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Hand Railing

Discussion in 'FHA/HUD and VA' started by Delta85, Oct 18, 2011.

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  1. Delta85

    Delta85 Elite Member

    7
    Sep 22, 2007
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Connecticut
    I'm being told by a client that railings are no longer required to meet FHA guidelines for steps AT ALL. They supposedly have a mortgage letter they are gonna upload but have not yet. Other than minimum heights, has the requirement been eliminated entirely? I called out a home recently as the front steps and wood deck had no hand railings and were of considerable height. To me that's a safety hazard, especially for kids and the elderly.
     
  2. Cob

    Cob Member

    5
    Mar 30, 2006
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Texas
    That Mortgage Letter came out about 4-5 years ago about hand rails, don't remember the specifics though, thought it said if it was only a few steps FHA wasn't concerned.
     
  3. Mr Rex

    Mr Rex Elite Member

    246
    Jan 12, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    North Carolina
    The latest and greatest, from: http://portal.HUD.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=aprval.pdf



    002 ​
    It was stated that handrails and trip hazards are cosmetic. Wouldn’t these items be health and safety issues?
    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman]The appraiser must always be mindful of health and safety issues and report what is readily observable. The missing handrails or trip hazards are property conditions that no longer require automatic repair for existing properties but should be reported by the appraiser. In these instances, lender discretion and prudent underwriting will determine whether or not a repair is advisable. For example, a stairwell or staircase comprised of eight (8) or nine (9) risers without a handrail would probably pose a safety risk. [/FONT]
     
  4. Delta85

    Delta85 Elite Member

    7
    Sep 22, 2007
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Connecticut
    Thanks for the input. It's kind of a grey area. For example the front steps of my subject are 3 fairly steep steps that, at a minimum, would be a safety hazard for kids or elderly. I've seen and noted the items posted above in my search prior to posting the question but I thought there was more to it than that. So at this point for something of this nature I should just make the report as is, note my feelings on the railing issue, insert photos, and leave it up to the UW/client?
     
  5. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Elite Member

    34
    Jan 15, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Georgia
    Yes, note it and move on, it's not a required repair. But carpet and vinyl aren't required either, plywood is an acceptable flooring for FHA. It may be a marketing issue, but it's not a required repair.
     
  6. Michigan CG

    Michigan CG Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    493
    Nov 1, 2006
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Michigan
    Appraisers report, underwriters decide.

    The issue here is most likely not a lack of a handrail but most likely a building code violation of the rise and run of the steps which creates the hazard.
     
  7. NC Appraising

    NC Appraising Senior Member

    0
    Apr 28, 2006
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    North Carolina



    In my opine, FHA tried to put some common sense to the issue, but left it as a grey area, sort of.



    There are many older homes that may have no railings/hand rails on the front porch that has 3-5 risers. Is that really a safety issue? Na.



    Now, what if the subject has a two story deck or a two story porch or a interior two story foyer area without handrails or railings? Safetey issue? Yes.
     
  8. RSW

    RSW Elite Member

    98
    Feb 18, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Tennessee
    It could be that the dwelling was built 60 years ago when no building codes were in effect. Are you going to require them bring the entire dwelling up to code? I don't think so. The only thing FHA cares about when it comes to code it the water heater.
     
  9. Mike Garrett RAA

    Mike Garrett RAA Elite Member

    48
    Jan 14, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Colorado
    Code compliance is not an FHA requirement. Hand rails are not required UNLESS it is a safety issue. For me, a steep set of stairs without a hand rail is a safety issue. I would report it and let the underwriter sort it out.

    Oh yeah....another fine reason not to do FHA appraisals.
     
  10. Sulago

    Sulago Junior Member

    0
    Sep 10, 2007
    Professional Status:
    Licensed Appraiser
    State:
    Maryland
    Two reliable forces of judgement. :rof:
     
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