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Preparing for your next Physical REAC Inspection

You wouldn’t believe how many affordable housing property owners & property managers I have spoken to who were in a state of panic because they were getting ready for their REAC inspection.  My advice to those is just be prepared the best you can.  Easier said than done, huh?  Not really.  My first suggestion is to perform your own pre-inspection using your physical inspection check list (make sure to include your maintenance person).  When you walk your property, don’t walk with your head down…look around at your surroundings, correcting the most visible problems BEFORE  “dooms  day.”   Sometimes there are inconsistencies with the way that the physical inspections are performed and, unfortunately, principles are not always placed before personalities.  Let’s face it, when we are in a bad mood our job performance can be affected.  However that doesn’t really help our REAC score, does it?  So, again, I can only reiterate that preparation is your best chance of achieving a great score.   Speaking of your score, do you know what it is?  Here is a link to check your Physical Inspection score.

Wouldn’t be nice if there were some kind of REAC FAQ which would answer some questions regarding REAC Physical Inspections?  There is…it is called the REAC Compilation Bulletin. This FAQ guide provides answers to the most commonly asked questions from inspectors in the field and clarifies certain areas of inspection protocol.

HUD’s intent is not to give you a hard time (theory) but to protect the government’s financial investment and to make sure that affordable housing families have housing that is decent, safe, sanitary and in good repair.

Let’s get back to one of my original statements. “Perform your own pre-inspection using your physical inspection check list.” Affordable housing Owners and Managers must take the initiative to conduct these inspections before the REAC inspection takes place.  Make sure you conduct a pre-inspection of all of the units, common areas, site, building exterior and mechanical systems.  Inspectors are using the Uniform Physical Condition Standard (UPCS) and so should you. Grab your clipboard and use a detailed Physical Inspection Checklist to help you with this process. Document your findings and make repairs well in advance of your scheduled inspection…don’t wait to the last minute!!  Don’t PROCRASTINATE!

Here are three tips to a better score:

1. Focus on the “Best” units instead of the “Worst” units.  Why?  Because your units which are in apparently good condition can EASILY lose just as many points as units in atrocious condition.  They are typically much easier to repair and save all points.

2.  My next tip is to make sure you are NOT focused on just your Units and ignoring Site, Exteriors, Systems and Common Areas.   Check this out; your Units are worth only 33 to 43% of your total score, and often are more difficult to control. If you spend 100% of your effort on the Units and ignore other elements of the property, you are ignoring 67 to 57% of your possible scoring value.

3.  Finally, what about soliciting some help from your tenants? What?  Yeah, how about offering a financial incentive like $50 for the best unit.

So now that you have had the inspection and have the report, what can you do now???  Cure the REAC findings and then make sure they don’t happen again!  How are you supposed to do that?  First, don’t take the REAC findings personally– turn them into a positive (Thank you, Mrs. Helen). My client told me that she takes these findings and goes back the next three years to make sure that the findings that she cured don’t end up on the inspectors report of findings again.  I like it!

So, what else can you do?  Take one of our classes on the REAC system and check out our REAC resources page!

Will you achieve 100%??? If you do, that is fantastic!  If you don’t, retrench and be better prepared for the next inspection.  Oh, and by the way, you can apply some these principles to your next MOR, too.