This page provides additional resources that state Housing Finance Agency (HFA) users may need to access: Frequently Asked questions, review technical assistance on user I.D.s, or for I.D. recertification. Click on the appropriate link below for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What programs are included in the Interagency Physical Inspection Alignment Initiative?
The following programs/subsidies may be present at a multi-agency (“aligned”) property:
A. HUD Held, HUD-Insured, or Section 202 and 811 Direct Loans or Capital Grants
B. HUD Assisted, Non-Insured Subsidy (Multifamily Section 8, 811/202, etc.)
C. IRS Low Income Housing Credits (LIHTC)
D. HUD Community Planning and Development HOME Investment Partnerships Funding
E. USDA Rural Development Section 515
States may also elect to use the aligned inspection for any state housing program purposes, if applicable. The responsible authority determines if this is allowable.
2. Does the Alignment Initiative inspect to local code standards?
Due to current data, software, and programmatic limitations, the Alignment Initiative generally adheres to the Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) inspection protocol. For properties utilizing HOME funding, for which the Participating Jurisdiction (PJ) would like to receive an aligned inspection, the PJ may certify that UPCS meets or exceeds any applicable state/local codes, due to the HOME requirement that inspections must adhere to state/local code. Additionally, properties with USDA Rural Development support, but with no HUD funding requiring use of UPCS, use the Rural Development inspection standard.
3. What does it mean to be HOME certified? How do I become HOME certified?
The Alignment Initiative has been working with state HFAs, who also serve as their state’s PJ for HOME purposes, to become “HOME certified” for alignment purposes. For properties enrolled in the Alignment Initiative for that year, states can certify that the UPCS standard for inspection meets or is more stringent than applicable state/local code requirements for each property’s jurisdiction. The certification applies to all HOME properties enrolled in the Alignment Initiative for that pilot year, and reflects the due diligence undertaken by the Participating Jurisdiction (PJ). This allows for just one UPCS inspection to be performed on an aligned property receiving HOME funding. Contact Dina Elani if you wish to certify for HOME purposes any properties enrolled in the Alignment Initiative.
4. How does alignment work in terms of inspection frequency?
Some funding structures, such as LIHTC, require an inspection (at minimum) every three years, whereas the Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) employs a 3-2-1 year rule wherein the length of time between inspections depends on the property’s previous inspection score. A REAC single year is 12 months from the previous inspection date, with an ideal future date for inspection at ± 3 months. Properties eligible for participation in the Alignment Initiative have more than one federal program associated with that property which requires a physical inspection within the same calendar year.
5. How do I obtain a WASS ID in order to access Secure Systems?
Anyone on an HFA’s staff, including inspector candidates, who will be involved in the pilot (whether performing inspections or downloading inspection reports) should obtain a REAC ID by registering here as an independent user. If the HFA does Performance Based Contract Administration (“PBCA”) work, register here for an M ID (or as a WASS coordinator for your agency).
A user ID is assigned to the person who registers, not the organization under which he/she registers. Therefore, each person requiring access to HUD's secure systems must register for a user ID (i.e., a user ID cannot be shared by multiple people). Once all staff have created IDs, the REAC Alignment team will make sure each staff member has the access rights he or she will need.
6. What happens if my WASS ID is inactive?
Call the TAC at 1-888-245-4860 and request that they re-activate your ID.
7. How do I download the UPCS Inspection Software?
You can download the UPCS 4.0 inspection software here (click the link for “September 2015 RAPID client”). The software requires a minimum of Windows XP, although Windows Vista or Windows 7 is recommended. Hardware requirements can also be found here. This software is free.
8. How do I access the public version?
There is now only one version of the software, RAPID 4.0, which includes a public version. The functionality depends on the user roles associated with the inspector’s WASS ID.
