Hi Bill, I only have a partial answer as I’ve never seen an FHA inspection but only hear about them from REAs. From what I hear they are in and out pretty quick and focus on obvious safety issues like missing handrails and the like.
Chapter 2 - GENERAL ACCEPTABILITY CRITERIA
2-1 GENERAL. The requirements in this Handbook together with
appropriate administrative rules and regulations constitute
the minimum acceptable criteria for eligibility of existing
2-2 REAL ESTATE ENTITY. The property must comprise a single
readily marketable real estate entity.
2-3 PARTY OR LOT LINE WALL. A building constructed on or to a
property line must be separated from the adjoining building,
by a wall extending the full height of the building from the
foundation to the ridge of the roof. The wall can separate
row type townhouses or semi-detached units,
There must be Adequate space between buildings to permit
maintenance of the exterior walls.
2-4 SERVICE AND FACILITIES.
A. Trespass. Each living unit must be able to be used and
maintained individually without trespass upon adjoining
properties. Any easement required must run with the
B. Utilities must be independent for each living unit
except that common services, such as water, sewer, gas
and electricity, may be provided for living units under
a single mortgage or ownership. Separate utility
service shut-offs for each unit shall be provided. For
living units under separate ownership, common utility
services may be provided from the main to the building
line when protected by easement or covenant and
maintenance agreement acceptable to HUD. Individual
utilities serving a living unit shall not pass over,
under, or through another living unit, unless provision
is made for repair and maintenance of utilities without
trespass on adjoining properties or legal provision is
made for permanent right of access for maintenance and
repair of utilities.
C. Other Facilities must be independent for each living
unit, except that common services, such as laundry and
storage space or heating, may be provided for in
two-to-four living unit buildings under a single mortgage.
2-5 REQUIRED PROVISIONS:
A. Each living unit must contain the following:
A continuing supply of safe and potable water.
Sanitary facilities and a safe method of sewage
Heating adequate for healthful and comfortable
living conditions. The Field Office may determine
that climatic conditions are such that mechanical
heating is not required.
Dwellings with wood burning stoves or solar
systems used as a primary heat source must have
permanently installed conventional heating systems
that maintain at least 50 degrees fahrenheit in
areas containing plumbing systems.
Domestic hot water.
Electricity for lighting and for equipment used in
the living unit.
B. When individual water supply and sewage disposal
systems apply, the following shall be required:
Water quality must meet the requirements of the
health authority having jurisdiction. If the
local authority does not have specific
requirements, the maximum contaminant levels
established by the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) shall apply.
For location of wells for HUD-insured properties
refer to 24 CFR 200.926d(f)(3) or HUD Handbook
4910.1, Appendix K.
If the authority is unable to perform the water
quality analysis in a timely manner, a private,
commercial testing laboratory or a licensed
sanitary engineer acceptable to the authority may
take and test water samples.
Each living unit must be provided with a sewage
disposal system adequate to dispose of all
domestic wastes in a manner which will not
create a nuisance, or in any way endanger the
Individual pit privies are permitted where such
facilities are customary and are the only
feasible means of waste disposal, provided they
are installed in accordance with the
recommendations of the local Department of
Health or, in the absence of such
recommendations, with the requirements of the
U.S. Public Health publication, “Individual
Connection must be made to a public or
community water/sewage disposal system whenever
2-6 NONRESIDENTIAL USE.
A. Design Limitations.
Any nonresidential use of the property shall be
subordinate to its residential use and character. A
property, any portion of which is designed or used
for nonresidential purposes, is eligible only if the
type or extent of the nonresidential use does not
impair the residential character of the property.
Areas designed or used for nonresidential purposes
shall not exceed 25 percent of the total floor area.
Storage areas or similar spaces which are integral
parts of the nonresidential portion shall be
included in the total nonresidential area.
Each property must be provided with a safe and
adequate pedestrian or vehicular access from a
public or private street.
All streets must have an all-weather surface.
Private streets must be protected by permanent
easements and maintained by a Homeowners
Association or joint maintenance agreement.
B. Access to the living unit must be provided without
passing through any other living unit.
Access to the rear yard must be provided without
passing through any other living unit. For a row-type
dwelling, the access may be by means of alley,
easement, passage through the dwelling, or other
2-8 DEFECTIVE CONDITIONS. Defective construction, poor
workmanship, evidence of continuing settlement, excessive
dampness, leakage, decay, termites, or other conditions
impairing the safety, sanitation or structural soundness of
the dwelling shall render the property unacceptable until
the defects or conditions have been remedied and the
probability of further damage eliminated.
2-9 SPACE REQUIREMENTS. Each living unit must be provided
with space necessary to assure suitable living, sleeping,
cooking and dining accommodations and sanitary facilities.
2-10 MECHANICAL SYSTEMS must be safe to operate, be protected
from destructive elements, have reasonable future utility,
durability and economy, and have adequate capacity and
2-11 VENTILATION. Natural ventilation of structural space such
as attics and crawl spaces, must be provided to reduce the
effect of conditions of excess heat and moisture which are
conducive to decay and deterioration of the structure.
2-12 ROOF COVERING must prevent entrance of moisture and provide
reasonable future utility, durability and economy of
maintenance. When reroofing is needed for a defective
roof, already consisting of three layers of shingles, all
old shingles must be removed prior to re-roofing.
2-13 HAZARDS. The property must be free of hazards which may
adversely affect the health and safety of the occupants
or the structural soundness of the improvements, or which
may impair the customary use and enjoyment of the property
by the occupants. The hazards can be subsidence, flood,
erosion, defective lead base paint (24 CFR Part 35) or the
2-14 CRAWL SPACE. In order to insure against conditions which
could cause deterioration to the building and seriously
affect the marketability of the property, it is required
A. There must be adequate access to the crawl space.
B. The floor joists must be sufficiently above the
highest level of the ground to provide access for
maintenance and repair of ductwork and plumbing.
C. The crawl space must be clear of all debris and
D. Any excessive dampness or ponding of water in the
crawl space must be corrected.
2-15 DRAINAGE. The site must be graded so as to provide
positive, rapid drainage away from the perimeter walls of
the dwelling and prevent ponding of water on the site.
Thanks John! that really helps. I like the verbiage “reasonable future utility”. I’ve heard 2-5 years on a roof. One comment I hear is on the window sill height for egress from sleeping rooms. What is FHA’s requirement?