VA minimum requirements for existing housing were prepared jointly by HUD and the Department of Veterans Affairs and apply to existing buildings containing one to four living units and to the sites upon which they are located. The buildings may be detached, semidetached, duplex, or row houses. These requirements also cover the immediate site environment for the dwellings, including streets, and other services and facilities for the site. The property must comprise a single readily marketable real estate entity. Each living unit must contain the following:
- A continuing supply of safe and potable water
- Sanitary facilities and a safe method of sewage disposal
- Heating adequate for healthful and comfortable living conditions. The Field Office may determine that climatic conditions are such that mechanical heating is not required. Dwellings with wood burning stoves or solar systems used as a primary heat source must have permanently installed conventional heating systems that maintain at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit in areas containing plumbing systems
- Domestic hot water
- Electricity for lighting and for equipment used in the living unit
When individual water supply and sewage disposal systems apply, the following shall be required:
- Water quality must meet the requirements of the health authority having jurisdiction. If the local authority does not have specific requirements, the maximum contaminant levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shall apply. For location of wells for HUD-insured properties refer to 24 CFR 200.926d(f)(3) or HUD Handbook 4910.1, Appendix K. If the authority is unable to perform the water quality analysis in a timely manner, a private, commercial testing laboratory or a licensed sanitary engineer acceptable to the authority may take and test water samples
- Each living unit must be provided with a sewage disposal system adequate to dispose of all domestic wastes in a manner which will not create a nuisance, or in any way endanger the public health. Individual pit privies are permitted where such facilities are customary and are the only feasible means of waste disposal, provided they are installed in accordance with the recommendations of the local Department of Health or, in the absence of such recommendations, with the requirements of the U.S. Public Health publication, “Individual Sewage-Disposal Systems”
- Connection must be made to a public or community water/sewage disposal system whenever feasible
Defective construction, poor workmanship, evidence of continuing settlement, excessive dampness, leakage, decay, termites, or other conditions impairing the safety, sanitation or structural soundness of the dwelling shall render the property unacceptable until the defects or conditions have been remedied and the prohability of further damage eliminated.
Mechanical systems must be safe to operate, be protected from destructive elements, have reasonable future utility, durability, and economy, and have adequate capacity and quality. Roof covering must prevent entrance of moisture and provide reasonable future utility, durability, and economy of maintenance. When re-roofing is needed for a defective roof, already consisting of three layers of shingles, all old shingles must be removed prior to re-roofing.
The property must be free of hazards which may adversely affect the health and safety of the occupants or the structural soundness of the improvements, or which may impair the customary use and enjoyment of the property by the occupants. The hazard can be subsidence, flood, erosion, defective lead base paint (24 CFR Part 35) or the like.
In order to insure against conditions which could cause deterioration to the building and seriously affect the marketability of the property, it is required that there is adequate access to the crawl space, the floor joists must be sufficiently above the highest level of the ground to provide access for maintenance and repair of ductwork and plumbing, the crawl space must be clear of all debris and properly vented, and any excessive dampness or ponding of water in the crawl space must be corrected. The site must be graded so as to provide positive, rapid drainage away from the perimeter walls of the dwelling and prevent ponding of water on the site.