FHA MINIMUM PROPERTY STANDARDS
FHA does not require the repair of cosmetic or minor defects, deferred maintenance and normal wear if they do not affect the safety, security or soundness of the home. The FHA says that examples of such problems include but are not limited to the following:
• Missing handrails
• Cracked or damaged exit doors that are otherwise operable
• Cracked window glass
• Defective paint surfaces in homes constructed post-1978
• Minor plumbing leaks (such as leaky faucets)
• Defective floor finish or covering (worn through the finish, badly soiled carpeting)
• Evidence of previous (non-active) wood-destroying insect/organism damage where there is no evidence of unrepaired structural damage
• Rotten or worn-out counter tops
• Damaged plaster, sheetrock or other wall and ceiling materials in homes constructed post-1978
• Poor workmanship
• Trip hazards (cracked or partially heaving sidewalks, poorly installed carpeting)
• Crawl space with debris and trash
• Lack of an all-weather driveway surface
There are many areas where the FHA does require problems to be remedied in order for the sale to close. Here are some of the most common issues that homebuyers are likely to face.
Electrical and Heating
• The electrical box should not have any frayed or exposed wires.
• All habitable rooms must have a functioning heat source (except in a few select cities with mild winters).
Roofs and Attics
• The roofing must keep moisture out.
• The roofing must be expected to last for at least two more years.
• The appraiser must inspect the attic for evidence of possible roof problems.
• The roof cannot have more than three layers of roofing.
• If the inspection reveals the need for roof repairs and the roof already has three or more layers of roofing, the FHA requires a new roof.
• The water heater must meet local building codes and must convey with the property
Hazards and Nuisances
A number of conditions fall under this category. They include but are not limited to the following:
• Contaminated soil
• Proximity to a hazardous waste site
• Oil and gas wells located on the property
• Heavy traffic
• Airport noise and hazards
• Other sources of excessive noise
• Proximity to something that could explode, such as a high-pressure petroleum line
• Proximity to high-voltage power lines
• Proximity to a radio or TV transmission tower
The property must provide safe and adequate access for pedestrians and vehicles, and the street must have an all-weather surface so that emergency vehicles can access the property under any weather conditions.
Any defective structural conditions and any other conditions that could lead to future structural damage must be remedied before the property can be sold. These include defective construction, excessive dampness, leakage, decay, termite damage and continuing settlement.
If an area of the home contains asbestos that appears to be damaged or deteriorating, the FHA requires further inspection by an asbestos professional.
The home must have a toilet, sink and shower. (This might sound silly, but you'd be surprised what people will take with them when they're foreclosed on.)
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the FHA requires properties to have working kitchen appliances, particularly a working stove. However, FHA documents do not mention any requirements regarding appliances.
This is not an exhaustive list. For additional information, consult the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Homeownership Center Reference Guide.