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We audited the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Real Estate Assessment Center’s (REAC) inspections process.  We initiated this audit in accordance with our annual audit plan.  Our objective was to determine whether REAC had adequate processes for and controls over the certification and monitoring of contracted inspectors and its public housing units’ physical inspections processes.

We found that REAC could improve its inspections processes and controls related to the certification and monitoring of its contracted inspectors and its public housing units’ physical inspections processes.  Specifically, REAC did not always ensure that (1) contract inspectors met requirements, (2) database system controls functioned properly, and (3) it verified the accuracy of sampled units for public housing authorities.  These conditions occurred because REAC either did not follow its procedures or did not have procedures in place for parts of its inspections process.  As a result, REAC did not always have assurance that it (1) made the most effective and efficient use of its resources when training and certifying inspectors, (2) protected its database system data from unauthorized access and use, and (3) had accurate unit selections.

We recommend that the Deputy Assistant Secretary for REAC (1) develop written policies and procedures to ensure that inspectors meet program requirements, (2) support that inspector candidates met minimum qualifications and were properly monitored, (3) ensure that it performs annual assessments and continuous monitoring of its database, and (4) develop processes and procedures to verify the accuracy of sampled units.