VA Loan Rules For Lead Paint
In several recent posts, we’ve discussed the VA appraisal process and what it means to have a home reviewed by a VA assigned fee appraiser. The appraisal is designed to establish a property’s fair market value and make sure the home lives up to VA minimum property requirements. The appraiser looks for conditions that might make the home unsafe, unlivable, or become so in the future.
For example, when reviewing basements, the VA appraiser will note any pools of standing water, leaks, foundation cracks or other problems readily observable. If the appraiser notices asbestos, that also goes into the report. The appraiser is also guided by the VA stance on lead paint, which includes the following;
“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.”
That is from the VA Lender’s Handbook, which also adds that a VA assigned appraiser 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…”
In these cases, the appraiser is required to note the location and nature of the defective paint condition and recommend corrective action. VA rules state, “Any defective paint condition identified must receive adequate treatment to prevent the ingestion of contaminated paint.”
What kind of treatment is recommended? To begin, “the surface requiring treatment must be thoroughly washed, scraped, wirebrushed or otherwise cleaned to remove all cracking, scaling, peeling, chipping and loose paint”.
The area must then be repainted with “two coats of a suitable nonleaded paint”. The VA also requires the lead paint to 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.”