Each year, millions of taxpayer dollars are wasted on duplicative inspections of affordable rental housing financed by multiple government agencies. When each agency conducts its own inspection, a single property may receive two, three, or even five separate inspections per year. The Physical Inspection Alignment Program (AP) generates efficiencies across federal and state housing programs by providing them with REAC-certified inspection reports for common properties via the secure web-based Inspection Portal. This results in considerable cost avoidance and lessened burden for all stakeholders – federal agencies, state agencies, property owners, property managers, and residents.
Voluntary participation in AP has grown to three federal agencies (HUD, IRS, and USDA) and 58+ Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs). AP provides these partners with REAC’s released inspection reports for the properties they share with HUD, encouraging the adoption of a common inspection standard and eliminating the need for duplicative inspections. AP also maintains direct relationships with partner agencies, enabling future collaboration on new initiatives. This has been accomplished with no mandate and no additional Congressional or HUD funding.
The effort to align inspections of affordable housing properties began in 2011 as part of a White House Initiative. It was sponsored by the Rental Policy Working Group, composed of representatives from the White House Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, the Office of Management and Budget, along with HUD, USDA, and Treasury. This initial effort grew to become today’s AP.
With technical assistance from REAC R&D, AP has created and maintains a secure web-based Inspection Portal to streamline data sharing between REAC, the HUD PD&R Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, USDA, and state HFA partners. The Inspection Portal serves as a database of affordable rental housing properties, containing an integrated repository of all rental properties receiving HUD Multifamily (MF), IRS, USDA, or HFA support. AP obtains property records from the HUD MF Data Warehouse, from partner agencies (58+ state HFAs, USDA), and through collaboration with the PD&R LIHTC program.
An internal algorithm matches records across agencies to determine which properties receive funding from multiple sources. After manual verification of these matched records, the Inspection Portal provides partner agencies with common property information, physical inspection scheduling information, current and historical inspection history, and REAC-certified physical inspection and Exigent Health & Safety reports, including photos of deficiencies.
Since 2017, AP has matched HUD MF property records with 7,414 partner records and released 3,723 corresponding inspection reports. These shared reports have enabled a potential cost savings of $5,450,000 for partner agencies by eliminating their need to conduct duplicative inspections.
In 2018, AP partnered with PD&R to allow state HFAs to submit LIHTC data through the Inspection Portal. This significantly increased the Inspection Portal’s utility for HFAs while also cementing a valuable partnership with another HUD office.
In the future, AP hopes to incorporate property records from additional sources to create a comprehensive national database of affordable housing. AP can also encourage widespread adoption of HUD’s new NSPIRE inspection standard by sharing NSPIRE inspection reports with federal and state agencies. Finally, by leveraging relationships with state HFAs, AP can promote use of REAC R&D’s Risk Modeling Tool and other future fee-for-service products.
For more information or additional resources contact the Alignment Program Team at AP_Portal@hud.gov.
REAC R&D Program Analyst