The Most Northeastern City in the United States.

Inspection Q&A

Caribou Municipal Building
25 High St
Caribou, Maine 04736
Lisa Plourde, Executive Director
Sue Ouellette, FSS/Homeownership
Phone: (207) 493-4234
Fax: (207) 376-0178
E-mail: housing@cariboumaine.org 

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The Caribou Housing Agency has moved!  We are now located on the first floor of the Caribou Municipal Building.

Equal Housing Opportunity

Tips for getting ready for your inspection:

• For move-in inspections, make sure the power is on and the unit is vacant.

• For annual inspections, make sure that an adult is present.

• Review our HQS Inspection Checklist and try to make repairs before the inspection to avoid delays.

What is the purpose of the inspection?

The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that units we assist are “decent, safe, and sanitary.” These standards are called Housing Quality Standards, or HQS, and are not the same as building codes.

We encourage review of our HQS Inspection Checklist in detail before the inspector arrives. If minor repairs can be taken care of before the inspection, there is a better chance that the unit will pass right away. Only one re-inspection is allowed, and only if the voucher has not expired or is not about to expire.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to correct inspection violations. The landlord may follow state law in charging the tenant for tenant-caused damages. We encourage tenants to keep their homes in good condition and report maintenance problems to the landlord promptly. Tenant-caused damage, beyond normal wear-and-tear, can result in termination from the program.

When must a unit be inspected?

The federal government requires the Housing Agency to inspect all units assisted through the Housing Choice Voucher program, as well as most other programs it administers. A unit must be inspected before move-in and annually thereafter.

What if the unit fails inspection?

For initial move-in inspections, the results are usually available by phone on the afternoon of the day following the inspection. If the unit fails, we will send the landlord a letter listing the corrections that need to be made. Once the landlord has made the repairs, he or she must call us to schedule a second inspection. If the unit fails again, we advise the tenant to look for another unit.

For annual inspections, landlords are given a deadline to complete repairs and reschedule an inspection. If repairs are not completed by the deadline, the Housing Agency will stop payments to the Landlord.

Can the tenant move in before a unit passes inspection?

The tenant will have to pay the full rent if he/she moves in before the unit passes inspection, a lease is signed, and the Housing Agency contract is signed. The rent is not retroactive. Housing Agency rent begins the day the unit passes inspection, or the effective day of the lease, whichever is later, provided paperwork is complete.

If the landlord does not make the necessary repairs, or changes his/her mind about signing the contract, the tenant would have to find another place to live. For this reason, tenants should ensure that they have enough time on their vouchers to look for other units.

Can you inspect a unit before the landlord has found a tenant to see if it will pass?

We cannot inspect a unit until a tenant turns in an RTA. You can use our HQS Inspection Checklist to identify failed items.

What does the inspection cover?

Please see our HQS Inspection Checklist for a more detailed description of what the inspection covers. In general, the inspector will be looking for:

• A working smoke detector on each floor.

• A clean and working stove and refrigerator. (Tenants can provide their own appliances.)

• A safe and adequate heating system.

• A working water heater with a proper discharge line on relief valves.

• Exterior doors that lock and provide a weather-tight fit.

• Hot and cold running water with no leaks.

• No evidence of roach or vermin infestation.

• No peeling paint or mold.

• Proper ventilation in bathrooms

• No electrical hazards, including missing or broken cover plates.

This is only a partial list, and standards may change over time.

Remember that utilities must be on, and the unit must be move-in ready, at inspection time.