May 28, 2020

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FHA Loan Rules: When Landlords Sell To Tenants

071Sometimes when a borrower wants to buy a property with an FHA mortgage, it’s a situation where the applicant has been renting for some time and has an offer from the landlord to purchase. FHA loans do permit these transactions but there are special rules that govern them.

These rules, published in HUD 4000.1, state that in some cases a higher down payment is required. But in others an exception to that requirement is possible depending on the relationship between landlord and tenant.

The higher down payment requirement is needed because tenant/landlord sales can fall under something known as the “identity of interest” rule, which requires a 15% down payment in cases where identity of interest applies.

According to HUD 4000.1:

“The maximum LTV percentage for Identity-of-Interest transactions on Principal Residences is restricted to 85 percent. The maximum LTV percentage for a transaction where a tenant-landlord relationship exists at the time of contract execution is restricted to 85 percent.”

Naturally, the question that follows is, “What about the exceptions? Who is eligible for one?” According to HUD 4000.1 the following transactions are exempt from the higher down payment requirements:

–Family member purchasing from other family
–A builder’s employees purchasing from the builder
–Corporate transfer purchase (related to the company buying a home for a relocating employee)
–Existing tenants buying from landlords (with an existing lease for at least six months residency prior to purchase)

In these cases, normal FHA down payment rules apply. The minimum 3.5% cash investment rule applies and if a borrower’s FICO scores are not high enough to qualify for maximum financing, higher down payments may be required regardless of the exception to the identity of interest requirements.

Discuss your specific needs with a loan officer to determine what may be possible in your circumstances and remember that your lender may require additional documentation in cases where proof is necessary to establish an exemption based on the information given above.

Do you work in residential real estate? You should know about the free tool offered by It is designed especially for real estate websites; a widget that displays FHA loan limits for the counties serviced by those sites. It is simple to spend a few seconds customizing the state, counties, and widget size for the tool; you can copy the code and paste it into your website with ease. Get yours today:


Joe Wallace - Staff Writer

By Joe Wallace

January 8, 2016

Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association. He was Managing editor for for (8) years and is currently the Associate Editor for

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About was launched in 2010 by seasoned mortgage professionals wanting to educate homebuyers about the guidelines for FHA insured mortgage loans. Popular FHA topics include credit requirements, FHA loan limits, mortgage insurance premiums, closing costs and many more. The authors have written thousands of blogs specific to FHA mortgages and the site has substantially increased readership over the years and has become known for its “FHA News and Views”.

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