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VA Loan Minimum Property Requirements: Asbestos

After viewing a recent post about VA minimum property requirements and appraisals, one reader asks, “What about asbestos shingles on an older home?”

Do asbestos shingles need to be removed?

Assuming the reader is asking whether asbestos shingles would disqualify a home from being approved for a VA guaranteed mortgage, or whether asbestos shingles would need to be replaced in order for the property to be approved, we responded to the reader saying local building codes or other applicable law would be enforced in this situation. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not specifically address asbestos singles in it’s minimum property requirements.

That said, the VA does get frequent questions about asbestos, and has posted the following at the VA official site:

“VA does not address asbestos related issues specifically, however, deteriorating asbestos insulation within the confines of a home may be considered hazardous to one’s health. Chapter 12- Minimum Property Requirements VA Pamphlet 26-7, Revised states:

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.”

If asbestos shingles are present on a home and their presence is not affected by local, state, or federal building codes or regulations, the next question is simple; do the shingles pose a health risk?

Deteriorating shingles of any kind could require a roof repair, so before the appraiser even gets to the nature or construction of the shingles the property could be flagged as needing corrections before the sale and be approved.

If the presence of shingles with asbestos fibers in and of itself violates the law, the appraiser would either recommend their removal in accordance with VA MPRs and the related safety requirements, or the appraiser could deny the home if the safety risk is deemed significant.

As always, when it comes to VA MPRs, there is much that is not written specifically in VA rulebooks as state, federal, or other laws already in effect govern these issues.