Crawl Spaces and FHA Requirements

by Michael on October 21, 2011

FHA no longer mandates a set height requirement for crawl spaces. However, the appraiser does have to have access to the space for inspection. The picture to the right tends to be the typical crawl space, there is no water, bug infestation (spiders don’t count), or any wiring hazards. FHA also no longer requires a plastic vapor barrier.




Now this would be a problem, and would have to be corrected per FHA; and for that matter any lender would most likely require that it be fixed.





Now from first looking at this you would think that it would be an automatic correction. From an appraisers perspective, it should be an issue of structural and security. Structural in the sense that it’s safe and doesn’t pose any risk. Security from the standpoint will this last the life of the mortgage. The appraiser should state in the appraisal that this may be a structural issue and suggest that it be inspected by a trained and qualified professional. And also certify that it will last at least the length of the mortgage.


HUD’s minimum property requirement handbook 4905.1, 2-14 states:

In order to insure against conditions which could cause deterioration to the building and seriously affect the marketability of the property, it is required that:

  • There must be adequate access to the crawl space.
  • The floor joists must be sufficiently above the highest level of the ground to provide access for maintenance of the repair of duct work and plumbing.
  • The crawl space must be clear of all debris and properly vented.
  • Any excessive dampness or ponding water in the crawl space must be corrected.

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