Tripping on driveways and FHA loans

Can a cracked or raised driveway be an issue for an FHA loan? If the damage is deemed a safety issue for whatever reason, then it is something that will require correction. However, if the damage is minimal and hardly noticeable, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Let’s look at a real life example.  

The tree roots in this front yard in Sacramento have made a very obvious impact to the driveway. It’s not hard to miss damage like this, right? The photo above does give the illusion that the raised driveway is truck-sized, but my shoe below helps show more clearly that one slab has been pushed 3-4 inches higher than the other slab. It’s always important to bring in an object to the photo to help give perspective (maybe a ruler, quarter, dollar, etc… or shoe).

A trip hazard is a subjective call to make by the appraiser and not necessarily an automatic repair, but in this case above my sense is that this is a legitimate safety issue. There is confusion over trip hazards due to HUD Mortgagee Letter 2005- ML-48 (pdf) which indicates that trip hazards are no longer an automatic repair. Sometimes this is interpreted to mean that trip hazards are no longer an issue to be called out, but that’s not really the intent of FHA because guidelines require a property to be free of all known hazards and adverse conditions that might affect the health and safety of occupants.

Do you think a driveway as such might be a safety hazard? Have you encountered difficulties funding a loan due to a driveway like this?

If you have any real estate appraisal, consulting, or property tax appeal needs in the Greater Sacramento Region, contact me at 916.595.3735, by email, on our appraiser website or via Facebook


  1. says

    Great question Ryan. I have never really thought about the sidewalk or driveway (never had any this bad) but as you said, I think this would be a legitimate issue since someone could trip, fall and hurt themselves. I would certainly note it.

  2. says

    This article is old, but I just found it. I am appraising a property now with a heaved driveway. I typed in the words: FHA GUIDELINES ON CRACKED DRIVEWAY on google, and this was at the top of the list! Great info and has helped me complete the appraisal I am doing. Thank you.

  3. Kelly Fontes says

    Appreciative the posting. I sent this link on a FHA loan to the lender that just got canceled because of a 1″ to 1.5 inch variation/tripping hazard on the driveway. No one wanted to touch it, so they just put in back on the market “cash/conventional only”.

    Now that is a separation of earth and concrete

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