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Housing Choice Voucher

A resource for Housing Choice Voucher participants and landlords

To ensure the quality of Section 8 rentals, Home Forward conducts an inspection before you move in, and once every year or two years after that.

Our goal is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to all of our participants.  If you have any questions about home inspections, please call the Home Forward Inspections Team at (503) 802-8333, option 5.

Northwest Tower

These housekeeping practices, performed regularly, will help you be prepared for inspections.

  • Check your smoke alarms and replace batteries as needed. For your protection smoke detectors must be hooked-up and working properly at all times.


  • Report all maintenance needs to the landlord or manager prior to the inspection so that repairs are done before the inspection takes place.


  • Thoroughly clean your cooking range, range hood and filter.


  • Defrost and clean your refrigerator. Never use a knife or a sharp tool to chip off ice!


  • Clean both sides of all windows, if you can.


  • Thoroughly clean and sanitize sinks, tubs and toilets.


  • Wash and clean walls and all painted woodwork.


  • Vacuum or sweep and mop all floors.


  • Help prevent pest infestation by removing boxes, paper, garbage, and other rubbish to proper garbage and recycling containers. 


  • Properly dispose of discarded furniture, appliances, bulk items, and junked automobiles.


  • Maintain all sidewalks, lawns, shrubbery, and grounds.


  • Be certain that all rooms are accessible to the inspector.


  • Please have your pet contained/restrained for the duration of your inspection.

Standards for Wear and Tear: Serious Violations

If the condition of your apartment or house has deteriorated beyond normal wear and tear due to neglect or damage that you or your guests have caused, you may forfeit your Section 8 voucher benefit. Some serious violations include:

  • Destroyed walls – large holes; mold due to tenant neglect; excessive grease; graffiti


  • Destroyed floors – serious carpet stains that cannot be removed with a good cleaning (bleach, dye, paint, burns, etc.); torn tile; badly stained wood floors (holes, punctures, burns, etc.)


  • Broken light fixtures due to tenant abuse or neglect


  • Broken doors or doorjambs (holes, large gouges, etc.)


  • Broken windows due to tenant abuse


  • Overly dirty or broken appliances due to tenant abuse or neglect (stoves, refrigerators)


  • Excessive garbage and trash storage, which could cause infestation (cannot be picked up by one individual within one or two hours)


  • Turned-off utilities for which the participant is responsible


  • Broken bathroom fixtures (removed or broken tank covers, faucets, shower doors/rods)


  • Holes or stains in a ceiling due to tenant abuse or neglect


  • Flea-infestation from pets, etc., due to tenant neglect


  • Burnt countertops due to tenant abuse


  • Neglected landscape (if tenant is responsible for yard up-keep)


  • General abuse and/or neglect of rental unit by participant family


  • Any other failures of health and safety standards that are tenant-caused

If you have a serious complaint about the condition of your unit, tell your landlord or property manager immediately. If your complaint is not addressed and you would like Home Forward to conduct a “complaint inspection,” please download and complete the Complaint Inspection Form and return it to our offices at 135 SW Ash Street, Portland, Oregon 97204.

If we feel that the landlord or property manager did not respond to your complaint in a reasonable period of time and the complaint indicates a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) deficiency, we will schedule your apartment or house for a complaint inspection.

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