To practice with the public version:
I. Call TAC and ask them to change the inspector role in WASS to “RPV” and remove “RIN.”
To perform a regular REAC inspection, reverse it:
I. Call TAC, and ask them to change the inspector role in WASS, add “RIN,” and remove “RPV.”
9. What is involved in the Online Training, Phase Ia?
There are two systems that you use during the online portion of the UPCS training - the Learning Management System (LMS), which contains the learning modules, and RAPID, which is the inspection software used to complete the exercises. The online training component consists of about 40 hours of self-paced video presentations, exercises, and tests. LMS automatically scores the tests, and inspector candidates will immediately know their score and whether they passed or failed. Each inspector candidate is allowed up to three attempts to repeat the test.
10. I’ve forgotten my password for the online training (Phase Ia) - how do I reset?
If you’ve forgotten your password for the online training, please contact the Technical Assistance Center (TAC) at 1-888-245-4860 (Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM-8:30 PM, EST).
11. What does the In-Classroom Training, Phase Ib entail?
The in-classroom training consists of 3.5 days of lecture and exercises conducted by a PASS QA Inspector trainer and a facilitator. Inspector candidates must have the UPCS 4.0 software installed on a laptop (see item 7 above titled Downloading the UPCS 4.0 Inspection Software) prior to attending the in-classroom training, unless you’re notified that computers will be made available. The major components of the classroom training include: UPCS Protocol, Compilation Bulletin, Identifying Deficiencies, and RAPID 4.0 Software. The PASS Quality Assurance Inspector Trainers review the lessons and focus on areas of weakness that were identified during the Phase 1a online training. The final certification exam for Phase 1b is an inspection using LMS, which automatically grades the test.
12. How do I complete my site visit inspection for certification in Phase II?
Immediately after the results of the Phase Ib final examination are generated, the training facilitator will provide details to the inspector candidate on how to schedule the on-site inspections (“Phase II”). Inspector candidates will complete one full-day inspection, which will be scored on a pass/fail basis by a PASS QA Inspector Trainer.
13. How can I reset my LMS password?
You can request a reset of your LMS password by accessing the LMS website here, then click on “forgot password.” You will then receive an email confirming this request, and a second email providing the password.
14. How can I reset my RAPID password?
You can reset your password for RAPID by contacting the TAC at 1-888-245-4860 (Monday through Friday, 7:00am-8:30 PM, EST). Keep in mind, this will also reset your password for any other HUD systems you may access through Secure Systems, both through the Alignment Initiative and elsewhere.
15. Will study materials be available between the classroom UPCS training and Phase II?
You can review all written materials from the Phase Ib classroom training, as well as the Compilation Bulletin and Identifying Deficiencies to keep the materials fresh in your mind. In addition, you can access refresher training online through the LMS.
16. What should I do if I’m having any technical issues accessing any portion of the UPCS training?
Contact the TAC at 1-888-245-4860 (Monday through Friday 7:00am-8:30 PM, EST) or you may email OnlineTrainingRegistration@hud.gov.
17. Is there a certain number of inspections that have to be completed each year to maintain certification as a UPCS certified HFA inspector?
No, HFA inspectors are exempt from the standard UPCS requirement of performing a set amount of inspections per year, as well as from Personal Identity Verification (PIV) credential and insurance requirements.
18. For HFAs whose inspectors receive out of standard (OS) ratings on limited quality assurance reviews (LQAs), what options are available?
The HFA may choose to cure the failed inspection by conducting a re-inspection with the HFA inspector and a QA inspector. This provides an opportunity for the project to benefit from an inspection that meets REAC standards, while providing the HFA inspector with an opportunity to learn from the QA inspector. The HFA inspector must receive a satisfactory assessment on the QA inspection to avoid additional requirements.
19. When does the re-inspection need to be conducted?
The re-inspection can be conducted anytime, depending on the availability of the inspector, property, and the HUD Quality Assurance (QA) team.
20. Is there a penalty for choosing not to cure by re-inspecting?
Right now, there is no penalty for choosing not to re-inspect; however, additional requirements will be forthcoming.
