FHA or VA help

I am asked occasionally if a home will pass a FHA or VA inspection. I let me client know that I don’t inspect for the mortgage companies and don’t know all the items they are looking for.

I have heard a few requirements, but have nothing to back it up. Does anyone have a list they can share.

It would be a money saver for my clients if I could point out items that would most likely be red flags to the FHA or VA before they invested more money in a FHA/VA appraisal/inspection.

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.

They always look for peeling/flaking paint on houses built before 1978…

4905.1 REV-1

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.
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.

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4905.1 REV-1

A. Each living unit must contain the following:

  1. A continuing supply of safe and potable water.
  2. Sanitary facilities and a safe method of sewage
  3. 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.
  4. Domestic hot water.
  5. 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:
  6. 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.

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4905.1 REV-1

  1. 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
    public health.
    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
    Sewage-Disposal Systems.”
  2. Connection must be made to a public or
    community water/sewage disposal system whenever
    A. Design Limitations.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
    2-7 ACCESS.
    A. Streets.
  5. Each property must be provided with a safe and
    adequate pedestrian or vehicular access from a
    public or private street.
  6. All streets must have an all-weather surface.

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4905.1 REV-1

  1. 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
    acceptable means.
    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

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4905.1 REV-1

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
properly vented.
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?

I do not recall seeing any specific requirements on egress window sill height. I would have to assume the standard definition would apply.

The 49051 document is for existing residential housing 1 to 4 units.