EDEN eNews for Property Owners & Managers

March 2024 Issue

NSPIRE Set to Replace HQS Inspections

click here for the online version

What is NSPIRE?

NSPIRE is the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate. It is the new inspection model that will be replacing Housing Quality Standards (HQS). The NSPIRE mission, much like HQS, is to ensure that all inspected units are functionally adequate, operable, and free of health and safety hazards. NSPIRE was created to ensure that all residents live in a safe, habitable home—which includes the items and components located in the units, inside the structure, and outside the structure. 

According to HUD, EDEN should switch from HQS inspections to NSPIRE inspections on October 1, 2024.

What are the three inspection areas?

  • The interior component of a dwelling where the resident lives. This includes balcony, bathroom, Call-For-Aid systems, doors, electrical systems, floors, CO2 and smoke alarms, outlets, stairs, switches, water heater, windows, etc. 
  • Common areas and systems within the building’s interior but not inside the unit. This includes the basement, attached garage, shared restrooms, hall closets, utility rooms, community rooms, halls, corridors, stairs, shared kitchens, laundry rooms, enclosed porches, patios and balconies, trash collection area, etc.
  • The building’s exterior components and any building systems located outside of the unit. This includes fencing, retaining walls, grounds, lighting, mailboxes, parking lots, detached garages, driveways, play area and equipment, refuse disposal, walkways, etc.

What are the NSPIRE inspection types?

Initial, Annual, Special, and Follow-Up inspections will remain the same. Each unit must be inspected and pass inspection prior to the execution of the HAP contract.  If the unit fails inspection, the deficiencies must be corrected prior to the unit being approved.

Why the change?

With NSPIRE, there is a greater emphasis on health, safety, and functionality defects and less emphasis on condition and appearance defects and items that do not impact health or safety.

NSPIRE categorizes life-threatening deficiencies more stringently. The ultimate goal is to protect both your property and your residents.

  • It increases the number of both CO2 and smoke detectors and their placement.
  • Emphasis is placed on the safety of gas-fueled appliance exhaust, hot water tanks, flue pipes, furnaces and dryers, Call-for-Aid systems, electrical outlets, GFCI/AFCI, guardrails and handrails, and structural-load bearing systems such as foundation, balconies, decks, patios, and basements.
  • Fire doors must be clearly labeled.
  • An infestation is defined as one insect or rodent in two locations—roaches, mice, bedbugs, wasps, fruit flies, possum, raccoons, etc.
  • Mold-like substances are prohibited.  
  • NSPIRE removes the site and neighborhood requirement and replaces “decent, safe, and sanitary and in good repair” with “safe, habitable dwellings that are functionally adequate, operable, and free of health and safety hazards.”
  • There is less emphasis on how something looks, such as dissimilar floor tiles or over-grown vegetation that does not block entrances and exits.

Similar to HQS inspections, NSPIRE is based on a pass or fail rating. If a unit fails inspection, the owner and residents are notified. Deficiencies must be corrected before approval and move in. The inspector may accept phots of a repaired item as long as the photo includes the whole room. If repairs are not made in a specified timeframe, HAP payment must be abated or the HAP contract terminated.  If a life-threatening condition exists, the unit must be inspected within 24 hours. Inspections of issues that are not life-threatening must occur within 15 days.

The NSPIRE Severity Ratings

Each inspection standard and deficiency has a rating which determines two factors: 1) does the issue impact on safety? and 2) does the issue create a life-threatening condition?  The rating is used to determine the amount of time repairs must be completed:


Repairs Completed in ...


24 hours


24 hours or 30 days


30 days


60 days


  • Life-threatening deficiencies are ones that present a high risk of death or severe illness to the resident. 
  • Severe deficiencies present a high risk of permanent disability or serious illness to a resident, threatens the physical security of the resident, or their property would be seriously compromised. 
  • Moderate deficiencies, if evident in the home or property, present a moderate risk of an adverse medical event requiring a healthcare visit, cause temporary harm, or if left untreated, cause or worsen a chronic condition that may have long-lasting adverse health effects. It’s appropriate if the physical security or safety of a resident or their property could be compromised. 
  • Low-definition deficiencies are critical to the habitability of the unit but do not present a substantial health or safety risk to the residents.

Smoke & CO2 Detectors

Smoke and CO2 Detectors

HUD/NSPIRE states that public housing agencies like EDEN are required to adhere to city and county codes, especially when it comes to CO2 and smoke detectors. The NSPIRE protocol explicitly states where smoke and CO2 detectors must be placed. They must be tramper-proof, but they do not need to be hard-wired.

Smoke detectors are required in each of these locations:

  • Inside each sleeping room (e.g., bedroom); and
  • Outside each sleeping room; and
  • Within 21 feet of all bedroom doors; and
  • On every level of a dwelling unit; and
  • Not within 10 feet of a cooking appliance; and
  • Not within three feet of ceiling fans, air ducts, exterior doors, or windows.

CO2 detectors are required in each of these locations:

  • Outside each sleeping room(e.g., bedroom); and
  • Within 21 feet of all bedroom doors; and
  • On every level of a dwelling unit; and
  • Not within 10 feet of a cooking appliance; and
  • Not within three feet of ceiling fans, air ducts, exterior doors, or windows.

Mounting requirements:

  • If mounted on the ceiling, they must be more than 4 inches from the wall.
  • They cannot be closer than 4 inches or more than 12 inches from the ceiling if mounted on the wall.
  • They should not be installed within 36” of windows, exterior doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
  • They should not be painted or have stickers or other decorations present.

The Bottom Line

If you just want the basics of what the inspectors will look for once NSPIRE begins in October, you can get it by downloading the checklist in a PDF or Excel format.  On the other hand, if you are fascinated by this subject and want to read all of the NPSIRE protocols, you can click here. There is even a 101-page book that summarizes 500+ pages of the standards here. Thankfully, the checklist is only 7 pages!

We value our partnership with you. EDEN cannot fulfill its mission of providing housing solutions to people facing the challenges of housing insecurities and homelessness without the support of property owners and managers like you. If you have any concerns, please reach out to our Community Housing Agents at the information line 216-503-6369 or email EdenLandlordInfo@edencle.org and we will do our best to offer solutions or refer you to the person at EDEN who can help.


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Resources for Housing Providers & Managers

Welcome Packet

Brochure for Housing Providers

Housing Provider Information Web Page

Fair Housing Center for Rights & Research

Lead Safe Cleveland
(see section for financial assistance)

Tenant & Housing Provider Duties



Past Issue Topics

Introduction to EDEN's Housing Provider Partnership Program

How to Get Started with EDEN

What Housing Providers Need to Know: Understanding Fair Housing Law

Attention All Rental Property Owners:
Access Money to Get Lead Safe With!

Understanding the RFLA:
Request for Lease Approval

Introducing New Incentives for Housing Providers with Units in Lakewood

Introducing New Incentives for Housing Providers in Northeast Ohio

The Importance of the HAP Contract

Tenant & Landlord Responsibilities

Local Governments Cracking Down on Lead, Code Violations

EDEN Rent Determination Policy for Long-Term Housing Programs

Incentives Available for Housing Providers Who Partner with EDEN

Who Can You Call When You Need Something?

EDEN Answers Your Rent Subsidy Questions







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