VA guidelines

VA Loans Reader Question: VA Minimum Property Requirements

January 2, 2012

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VA Loans Reader Question: VA Minimum Property Requirements

Over the holiday break, a reader question came in asking about the specifics of VA Minimum Property Requirements, also known as MPRs for short.

“I would like a listing of the VA’s minimum property requirements. For example: I know that each floor of the home must has smoke and CO detectors. What other requirements are there?”

This question would cover a great deal of ground–too much to fully answer here, but some of the basics include basics such as the minimum requirements for the home itself, safety, access issues and more.

For example, in order for a home to meet VA minimum property standards, it must be equipped with a heating/air conditioning system that is large and powerful enough to adequately service the size home it is installed in. A house must be furnished with designated spaces for sleeping and cooking.

The water supply must be in compliance with local building codes and safety regulations, and the property cannot be located within what the VA calls a “high voltage easement”, which means the home can’t be situated under high voltage power lines.

The home’s electrical systems must also meet local standards as enforced by state or local law–in many cases VA MPRs defer to local building codes and/or regulations. A home that is not in compliance with local code will not be in compliance with VA guidelines unless a specific exception is made on a case-by-case basis (where permitted by VA regulations).

VA minimum property requirements also include restrictions on the commercial use of the home–no more than 25% of the floor plan can be used for “non residential purposes.”

These are just a few of the areas VA MPRs address–you can view the entire list of rules and requirements related to VA MPRs by downloading Chapter 12 of VA publication 26-7. This download is available directly from the Department of Veterans Affairs official site.

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6 Comments
  1. Steve Gaylo

    Does the smoke and CO detectors requirement make any allowance for split-level homes, where you might have three levels within a total building height of only about 20 feet? Or, would such a relatively small home have to have a total of six detectors?

  • Joe Wallace

    VA rules defer to the local building codes--you'd need to check local code to see what the requirements are for smoke detectors in your area. Hope this helps!

  • Chelsea

    Are there any specific VA MPR's about the age of a home? My husband and I heard a rumor that the house can't have been built earlier than the 1970's. That doesn't sound right, but the person who told us was insistent that they were correct about this. It just doesn't make sense to us - MANY of the homes in our area are older constructions, if we had to follow those limitations, we'd be extremely limited in what we could buy.

    • Joe Wallace

      My understanding of the VA MPR rules is that there is no specific age cutoff for a given property when referring to existing construction houses (not mobile homes). VA MPRs require the home to be safe, habitable, and in compliance with local building codes, but the age of the home shouldn't be a factor--only its condition. If local building codes have rules about the specific age and condition of a home, VA MPRs would defer it the local ordinances.

  • Scott

    Are there restrictions on proximity to Power/Transmission lines?

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