21. I don’t have a laptop, as required for training. How can I obtain one?
REAC currently provides loaner tablets to inspector candidates who do not have a laptop for inspector training. To request a loaner tablet, you’ll need to contact the REAC Alignment team, Pi.Pilot@hud.gov, to obtain a Custody Receipt form and Tablet Loan Agreement. After you complete the form, please submit it to Kelli Martin (Kelli.A.Martin@hud.gov) with a cc to Danielle McDowell (Danielle.Y.McDowell@hud.gov). The tablet will then be shipped to you on loan.
22. How do I change the screen size of the tablet?
The magnifier tool can be found through a computer search for programs and the resolution can be changed through the control panel by clicking “appearance,” “settings,” then “adjust screen.”
23. When will I receive the list of properties to review for the next year’s Alignment Initiative, and when will it be due back to REAC?
HFAs should receive the list of properties to include in the Alignment Initiative toward the end of the calendar year, usually at the end of November or December. HFAs will then have time to review their lists, input the appropriate information, and return to the REAC team for inclusion in the next calendar year’s pilot. Beginning with the 2016 Alignment Pilot, automated sample property identification has begun streamlining this process. For more information, please contact Dina.E.Elani@hud.gov, (202) 475-8981.
24. How do I schedule an inspection in HUD's Secure Systems?
If you are scheduling an inspection where the HFA is the servicing mortgagee, one of the HFA staff members should be designated as a master scheduler in the PASS system so that the inspections can be assigned to you. If you are conducting an inspection that would normally be completed by HUD, please contact the REAC Alignment Initiative team to input the date, time, and inspector ID.
25. Will vacant units be inspected for aligned properties?
For LIHTC Inspections, vacant units that appear in the sample will be inspected, regardless of the property’s vacancy rate. For projects that are solely funded by HUD’s Multifamily Housing program, vacant units that are included in the random sample will not be inspected unless the property has a vacancy rate of 15% or more (MFH 15% rule).
26. How do I update the property profile for inspection when a unit has been converted into a common area?
If the profile is inaccurate, call the TAC (1-888-245-4860) before proceeding. Depending on the type of inspection and sample size, the office is typically removed from the unit count, changed to common space, and the inspection can continue. For additional information, please review the Compilation Bulletin.
27. Will inspectors be held accountable if they skip a vacant unit by mistake?
If the inspector thinks there was an error performing the inspection, they must notify the TAC (1-888-245-4860). Depending on the issue, the inspection may be rejected.
For all Multifamily Housing and Office of Healthcare Program properties, vacant units that are included in the random sample will not be inspected unless the property has a vacancy rate of 15% or more. Failure to inspect vacant units at these properties means the inspection could be deemed inaccurate and be rejected. Additionally, inspectors are required to follow the procedures for recording vacant units in the Data Capture Device (DCD). If these procedures are not properly followed, the inspection could be rejected and the property must be re-inspected at no expense to the federal government.
When inspecting vacant units, the inspector should edit the unit in the Building/Unit Information screen. The "If the unit cannot be inspected, select a reason" field should remain blank and the inspector should enter an appropriate comment in that unit’s comment field (e.g., Vacant unit inspected under the MFH 15% rule).
The 4.0 software automatically selects alternate buildings and/or units. If there are no alternate units available for selection, the inspector must call the REAC TAC to secure a REAC TAC reference number before proceeding. The reference number, reason, and appropriate comment must be recorded in the inspection software.
28. How is the unit sample generated?
The sample will be generated using REAC’s UPCS protocol, which relies on the RAPID software. The sample is a statistically valid, random sample generated through information entered and validated via the property profile.
29. What are the new photo capabilities of the tablets? How will this affect my tablet’s battery life? When would I need to take a photo of a deficiency?
The tablets provided on loan by REAC have photo capabilities, as it’s now a requirement that photos be taken of all Level 3 deficiencies. If you’re having difficulty with battery life, we recommend a hand-held charger or portable that can be used during breaks in the inspection.
