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Handrails required on Manuf. steps?

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McPheeters

Thread Starter
Junior Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Oregon
I just did an inspection on a 14 year old manuf. w/conc. block found and poured concrete exterior access steps, three risers at the rear of the home and two risers leading to the front door. Do these steps need to have handrails to meet FHA requirements?
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Paul --

On the 3-steps, yes, if you think they are needed. Or on both if you think they pose a dangerous situation, like odd turns.
 

Oregon Doug

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Jan 15, 2002
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Paul - check your local code. Out here in west central Orygun, anything more than 30 inches off the ground requires a hand rail.

Oregon Doug
 

McPheeters

Thread Starter
Junior Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Oregon
The FHA handbook's use of the word "usually" ( in the sentence that states "usually on three or more risers") caught me off guard as i would have expected a more definite explanation from them regarding the subject. Local code will clear this up. Thank you!
 

Brad Pack

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
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State
California
Paul,

Larry has given you the correct answer! Do not make the MPS process more than it is...

3-5 CODE ENFORCEMENT FOR EXISTING PROPERTIES
Local municipalities design local housing code standards;
therefore, enforcement of such housing standards rests with the
local authority. HUD does not have the authority or the
responsibility for enforcing local housing codes
except for
mortgages on properties to be insured under Section 221(d)(2)-a
program with mortgage limits at $36,000. Loans insured under
Section 221(d)(2) of the National Housing Act require code
enforcement. The appraiser should contact the lender for further
instructions if the mortgage is to be insured under Section
221(d)(2).
 

McPheeters

Thread Starter
Junior Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Oregon
It turns Section 221 does not apply in this case and local code reflects Dougs post........ "only if more than 30 or more inches high" according to the City.

Thanks again for the help and have a great day!!
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
A little tidbit to further reinforce Brad's statement just above (especially the part in bold):

Within the past year there was a HUD vs. St. Paul, MN (case name is pretty close) in which HUD appealed to the State Supreme Court (maybe is was the appeals court)... challenging the right of the city to coerce HUD into adopting their codes on a propety that HUD owned and was either holding for sale or in the processing of selling.

HUD prevailed.
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
Paul:
Glad you found an answer you could live with, however Brad and Larry's point is: You, the appraiser and 'eyes of HUD' have the responsibility to decide when/if a repair needs to be made for reasons of health and safety... regardless of code... Many codes would not require the removal of a carpet thoroughly embedded with rat feces, but I'm going to make it be gone!

Let me pose a scenario: Same parameters, but quite NEAR those front steps which are 29.5 inches from the ground, there is an abrupt drop off of say 5 feet, with rocks on the bottom...

So the thing meets code, and does not require a rail per the three step rule, or code but the new buyer has an 18 month old who is still a little stumbly. (You the appraiser do not know there will be a child: but get a slightly queasy feeling looking off the front stoop.)

Me: I'd recommend a handrail. If the UW overrides it - oh well
I'm going to sleep well at night.

Some lines are hard to figure though... check the great debate on firewalls in garages :roll:
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
In defense of UWs:

I've never felt abused or mistreated by an UW. A couple of times when they were kinda undecided how to handle something and had the good sense and courtesy to call me, it was always resolved WITHOUT the parties to the transaction or the LO getting involved. NOW, that's what I call a good solution, BECAUSE it provided a united front.

About the feces-carpet mentioned above. Over the years in a couple of houses that I'd sold in my past life, the wood floors had to be removed because of cat urine. I'll never forget the noisy next door neighbor who scavanged some of the flooring to burn in his fireplace. I'm sure he still hates me. I think he blames me to this day because he wouldn't take my advice. No, no, you don't want to burn that stuff in your fireplace! MAYBE in a garage enclosed wood-barrel heater. Oak drenched in cat urine does NOT add mesquite aroma to the BBQ -- or the atmosphere -- or the environment -- OR in your Family Room.

I prefer garlic.
 

Brad Pack

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
California
It turns Section 221 does not apply in this case and local code reflects Dougs post........ "only if more than 30 or more inches high" according to the City.
Paul,

I'm not sure that I understand your response.
Re-read the following:

3-5 CODE ENFORCEMENT FOR EXISTING PROPERTIES
Local municipalities design local housing code standards;
therefore, enforcement of such housing standards rests with the
local authority. HUD does not have the authority or the
responsibility for enforcing local housing codes except for
mortgages on properties to be insured under Section 221(d)(2)-a
program with mortgage limits at $36,000. Loans insured under
Section 221(d)(2) of the National Housing Act require code
enforcement. The appraiser should contact the lender for further
instructions if the mortgage is to be insured under Section
221(d)(2).

Bottom line:

#1 FHA appraisers are not to enforce local code under the guise of FHA mandate.

#2 FHA insures the loan, not the local municipality. Therefore, FHA determines what is and what is not an acceptable property standard.
 
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