As a champion of housing for low- and moderate-income borrowers, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has established guidelines for manufactured housing, commonly known as mobile homes. The Federal Housing Administration, an agency within HUD, insures manufactured homes and upholds HUD's requirements for mobile home foundations in determining property eligibility for insurance.
FHA foundation requirements for manufactured homes can be found in FHA Handbook 4150.2, which is accessible through HUD's website. A mobile home is a dwelling built in a factory that can be transported to a site, possibly in sections, for installation. FHA requires that mobile homes are built and remain on a permanent chassis (steel frame) when installed. FHA, in general, insures principal residences, so the mobile home must be designed as such and it must sit on a permanent foundation built to FHA criteria.
FHA Foundation Criteria
FHA-eligible foundations require permanent water and sewer service, which is approved by the municipal authorities, if available at the site (excluding homes with septic systems). The borrower and emergency vehicles must be able to access the property adequately, so an all-weather roadway must lead to the site. The entire property (not just the mobile home space) must be taxable as real estate. Once installed, the towing hitch or running gear must be removed. No part of the foundation may lie below the 100-year flood level, a level of flooding having a 100-year recurrence interval.
Manufactured housing must comply with the Permanent Foundation Guide for Manufactured Housing, a HUD handbook for manufactured homes. The lender must furnish the appraiser a certification with the seal and signature of a licensed engineer who inspected the home's foundation.
Sufficient anchoring, support and stability of the mobile home must be evident at the time of the appraisal inspection. An FHA-approved appraiser must inspect the crawl space for concrete footings that support the home with tie-downs anchored to the them, according to the FHA Handbook. The foundation must have weather protection and material impervious to rot and infestation. The appraiser must require that an engineer further inspect the foundation if she sees evidence of problems with the foundation. The engineer's inspection may call for repairs. FHA requires that repairs be completed before closing the loan.
Karina C. Hernandez is a real estate agent in San Diego. She has covered housing and personal finance topics for multiple internet channels over the past 10 years. Karina has a B.A. in English from UCLA and has written for eHow, sfGate, the nest, Quicken, TurboTax, RE/Max, Zacks and Opposing Views.