Minimum Property Requirements for Portland VA Loans

Minimum Property Requirements:

Information from VA Pamphlet 26-7, Revised Chapter 12: Minimum Property Requirements


Space Requirements

Each living unit must have the space necessary to assure suitable

  1. living
  2. sleeping
  3. cooking and dining accommodations, and sanitary facilities.


Mechanical Systems

Mechanical systems must:

  1. be safe to operate
  2. be protected from destructive elements
  3. have reasonable future utility, durability and economy, and
  4. have adequate capacity and quality.



Heating must be adequate for healthful and comfortable living conditions.

If the property has an unvented space heater, see the requirements in Section 11.12.

Homes with a wood burning stove as a primary heating source must also have a permanently installed conventional heating system that maintains a temperature of at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit in areas with plumbing.

Solar systems for domestic water heating and/or space heating must:

  1. meet standards in HUD Handbook 4930.2, Solar Heating and Domestic Hot Water Heating Systems, and
  2. be backed-up 100 percent with a conventional thermal energy subsystem or other backup system which will provide the same degree of reliability and performance as a conventional system.

Note: VA field stations may determine that climatic conditions are such that mechanical heating is not required.


Water Supply and Sanitary Facilities

Each unit must have the following:

  1. domestic hot water
  2. a continuing supply of safe and potable water for drinking and other household uses, and
  3. sanitary facilities and a safe method of sewage disposal.

Reference: For requirements regarding individual water supplies and individual sewage disposal systems, see Section 12.08.


Roof Covering

The roof covering must:

  1. prevent entrance of moisture, and
  2. provide reasonable future utility, durability, and economy of maintenance.

When a defective roof with three or more layers of shingles must be replaced, all old shingles must first be removed.


Crawl Space

The crawl space must:

  1. have adequate access
  2. be clear of all debris, and
  3. be properly vented.

The floor joists must be sufficiently above the highest level of the ground to provide access for maintenance and repair of ductwork and plumbing.

Any excessive dampness or ponding of water in the crawl space must be corrected.



Natural ventilation of structural spaces such as attics and crawl spaces must be provided to reduce the effect of excess heat and moisture which could cause decay and deterioration of the structure.



Each unit must have electricity for lighting and for necessary equipment.



Facilities such as laundry and storage space or heating may be shared in two-to-four living unit buildings under a single mortgage.



Utility services must be independent for each living unit, except:

  • living units under a single mortgage or ownership may share water, sewer, gas, or electricity as long as there are separate service shut-offs for each unit, and
  • living units under separate ownership may share connections from the main to the building line when those connections are protected by easement or covenant,
  • and a maintenance agreement acceptable to VA.

Individual utilities serving one living unit shall not pass over, under, or through another living unit unless there is a legal provision for permanent right of access for maintenance and repair of the utilities without trespass on adjoining properties.


Access to Property

Each property must be provided with a safe and adequate pedestrian or vehicular access from a public or private street. 

Private streets must be:

  1. protected by a permanent easement, and
  2. maintained by a homeowners association or joint maintenance agreement.

All streets must have an all-weather surface.


Access to Living Unit

Access to the living unit must be provided without passing through any other living unit.

Each living unit must be able to be used and maintained individually without trespass upon adjoining properties. Any easements required must run with the land.


Access to Rear Yard

Access to the rear yard must be provided without passing through any other living unit.

For a row-type dwelling, the access may be by means of:

  1. alley
  2. easement
  3. passage through the subject dwelling, or other acceptable means.


Access for Exterior Wall Maintenance

There must be adequate space between buildings to permit maintenance of the exterior walls.



The property must be free of hazards which may:

  • adversely affect the health and safety of the occupants
  • adversely affect the structural soundness of the dwelling and other improvements to the property,
  • or impair the customary use and enjoyment of the property by the occupants

Defective Conditions

Conditions which impair the safety, sanitation, or structural soundness of the dwelling will cause the property to be unacceptable until the defects or conditions have been remedied and the probability of further damage eliminated. Such conditions include but are not limited to:

  1. defective construction
  2. poor workmanship
  3. evidence of continuing settlement
  4. excessive dampness
  5. leakage
  6. decay, and termites


The site must be graded so that it:

  • provides positive, rapid drainage away from the perimeter walls of the dwelling, and
  • prevents ponding of water on the site.

Wood Destroying Insects/Fungus/Dry Rot

Appraisers must look for and report evidence of wood destroying insect infestation, fungus growth, and dry rot in addition to any VA requirement for an inspection of the property by a wood destroying insect inspector.

Lead-Based Paint

Lead-based paint constitutes an immediate hazard that must be corrected, unless testing shows that lead is not present in the paint at a level above that permitted by law.

Appraisers must:

  • assume that a defective paint condition (involving cracking, scaling, chipping, peeling, or loose paint) on any interior or exterior surface of properties built prior to 1978 involves lead-based paint
  • clearly identify the location of such conditions, and
  • recommend correction.

Any defective paint condition identified must receive adequate treatment to prevent the ingestion of contaminated paint. Either

  • the surface requiring treatment must be thoroughly washed, scraped, wirebrushed or otherwise cleaned to remove all cracking, scaling, peeling, chipping and loose paint and then repainted with two coats of a suitable nonleaded paint, or
  • the paint shall be completely removed or the surface covered with a suitable material such as gypsum wallboard, plywood or plaster before any painting is undertaken if the paint film integrity of the surface needing treatment cannot be maintained.


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