30. Can we use the UPCS software to perform the PBCA Management and Occupancy Review to ensure that Exigent Health and Safety deficiencies are resolved?
If you’re already using the UPCS software to complete an inspection, you can use the listed Exigent Health and Safety deficiencies to acknowledge whether previous deficiencies have been corrected.
31. Who will perform the inspections?
Who performs the inspections mainly depends on the funding structure. If the property has some form of FHA insurance, the Servicing Mortgagee is always responsible for conducting the inspection. REAC reaches out to Servicing Mortgagees each year to notify them that a property in their portfolio has been enrolled in the Alignment Initiative, and should be inspected per the alignment inspection protocol. Properties typically eligible for the Reverse Auction Program may continue to be inspected using contracted inspectors, or may be inspected by another REAC-certified inspector at the HFA.
32. What are the limits on which properties the Real Estate Assessment Center can inspect?
REAC can inspect properties that receive HUD funding in some form. If a property does not receive HUD funding but receives other Interagency funding, then the property should be inspected according to those requirements, unless you are following the non-HUD inspection protocol detailed below.
33. Who can the inspector contact if they are not sure if an upcoming inspection is considered an Alignment Initiative property?
Once the auction is completed, the HFAs will receive a list of properties and their alignment inspection status. This same list will be sent to the TAC, along with an automatic monthly update. If the inspector forgets or loses the list, they can contact the REAC Alignment Initiative Team at Pi.Pilot@hud.gov.
34. Why might a property have multiple inspections to satisfy the different funding sources?
If the property has already had a recent inspection, it may have been performed to satisfy the requirements of a different funding source, or may have been performed before the property was aligned to receive just one inspection. The Alignment Initiative inspection will satisfy multiple requirements, and should actually reduce the number of inspections in the future.
Also, for REAC UPCS inspections, the previous property inspection score will determine how soon it needs to be inspected again according to the 3-2-1 rule.
35. How can we remind Inspectors to have all proper documentation in hand when they visit a property?
Inspectors are required to notify the property manager and tenants in advance, and are advised that it would be good practice to remind them to print out any required documents when they inform the property manager of an upcoming inspection, and get in the habit of doing so. The UPCS paper form can be found here and should be printed out ahead of time.
36. Is the TAC updated to reflect which auctioned inspections are participating in the Alignment Initiative that year?
After the pilot auction is complete, both the HFAs and the TAC will receive a copy of the list so they will both know what inspections are occurring. The TAC can also receive an automated monthly report to keep abreast of any changes in the schedule.
37. What should we do if the property representative fails to provide the appropriate paperwork to the Inspector?
Depending on what’s missing, the inspection may need to be delayed. The best way to handle this is to call the TAC and they will determine if the inspection can go forward given the documents on hand, and how to proceed.
38. What happens if the camera stops working or an inspector receives the error message: 'device error'?
Contact the TAC at 1-888-245-4860 and report the problem.
39. Do inspectors take photos of all deficiencies?
Inspectors should take photos of all level 3 (L3) deficiencies, even if a certain L3 deficiency is repeated throughout the inspection. Photos are also required for health and safety deficiencies.
40. How can I view inspection photos?
Enter Secure Systems, and then click on “Integrated Real Estate Management System (iREMS)”. Type in your property’s Multifamily ID number (800xxxxxx) and then select “Physical Inspection” link on the left. Click on the most recent inspection that you’re looking for (which should appear at the top of your list), and then click the “Physical Inspection Report Photo” tab.
41. Does REAC have a policy on taking pictures of people?
REAC inspectors may not take any photos of people while conducting an inspection. Failure to follow this rule could force REAC to reject the inspection.
42. If the defect is deleted, will the photo of the defect also be deleted?
Yes. Please note that deleting the defect is the only way to delete a photo.
43. What equipment is used by REAC QA (Quality Assurance) Inspectors to conduct inspections?
REAC QA Inspectors use Panasonic Toughpads to conduct inspections.
