Housing Quality Standards

Housing Quality Standards (HQS) are the minimum criteria each unit must meet before assistance can be paid on behalf of the family to the owner. NYCHA must perform an HQS inspection before a participant moves into a new unit, and regularly thereafter. To find out more about HQS and NYCHA standards view our HQS FAQ.

General HQS Requirements

All subsidized units must meet the following requirements under the Section 8 program:

Unit Requirements Description
Rooms (General)
  • The unit must have a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and one living/sleeping room for every two family members.
  • The sleeping area must be at least 80 square feet.
  • The living room can be used as a sleeping room.
  • Ceilings, walls, windows, and floors must be in good conditions and have adequate heat.
Electrical Outlets and Light Fixtures
  • Each room used for sleeping must have either two electrical outlets or one outlet and one permanent light fixture.
Kitchen and Bathroom
  • Must have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet installed within 6 feet of a water source in the bathroom if the building was built or renovated after 1986. For kitchens, a GFCI outlet must be installed if the building was built or renovated after 1996.
  • Bathrooms require a permanent light fixture but an outlet is not required.
  • The kitchen requires an outlet and permanent light fixture.
Smoke Detectors
  • All units must have at least one working smoke detector that is battery operated, hardwired, or hardwired with a back-up battery on each level of the unit.
  • Must be installed on a ceiling or wall 4 to 12 inches from the ceiling.
  • If a tenant is hearing impaired, the alarm must be designed for hearing-impaired persons.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • All units must have a working carbon monoxide detector that is battery operated, hardwired, or hard-wired with a back-up battery
  • Must be installed in the unit within 15 feet of any sleeping area. This device cannot be installed in a bathroom or kitchen, or within 5 feet of gas cooking appliances.
  • If a tenant is hearing impaired, the alarm must be designed for hearing-impaired persons.
  • There must be a least one window that opens and closes in each room used for sleeping to provide ventilation and illumination. A skylight is acceptable if it is open able.
  • Windows must also have permanently attached and adequate locks.
Window Guards
  • New York City Law requires that owners of multiple dwellings where children 10 years of age or younger reside to install and maintain window guards in (1) The units where those children will reside; and (2) The public spaces.
Heat and Hot Water
  • Each unit must have an adequate source of heat and hot water, and hot water sources must meet established minimum/maximum temperatures.

Lead Paint Disclosure

Buildings/houses in New York City built before 1978 may have paint containing lead. Owners are required to disclose the presence of lead-based paint or lead-based hazards in the unit and public spaces to the tenants. During inspection, NYCHA inspectors will check for the presence of lead-based paint.