VA Loan Minimum Property Requirements: A Reader Question

A reader asks, “What are the heating requirements for a home loan? Is it required to have heat in each room?”

VA loan minimum property requirements for issues like these are not as simple as “the VA rules require A, B, or C”. This is because the VA also requires a home to meet state or local building codes as well as the VA requirements.

A home could be well withing VA MPRs but if it is in violation of local building code, that problem must be addressed as a condition of loan approval where noted by the VA fee appraiser. But what do VA rules say about the reader’s specific question about heating in the home?

According to the VA Lender’s Handbook, Chapter 12, the entire minimum property requirement for heating in the home is as follows:

“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 heat 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

• meet standards in HUD Handbook 4930.2, Solar Heating and Domestic Hot Water Heating Systems, and • 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.”

Careful readers will find much to think about in that last statement. In areas of the country such as parts of the state of Florida, central heat may not be needed–in such cases the VA may waive a requirement for heating systems entirely. However, if local codes require the heating system, VA defers to that local code. VA loan rules do not trump legal building code requirements.

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