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FHA Permanent Foundation requirement

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Thern Newbell

Thread Starter
Junior Member
Apr 25, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
I feel the need to announce or convey a message that it has become apparent to me that many people, appraisers, underwriters, and engineers alike do not seem to be aware of is the permanent foundation requirement for manufactured homes. I am speaking of the use of vinyl skirting for the perimeter foundation. I know that it is very common in some areas for this material to be used (note--FHA may have allowed variances in some markets due to natural disasters--i.e. hurricane Katrina), however it does not comply with the Permanent Foundation Guide per FHA. I have spoken to FHA on a couple of occassions just to confirm this requirement, as well as to prepare for the inevitable discussion with clients, homeowners, and engineers. FHA only allows vinyl skirting to be used as a cosmetic cover over a 'permanent' or more durable material. I know that the perimeter foundation on manufactured homes is not typically intended to provide structural support, but is intended to prevent moisture and vermin intrusion. FHA has deemed vinyl skirting as inadequate for this purpose. Please reference the following link:


Details are in Chapter 1, page 1-1 & page 1-2. I know that some of the verbiage in some of these sections can be debatable, but that is why I called FHA to confirm.

Another reference is:


Click on the permanent foundation link. I have copied this list into emails and reports as a reference.

I try to tell clients after I interview the homeowner and before I do a site visit of the issue if the homeowner indicates that they have vinyl skirting. I have gotten the impression from some that an engineer's certification is sufficient to satisfy the requirement (even when it is evident that it does not comply), and they send me out anyway.

I just wanted to relay a message to everyone due to the increase in FHA assignments. One caveat, if the purpose of the assignment is for a refinance of an existing FHA, my understanding is that you can complete the report 'as-is,' however I would definitely make it a point to discuss the requirement.

Mary Tiernan

Senior Member
Dec 16, 2003
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
I don't know why this has not received more attention here.

I am not FHA, although I was trained under old FHA guidelines. I have chosen not to do the FHA inspections, but I notice several folks here are signing on to become FHA approved - and they are asking some questions which are pretty simply answered.

It is scary to see so many pass the simple test and become FHA qualified.

And then something as important as this is posted and nobody even responds.

Mr Rex

Elite Member
Jan 12, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
North Carolina
Quite frankly, its an Engineer's call to determine if the foundation meets the Permanent Foundation Requirements. I do not do manufactured homes As-Is, as I am not an engineer, adn do not want to review the engineers determination. I would rather the DEU accept the engineers determination directly. I do indicate that the subject has vinyl skirting which does not meet the PFR, similarly if it doesn't have tie downs, or mortar/surface bonding of the piers etc. but I always call for an Engineers cert. Have never seen but 1 engineers letter, and it wasn't a homeowner that had it ahead of time, it was a investor/flipper that knew the game really well. Needless to say, If I was peresented with an Engineers cert and the subject had "stand alone"vinyl skirting, I would not make my appraisal As-Is.
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