When VA borrowers go house hunting, they’ll find a wide range of options, including swimming pools and fireplaces. The VA loan rules regarding these options are often in place to cover safety issues related to the special features. Some homes for sale include something called a ventless fireplace — defined by the Department of Veterans Affairs lender’s guide as a “non-electric, non-vented fireplace” that uses liquid or gas fuel.
When a VA loan applicant finds a home that has one of these ventless units, there are VA property requirements that must be met during the VA appraisal so that the home may be approved for purchase with a VA home loan.
The first requirement is that the ventless fireplace is listed in the appraisal report along with a written acknowledgment from the buyer. This acknowledgment must include the buyer’s statement that basically says, “I understand this ventless fireplace or non-vented space heater has not been inspected or approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
But the buyer isn’t the only one who must make acknowledgments. For proposed construction, new construction AND existing construction homes, a written statement from a heating and air conditioning contractor is required.
That statement must include an affirmation that the ventless unit meets local building code and/or is installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions if no local building code applies.
The contractor must also certify that the ventless unit has an oxygen depletion sensor installed. Again, this requirement is listed for all types of homes, not just new or proposed construction. It applies to ventless fireplaces, but also to similar types of space heaters that do not vent to the outside.