44. If it is too dark to take photo, should an inspector call TAC?
It’s best if you can find a way to obtain sufficient light. However, if darkness is unavoidable when attempting to take a photo, please contact TAC as a last resort.
45. How quickly are inspection reports available?
The Alignment Initiative runs on a calendar year schedule, so all inspections should be completed based on the calendar year in which they are due. Once a property is inspected, the inspection report should be available in the iREMS system within a few days, once review and quality control has been performed by REAC staff.
46. Which Internet browser is compatible with iREMS?
You should use Internet Explorer 8, if possible. If you have a newer version of Internet Explorer and are having compatibility issues, press F12 in your browser and select ”Browser Mode: IE [your current version number] Compatible View” in the box at the bottom of the page, then select Internet Explorer 8.
47. What are non-HUD inspections?
Non-HUD inspections make use of the UPCS software and protocol to inspect properties that do not receive funding from HUD-Multifamily or PIH.
48. What are the benefits of non-HUD inspections?
The RAPID inspection software is free to use, and creates consistency for all inspections by generating automatically scored reports, thus eliminating the need for redundant data entry. Also, having inspectors trained on one protocol means they only have to be proficient in performing one type of inspection.
49. Do inspectors need to be certified to use the RAPID software for non-HUD inspections?
Yes, please see above information on REAC inspector training.
50. What sample sizes are available?
Inspectors can use the standard UPCS chart; i.e., minimum unit sample size reference chart as noted in Revenue Procedure 2016-15, or a custom percentage of units. For example, for LIHTC-only inspections, inspectors can use a sample of 20% of the low-income units in a project or the chart contained in Revenue Procedure 2016-15.
51. Can HFA inspectors call the TAC for non-HUD inspections?
For sampling related issues, yes, but not for inspectable items.
52. Does building information carry over for future inspections?
Yes, building information carries over in PASS Secure Systems and does not need to be re-entered for future inspections. Property participant data is not stored.
53. Can HFAs access PASS to upload orders, schedule inspection, and download reports for non-HUD inspections?
No, these functions are currently being performed by REAC staff.
54. What is considered a “REAC inspection” for non-HUD purposes?
A REAC inspection must meet the following requirements:
Both vacant and occupied low-income units in a low-income housing project are included in the population of units from which units are selected for inspection.
The inspection complies with the procedural and substantive requirements of REAC, including the requirement to use the most recent REAC Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) inspection software.
The inspection is performed by REAC inspectors or REAC-certified inspectors.
The inspection results are sent to HUD, the results are reviewed and scored within REAC’s Physical Assessment Secure System without any involvement of the inspector who conducted the inspection, and HUD makes the resulting inspection report available.
55. What is the difference in the Quality Assurance inspection report review between Non-HUD, REAC inspections and a standard HUD-REAC inspection?
Standard HUD-REAC inspections include an automated systems check, in addition to a dual level manual inspection review performed by HUD-REAC Quality Assurance staff. For non-HUD REAC inspections an automated systems check is conducted; however, the manual inspection review by HUD-REAC Quality Assurance staff is omitted. For non-HUD inspections, there are no REAC Federal QA inspectors that will perform any on-site inspections of the non-HUD property.
56. Can I use the RAPID software for my non-HUD inspection?
Yes, provided the inspection meets the requirements of a REAC inspection, as noted above. Please contact the REAC Alignment Initiative team to arrange to use the RAPID software on properties that do not receive HUD Multi-family subsidies.
57. The owner of the buildings I inspect failed to make the multiple building election. How does this affect my inspections?
Inspectors conducting LIHTC-only inspections; i.e., inspections with no HUD-Multifamily subsidies, should use the same building and project designations used on IRS Form 8609 when using the RAPID software. For example, because each building that is not designated under the Multiple Building election is generally treated as its own project, these buildings should also be designated as individual projects when using the RAPID software.
How to Get a User I.D. (WASS) Download PDF
User I.D. Recertification Download PDF