Housing Quality Standards - Summary - Housing Opportunities of Southwest Washington

Go to content

Main menu:

Housing Quality Standards - Summary



  • Water, power and/or gas must be on and maintained in good working order per Washington State Landlord-Tenant laws.  Gas and electricity charges must be separately metered. HOSWW will not enter into contract for any unit where utilities aren't seperately metered for the tenant.  This also applies if the unit is not a legal rental property.

  • Relatives and/or caregivers may not operate a business from any unit being subsidized by the Section 8 program. If tenants wish to operate a business from a subsidized unit, prior approval must be obtained from the Housing Authority.

  • Chipping and Peeling Paint - Lead-Based Paint - All Owners must inform a family of any lead-based paint on the surfaces of their unit of which they have knowledge prior to requesting the Housing Authority to inspect the unit. All units built prior to 1978 and which will be occupied by children under the age of 6 must be free of chipping and peeling paint, both inside and outside.  

If your unit has chipping and peeling paint, you should call and talk to a HOSWW inspector immediately. The requirements to either certify there is no lead-based paint on the surfaces of this unit, or to treat the chipping and peeling paint, are extensive, expensive and time consuming. You need to be informed of what these requirements are so you can make a decision whether you wish to meet them. HOSWW will provide the Owner with a copy of the HUD Standards for Stabilizing Deteriorated Paint at the Owner’s request. Please contact the Housing Coordinator for a copy of this brochure.


  • House or unit numbers must be on property and must be clearly visible from the street.

  • The roof, foundation, gutters and downspouts must be in good condition.

  • There must be a hand rail and railing around a porch or balcony when there are extended lengths of steps which is approximately 30 inches or more from the ground to the deck. Decks must also be in good condition with no dry rot.


  • Operational locks must be installed on all exterior doors and windows.

  • Managers should provide HOSWW with codes for entry doors for units that are in secured buildings.


  • ALL UNITS should be rent ready prior to inspection.   Landlords generally provide a working range and refrigerator.  If these applicances are tenant provided, they must be present in the unit, and must be in working order before unit can be approved.

  • All walls and ceilings must be free of large holes (larger than 8"x11"). 

  • All wood burning or pellet stoves must be Environmental Protection Agency certified and properly installed.

  • Smoke detectors - must have at least one battery operated or hard-wired smoke detector, in proper working condition, on each level of the unit (i.e., town house would need two smoke detectors). Must be located adjacent to any bedrooms/sleeping areas. A unit with bedrooms at opposite ends of the unit must have a  smoke detector near each bedroom even though both bedrooms are all on one level. All smoke detectors must have a test button. Owners are responsible for installing a working detector.  Replacing batteries in a battery operated smoke detector is the tenant's responsibility.

a. It is recommended that Landlords add the following clause to their lease: "Tenant(s) must notify Landlord if smoke detector fails to work." If a unit is occupied by hearing-impaired persons, smoke detectors must have an alarm system, designed for hearing impaired persons, in each bedroom occupied by a hearing impaired person.
b. All rental units in the State of Washington require a working carbon monoxide detector.


  • Window assembly must be intact. No broken windows. Cracked windows with an uneven break will not meet Housing Quality Standards.  Windows that are designed to open must open.

  • There must be at least one window in the living room and in each sleeping room.

Bathrooms and Plumbing

  • All bathrooms must have a safe, working vent system or an operational window. Plumbing must also be in good condition with no broken pipes or leaking faucets.

  • The hot water tank must have pressure relief valve and a discharge pipe vented to within 6 inches of the floor, or plumbed outside the unit. The electric cable must be covered with metal flex conduit.

  • The bathroom requires at least one permanent ceiling or wall light fixture.


  • Must have a minimum of :  Openable, working window to outside, two outlets or one outlet and one overhead light fixture, plus must have a heater or be adequately heated by a source outside of the bedroom.

  • Must have a working smoke detector in proximity.


  • There must be cover plates on electrical outlets and light switches. All outlets and light switches must work, and must be properly grounded.


1. Tie-downs - Home must be stationary, cannot have wheels. Tie-downs must be verified.
2. Skirting must be installed around base of the mobile and in good condition.
3. Roof must be air / water tight.
4. Flooring must be in good condition with no soft spots.
Fans or windows must be easily accessible. (Small windows in ceiling are not acceptable.)

6. Exterior doors must be in good condition.
7. Smoke Detectors - must have a smoke detector installed at each end.
8. Any outside steps or deck must be stationary, and securely attached.
9. Camping trailers and motor homes that cannot be permanently secured (see #1) are not approvable.

Back to content | Back to main menu