38 CFR § 36.4365 - Appraisal requirements.
(a) Existing resale condominiums. Upon acceptance by the local office of the organizational documents, the project and unit(s) proposed as security for guaranteed financing shall be appraised to ensure that they meet MPRs (Minimum Property Requirements) and are safe, sanitary, and structurally sound. The Department of Veterans Affairs MPRs for existing construction apply to all existing resale condominiums including conversions, except that water, heating, ventilating, air conditioning and sewer service may be supplied from a central source.
(b) Proposed condominiums or existing condominiums with declarant in control or marketing units -
(1) Low rise and high rise condominiums. Low rise and high rise condominiums shall comply with local building codes. Only the alterations, improvements, or repairs to low rise and high rise buildings proposed to be converted to the condominium form of ownership must comply with current local building codes, unless local authorities require total code compliance on the entire structure when a building is being converted to the condominium form of ownership. In those areas where local standards are nonexistent, inferior to, or in conflict with Department of Veterans Affairs objectives, a certification will be required from a registered professional architect and/or registered engineer certifying that the plans and specifications conform to one of the national building codes which is typical of similar construction methods and standards for condominiums used in the area. Those portions of the condominium conversion which are not being altered, improved or repaired must be appraised in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section.
(2) Horizontal condominiums. Department of Veterans Affairs policies and procedures applicable to single-family residential construction shall also apply to horizontal condominiums. Proposed or existing (declarant in control or marketing units) horizontal condominium conversions shall comply with current local building codes for alterations and improvements or repairs made to convert the building to the condominium form of ownership unless local authorities require total code compliance on the entire structure when a building is being converted to the condominium form of ownership. In those areas where local standards are nonexistent, inferior to, or in conflict with Department of Veterans Affairs objectives, a certification will be required from a professional architect and/or registered engineer certifying that the plans and specifications conform to one of the national building codes which is typical of similar construction methods and standards for condominiums used in the area. Those portions of the condominium conversion which are not being altered, improved or repaired must be appraised in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section.
(3) Unit completion. All units in the individual project or phase must be substantially completed except for customer preference items, such as interior finishes, appliances or equipment.
(4) Common element completion. All amenities of the condominium (to include offsite community facilities), that are to be considered in the unit value, must be bound legally to the condominium regime. All such amenities as well as the common elements of the project, must be substantially completed and available for use by the unit owners. In large multi-phase projects, the declarant should construct common elements in a manner consistent with the addition of units to support the entire development. The Secretary, in appropriate cases, may approve the placement of adequate funds by the declarant in an escrow or otherwise earmarked account or accept a letter of credit or surety bond to assure completion of amenities and allow closing of VA-guaranteed (or insured) loans. Such funds must be adequate to assure completion of the amenities free and clear of all liens.
(5) Information brochure/public offering statement. When units are being sold by the declarant (not applicable to resales), an information brochure/public offering statement must be given to veteran buyers prior to the time a down payment is received and an agreement is signed, unless State law authorized receipt of the down payment and delivery of the information brochure followed by a period in which purchasers may cancel the purchase agreement without penalty for a specified number of days. Information brochures must be written in simple terms to inform buyers that the association does not provide owner's contents and personal liability policies which are the owner's responsibility. In the event the development is expandable, series, etc., there must be full disclosure of the impact of the total development plan. In expandable, series or other projects with more than one phase, the information brochure must disclose fully later development rights, and the general plans of the declarant for additional phases. If the declarant makes no assurance concerning phases which are not required to be built, the declarant should state that no assurances are given concerning construction, unit sizes, building types, architectural styles, etc. In condominium conversions, the information brochure must list the major structural and mechanical components and the estimated remaining useful life of the components. A brief explanation must be furnished in the brochure explaining that certain major structural or mechanical components may require replacement within a specified time period. If the declarant has elected to place funds into a condominium reserve fund for replacement of a major component under the provisions of § 36.4365(b)(7), the amount of the contribution into the reserve fund must be specified in the information brochure.
(6) Evidence of proper phasing. In an expandable or flexible condominium, evidence of the addition of each phase in accordance with a previously approved general plan of development must be submitted to the Secretary prior to the guaranty of the first loan in the added area.
(7) Additional condominium conversion requirements.
(i) The declarant of any condominium project must furnish structural and mechanical common element component statements on the present condition of all accessible structural and mechanical components material to the use and enjoyment of the condominium. These statements must be completed by a registered professional engineer and/or architect prior to the guaranty of the first unit loan in the project. Each statement must also give an estimate of the expected useful life of the roof, elevators, heating and cooling, plumbing and electrical systems assuming normal maintenance. A minimum of 10 years estimated remaining useful life is required on all structural and mechanical components. In the alternative, the declarant may contribute an amount of funds to the condominium reserve fund equal to a minimum of 1/10 (one-tenth) of the estimated costs of replacement of a major structural or mechanical component (as determined by an independent registered professional architect or engineer) for each year of estimated remaining useful life less than 10 years, e.g. 7 years remaining useful life equals a 3/10 required declarant contribution to the reserve fund of the component's estimated replacement cost. The noted statements and remaining useful life requirement are not applicable to existing resale conversion projects when the declarant is no longer marketing units and/or in control of the association. Expandable or series condominium conversions require engineering and architectural statements on each stage or phase.
(ii) In declarant controlled projects, a statement(s) by the local authority(ies) of the adequacy of offsite utilities servicing the site (e.g., sanitary or water) is required. If a local authority(ies) declines to issue such a statement(s), a statement(s) may be obtained from a registered professional engineer. If local authority(ies) declines to issue such a statement(s), a statement(s) may be obtained from a registered professional engineer.
