and are they of adequate size for exiting in the event of a fire?

Structural: Is the foundation weather-tight, water-tight, and rodent proof? Is the roof free from leaks and maintained in good condition? Are the exterior walls, siding and painting in good condition? Are all floors, walls, and ceilings in good condition or in need of repair? Are there any gutters or downspouts missing, loose or disconnected? Is the unit free of loose, flaking, and/or chipping paint? Are there handrails on all stairs having four or more risers? Are porches and balconies more than 30 inches high protected with guardrails? Are there openings in the guardrails that would permit a young child to fall through?

Sanitation: Is the dwelling unit clean, sanitary, and fit for human habitation? Is there any evidence of mice, or insect infestation?

Accessory structures: Are garages, sheds, and other accessory structures on the premises of the dwelling unit maintained in good repair?