11 Most Common FHA/HUD Repairs

The following list is a simplified list that is designed to protect the health and safety of the occupants and the continued marketability of the property. If possible, we suggest than you make any repairs to your home prior to the appraisal or inspection. This will improve the marketability and help the sale or refinance of your home.

  1. LEAD PAINT: If the home was built prior to 1978, chipping, peeling paint must be scraped and painted. This includes interior, exterior, garages, sheds, fences, etc. (Not just livable areas)
  2. ROOF AND MATERIALS: The roof should have at least 3 years of useful life remaining and must not have more than 3 layers of shingles.
  3. WINDOWS & DOORS: There can be no broken windows or doors and all must be operable or replaced.
  4. GRADING: The grade around the parameter of the dwelling must be at least ΒΌ inch drop per foot for a distance of 6-feet sloped away from dwelling exterior walls.
  5. ELECTRICAL: Exposed electrical wires or outlets must be corrected and GFCI outlets are to be installed within 6-feet of water source.
  6. WELLS OR SEPTIC TANKS: If older wells or septic tanks that are no longer being used are on the property they must be removed or properly filled and capped.
  7. SAFETY HAND RAILS: Stairwell handrails are to be installed on any stairway with three steps or more. Decks and porches 30-inches or higher from ground are required to have safety rails with rail gaps no greater than 4-iches apart.
  8. TERMITES: There can be no active termite activity or structural damage caused from termites or wood destroying insects. (Damaged areas would require replacing)
  9. PLUMBING & HEATING: All plumbing and heating systems must be operable and in good working condition to meet minimum property standards.
  10. SMOKE DETECTORS: Each hallway shall have at least one smoke detector and at least one detector on each level including basement.
  11. POWER LINES: Power lines are to be at least 12 feet from ground level and 3 feet above garage or rooftops. (No power line is permitted over swimming pools)

Roofs and Attics:
The roof must prevent water and moisture from entering the home and provide reasonable future utility, durability and economy of maintenance. The roof should have a remaining physical life of at least three years. If the roof has less than three years remaining life, the appraiser/inspector must call for re-roofing or repair. FHA/HUD will accept a maximum of three layers of existing roofing. If more than two layers exist and repair is necessary, all of the old roofing must be removed as part of the re-roofing process.
Roof slopes of less than a 4/12 pitch are to have rolled roofing or built up roofing that meets the Uniform Building Code requirement.
The FHA/HUD appraiser or inspector is required to inspect the attic area unless the property is a mobile home or dwelling with little or no attic.

All attics and crawl spaces are required to have a minimum of 1 square foot per 150 square foot of ventilation to prevent Ice damning, mold, and prolong the life expectancy of roof shingles.

Basements and Crawl Spaces:
Basements shall be examined by the FHA appraiser/Inspector for dampness, wetness and any obvious structural problems along with the condition of the furnace and hot water tank. Crawl spaces with exposed dirt floors shall have a vapor barrier installed.

Sump Pumps:
Sump pumps are acceptable to HUD/FHA guidelines provided that they are properly functioning at time of appraisal or inspection. The sump pump may be hard wired by an acceptable wiring method or may have a factory electrical cord that is connected to a receptacle suitable for such use. Use of an extension cord for the sump pump is not acceptable. Though the sump pump is not a cure-all for water problems, the appraiser may still elect to reject the properly if there is significant incurable ponding of water in the basement.

Electrical and Heating:
The electrical panel box shall be inspected to ensure there are no frayed or exposed wires or double tapping of circuits. Electrical boxes may be circuit breakers, fuses or push-matics.
Existing 60-amp service is acceptable if it appears that this is adequate amperage for the appliances present. (No service wire of less than 60-amps is permitted)
Knob and tube wiring is acceptable if found to be in good condition and a minimum of 60-amps.
All habitable rooms must have a heat source that reaches a minimum of 50 degrees.

Wood stoves and solar systems:
Homes with wood burning stoves or solar systems, as the primary heat source must have permanently installed conventional heating systems that can maintain at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit in all living areas and those containing plumbing systems.

Public Community and Individual Wells and Sewer Systems:
Public sewer systems are owned, operated and maintained by the city, county or local unit of government with the power of taxation or assessment. (No certification is required by the appraiser or the inspector)
For properties that cannot connect to a public system and are served by an individual sewage system that is acceptable to the local health authority, the system is then acceptable to HUD.FHA. This includes numerous types of sewage systems including cesspools, individual pit privies and mound systems. (A septic system certification is acceptable for three months)

The following types of systems are not acceptable:

  1. Individual septic tank/drain field on a neighboring property.
  2. Individual lagoon-type or other open system.
  3. Failure to the system or components of the system.

Improvements such as driveways, parking areas, patios, pools, etc. covering the drain field or septic tank are unacceptable due to the inability for future servicing and should be removed or relocated.

As of June 19, 1988 new construction shall have lead-free water piping. Solder and flux shall not contain more than 0.2% lead and pipe fitting shall not contain more than 8.0% lead. Whenever the properly lacks a connection to public water, water testing is required.

Private water wells are to be no closer than 50 feet from septic tank and 100 feet from the leaching field. Septic tanks are to be no closer than 10 feet from the dwelling.
A well located within the foundation walls of a dwelling is not acceptable. Wells less than 20-ft deep are not acceptable. Wellheads are to be a minimum of 12-inches above ground level.

SUP 1: This clearance may be increased or decreased depending upon soil and rock penetrated by the well and aquifer conditions. The clearance may be increased in creviced limestone and permeable strata of gravel and sand. The clearance may be reduced to 50-ft only where the ground surface is effectively separated from the water bearing formation by an extensive, continuous and impervious strata of clay, hardpan, or rock. The well shall be constructed so as to prevent the entrance of surface water and contaminants.
Sup 3: Individual water wells are to be located on the subject property.

Quantity of water:
Water quantity is to be certified to reveal evidence that the well is capable of delivering a flow of 5 gallons per minute over a 4-hour period for new wells and 3 gallons per minute over a 4-hour period for existing wells.

Lead Based Paint:
For all properties built before January 1, 1978, the home shall not have flaking paint on interior/exterior walls, stairs, deck, porch, eaves, windows, doors, fences, etc. If flaking paint is observed, the affected areas must be thoroughly washed, sanded, scraped or wire-brushed to remove all the defective paint (machine sanding or use of a blow torch is not acceptable) A ground cloth should be used. The treated surface must be repainted with two coats of paint or encapsulated with other covered type material such as plywood, plaster or other suitable material.

HUD/FHA does not require radon testing.

Asbestos used as roof shingles or siding on a house does not pose a danger. When used as a wrap for hot water pipes, it is usually covered and poses no danger. When the material is deteriorating into fine powder and can be inhaled, it may pose a danger to ones health. (All visible asbestos should be encapsulated with quality paint of at least two coats)


Michael B. Saari:
Certified Master Home & Building Inspector!
Michigan Licensed Residential Builder #2102183305
HUD (FHA) MSHDA 203-K Compliance Inspector ID #P1352
Nationally Certified Consultant with the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development located in Washington, DC.
(NACHI) Master Certified Home Inspector ID #104050691
Michigan State University Graduate
Certified Well & Septic Inspector #135
Legal Arbitrator (PWC)
Legal Expert Witness
(BBB) Member of the Better Business Bureau! (A+ Rating)

Special Note: Michael B. Saari, Master Home & Building Inspector and Licensed Residential Builder holds and has acquired every single license or certification program available or offered from the state of Michigan including HUD/FHA, 203-K and MSHDA Certification!

Call or email if you have questions!
By Michael B. Saari