(c) Presale requirements:
(1) Proposed construction or existing declarant in control. Bona fide agreements of sale must have been executed by purchasers other than the declarant (who are obligated contractually to complete the purchase) of 70 percent of the total number of units in the project. Lenders shall certify as to satisfaction of the presale requirement prior to VA guaranty of the first unit loan. When a declarant can demonstrate that a lower percentage would be justified, the Secretary, on an individual case basis, may approve a presale requirement of less than 70 percent. Reduction of the 70 percent presale requirement will be considered when:
(i) Strong initial sales demonstrate a ready market, or
(ii) The declarant will provide cash assets or acceptable bonds for payment of full common area assessments to the owners' association until such assessments are assumed by unit purchasers, or
(iii) Subsequent phases of an overall development are being undertaken in a proven market area, or
(iv) Previous experience in similar projects in the same market area indicates strong market acceptance, or
(v) The development is in a market area that has repeatedly indicated acceptance of such projects.
(2) Multiphase - proposed or existing declarant in control. The requirements of paragraph (c)(1) of this section shall apply to each individual phase of a multiphase development, taking into consideration that each individual phase must be capable of self-support in the event that the developer does not complete all planned phases.
(d) Warranty. Except in condominium conversion projects, each CRV (Certificate of Reasonable Value) issued by the Secretary relating to a proposed or existing not previously occupied dwelling unit in a condominium project shall be subject to the express condition that the builder, seller, or the real party in interest in the transaction shall deliver to the veteran purchasing the dwelling unit with the aid of a guaranteed or insured loan a warranty against defects for the unit and common elements. The unit shall be warranted for 1 year from the date of settlement or the date of occupancy (whichever first occurs). The common elements shall be warranted for 2 years from the date each of the common elements is completed and available for use by the unit owners, or 2 years from the date the first unit is conveyed to a unit owner other than the declarant, whichever is later, in the particular phase of the condominium containing the common element. For these purposes, defects shall be those items reasonably requiring the repair, renovation, restoration, or replacement of any of the components constituting the unit or common elements. Items of maintenance relating to the unit or common elements are not covered by the warranty. No certificate of guaranty or insurance credit shall be issued unless a copy of such warranty, duly receipted by the purchaser, is submitted with the loan papers.
(e) Ownership and operation of offsite facilities -
(1) Title requirements. Evidence must be presented that the offsite facility owned by an owners' association with mandatory membership by condominium unit owners or condominium unit owners' associations has been completed and conveyed free of encumbrances by the declarant for the benefit of the unit owners with title insured by an owner's title policy or other acceptable title evidence. Offsite facilities conveyed to a nonprofit corporation are the preferred method of offsite facilities ownership; however, the Secretary will consider other forms of ownership on an individual case basis.
(2) Mandatory membership. The declaration of the condominium (each condominium in a series development) and the legal documentation of the corporation or association which owns the offsite facility must provide the following:
(i) The owner of a condominium unit is automatically a member of the offsite facility corporation or association and that upon the sale of the unit, membership is transferred automatically to the new owner/purchaser. It is also acceptable if each condominium owners' association (in lieu of each individual unit owner) is automatically a member of the offsite facility corporation or association coupled with use rights for each of the unit owners or residents. If membership in an offsite owners' association is voluntary, no credit in the CRV valuation may be given for such offsite amenities.
(ii) Each member of the offsite facility corporation or association must be entitled to a representative vote at meetings of the offsite facility corporation or association. If the individual condominium owners' association is a member of the offsite facility corporation or association, each condominium owners' association must be entitled to a representative vote at meetings of the offsite facility corporation or association.
(iii) Each member must agree by acceptance of the unit deed to pay a share of the expenses of the offsite facility corporation or association as assessed by the corporation or association for upkeep, insurance, reserve fund for replacements, maintenance and operation of the offsite facility. The share of said expenses shall be determined equitably. Failure to pay such assessment must result in a lien against the individual unit in the same manner as unpaid assessments by the association of owners of the condominium. If each condominium owners' association is a member of the offsite facility in lieu of individual unit owners, failure of the condominium owners' association to pay its equitable assessment to the offsite facility must result in an enforceable lien.
(3) Declarant payment of offsite facility in a series project. Until the declarant has completed all of the intended condominium phases in a total condominium development or established each condominium regime by filing a separate declaration in a series development, the balance of the total sum of the expenses of the offsite facility not covered by the assessment against the unit owners should be assessed against and be payable by the declarant commencing on the first day of the first month after the first unit is conveyed to a homeowner in the first phase. If this balance is not paid, it must become a lien against those parcels of land in the development area which are owned by the declarant. The collection of such debt and enforcement of such lien may be by foreclosure or such other remedies afforded the corporation or association under local law.
(f) Professional management. Many condominiums are small enough and their common areas so minimal that professional management is not necessary. VA does not have a requirement for professional management of condominiums. The powers given to the owners' association by the declaration and bylaws are fundamentally for “use control” and maintenance of the undivided interest all of the owners have in the common areas. These powers normally include management which may, if desired, be delegated to a professional manager. However, if the board of directors wants professional management, the management agreement must be terminable for cause upon 30 days' notice, and run for a reasonable period of from 1 to 3 years and be renewable for consent of the association and the management. (Management contracts negotiated by the declarant should not exceed 2 years.)