HUD Minimum Property Standards | FHA Financing

Summary:

For as long as it has been in existence, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has put minimum property standards into place. Though the standards themselves have changed over the decades, the most recent round of adjustments represents the most substantial ones ever made. By eradicating some of the repairs and inspections required in the past, HUD is working to make the process of selling or buying homes with FHA financing much simpler.

The changes that have come down most recently are described below.

Poor Condition:

Maintenance lapses that have given a property a run-down appearance are now acceptable. Shoddy carpeting or floors, rotten countertops material, bad workmanship, damage to drywall or plaster, cracked bathroom tile, damaged doors, trash accumulations and other cosmetic issues that are not germane to the integrity or safety of the home no longer need to be repaired or remedied.

Condominiums:

Developments need to be no less than 51% owner-occupied and the relevant association documents many not include “right of first refusal” provisions.

Structural Problems:

Professional repairs will be required in the case of sagging roofs and floors, substantial settlement cracks and deterioration of wood relating to the building’s structure. Grading needs to be sufficient to insure proper draining away from the property.

Termites:

HUD no longer has automatic termite inspection requirements. Minor damage from termites that is non-structural in nature does not require remediation or repair. Soil or wood contact not resulting from structural issues no longer necessitates repairs either. Visible signs of current or past termite infestation or proof of dry rot will, however, require a termite report and clearance of all Section I items.

Lead Paint:
Properties built prior to 1978 that have chipping, peeling or chalking paint anywhere on their structure or on sheds, fencing or detached garages will need to undergo scraping, priming and painting. Tarps must be used for the purpose of collecting falling paint chips and for preventing soil contamination. Homes built after 1978 will not generally need to have surfaces with defective paint redone.

Heating:

All properties need to have permanent sources of heat. Any air conditioning or heating system on the property needs to be fully operational. It is possible for space heating systems to be accepted, as long as they have been installed pursuant to local code. Exhaust ventilation is required for oil or gas heating systems.

Roofs:

Roofs that leak or are worn need to be repaired or replaced. Though there is no longer a specification designating roofs with less than a two-year remaining life span as being “worn-out,” this remains a useful rule of thumb for determining condition. HUD is no longer going to automatically requires inspections of properties with flat roof systems.

Windows and Doors:

Broken glass is no longer something that HUD will require to be repaired. Exterior doors that are functional but in shoddy condition will now be accepted. Loose, sticky or otherwise shabby windows that do still function are likely to be acceptable unless they provide insufficient egress and access from bedrooms to the home’s exterior. There needs to be no less than one window in every bedroom that can be opened and closed at will so that there is an escape route in the event of a fire. Any bedroom windows with burglar bars attached must also be equipped with a release tool.

Utilities/Electrical/Mechanical Systems:

It is acceptable for there to be fuses in a property. It may be possible for 60 amp service to be approved as well for smaller homes that have gas or oil for cooking, hot water and heating. Open splicing, loose wires or other dangerous circumstances will need to be repaired, however. One exception is made for cases of low voltage wiring, such as used for cable television or telephone service, that would not pose a fire hazard. Utilities must be turned on in all vacant properties in order to prevent the need for another inspection. Mechanical systems of all types need to be operational.

Attic and Crawl Space:

Attic and crawl space access will be required. Each space needs to have sufficient ventilation provisions as well. Every crawl space needs to offer enough clearance for maintenance work and inspections to be made

Plumbing:

Now acceptable are minor defects and leaks in plumbing systems. Larger plumbing issues will call for inspection as well as repair, however. All water heaters need to be equipped with pressure relief valves.

Safety Concerns:

There is no smoke detector requirement, but if they happen to be present, they need to be functional. HUD does not require repair or replacement of the safety mechanisms meant to stop obstructed automatic garage door openers. There is no longer a requirement that trip hazards on sidewalks and other areas be repaired. It is acceptable to have missing handrails along staircases.

HUD Will Not Require:

HUD does not require:

* Screens
* Appliances
* Lawn sprinklers
* Driveways
* Repairs to pools that do not pose safety threats

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