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The Written Instructions for the REAC Inspection

Everyone wants the REAC inspections to be performed properly. But, we are thwarted time and again by written instructions for REAC inspections that are unintelligible, badly organized, vague, oddly specific, confusing and contradictory. Want an example? There are a lot to choose from. Here's one. The following sentence appears three times in the REAC inspection instructions:

If the accompanying authority identifies abandoned wiring, capped wires do not pose a risk; therefore, do not record this as a deficiency. [sic]

The sentence above is examined in the Capped Wires and Abandoned Wires article in this website. With these terrible instructions as guides to the REAC inspection it is not possible for any REAC Inspector or HUD employee to definitively know how to perform his or her task. Consequently, no property manager can possibly know what to expect.

In the articles in this website I highlight these numerous grammar, logic, diction, omission, organizational and typographic flaws. I do this in order to advocate for clear written instructions that can be universally and objectively understood. There are currently 33 articles in this website and they’re in the following 6 categories.

The badly written instructions cause confusion, wastes government and private money, and horribly corrupts the very “information” that is REAC’s “product.” The current situation is unfair and unacceptable. It is also avoidable. After all, American English is a perfectly good language. Why doesn't HUD use it more carefully when so much is at stake?

The boxes below highlight random articles from each category in this website. There is also a list of all the articles in this website in the “Every Article List” page.

HUD is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. REAC is HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center. HUD declares that

“REAC’s ‘product’ is information; accurate, credible and reliable information assessing the condition of HUD's housing portfolio.”

To that end REAC is responsible for approximately 20,000 physical inspections each year of “rental housing that is owned, insured or subsidized by HUD.” This is done

“[t]o ensure that . . . families have housing that is decent, safe, sanitary and in good repair.”

The REAC Inspection and Why It's Imposible to Know What to Do

Everyone wants reasonable, replicable REAC inspections, including:

  • Property owners, managers, and representatives
  • REAC Inspectors
  • REAC Consultants
  • and, of course, HUD employees

It’s important. It’s important for the sake of doing the right thing, and it’s important for the sake those who depend on the “product,” the “information,” that REAC provides, including:

  • The residents of the properties that are being inspected
  • and, United States taxpayers

The Purpose Of This Website

The purpose of this website is to examine, what precisely, the written instructions from HUD say or don’t say about REAC Inspections. The written instructions are examined using standard American English word definitions and standard American English rules of grammar.

The written instructions for REAC Inspections are known as the Uniform Physical Condition Standard (UPCS) Protocol. The HUD revisions to these rules are known as “guidance.”

This website is not written to argue for what should be in the UPCS Protocol or how the REAC Inspection should be conducted. Those are other causes for other advocates. The purpose of this website is to emphasize the confusion caused by the written instructions from HUD and to point out that this confusion makes it impossible to predict how anyone will interpret the UPCS Protocol. I’m writing this website to argue that until the instructions are made understandable there will never be replicable, reasonable REAC Inspections.

What About What You’ve Been Told?

If you are a property representative preparing for a REAC Inspection, or, if you are a REAC Inspector being audited by HUD, there is value in what a particular HUD employee or HUD contractor tells you because this person—and his or her verbal opinion—may cost you money. But, this website is about the written rules of the REAC Inspection. I will not entertain arguments about what someone said unless I heard someone say it.

For reference I am using The American Heritage Dictionary (2nd college ed.) (1982) Boston: Houghton Mifflin and The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed.) (2003) Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. When needed I will also make use of, and cite, standard construction reference sources.