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HUD Code Manufactured Home Producers Want Regulatory Fairness and Stronger Congressional Oversight

August 18th, 2014 Comments off

is=hud-making-home-less-affordable--graphic3-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com-A builder of HUD Code manufactured homes contacted MHProNews  Monday morning with comments regarding concerns that arose from a conference call with producers, HUD’s third party inspectors and others they said took place last Wednesday, August 13th at 2 PM ET.

The caller urged that we contact other independent producers, asking them for their take on allegations such as the following:

  • that no cost-benefit analysis is being done by HUD on the impact of their requirements,
  • that the consensus process is being ignored or bypassed,
  • HUD is going past its mandates, 
  • that third party inspectors are essentially benefiting when more regulations are put in place

among other issues raised. Asked about the above allegations, a C-Suite level official at another independent manufactured home (MH) producer made this statement to MHProNews, quoting verbatim:

Your caller is 100% correct, in my opinion, on each and every point made.”

Fear of Regulators?

The original source stated that HUD Code MH producers are “scared to death” about making public or on-the-record statements on such matters, because there are “…so many gray areas in the regulations that it would be easy to get shut down on a relatively minor point, and essentially be put out of business.”

MHProNews  contacted HUD about these allegations. We were informed that MH program director Pam Danner is “out until  Wednesday, September 3, 2014.”  Two alternative contacts were given, including Rick Mendlen, whose voice mail stated he would be “out until August 26th.” Patricia McDuffie  was the other alternate contact, and she nor others at HUD returned our inquiries as of press time.

gao-report-to-congressional-requesters-july2014-manufactured-housing-efforts-needed-to-enhance-program-effectiveness-and-ensure-funding-stability-The MH Industry’s Need to Know

I just do not think most people in our business understand the burden and arbitray nature of the regulations,” a C-Suite level HUD Code builder claimed.

An executive level producer’s comment – likewise shared off-the-record – was “There is no new revelation” in these comments, but empahsized that “It just needs to be better understood” by MH Industry professionals as well as by Congress, who is supposed to be providing oversight to regulators.

Indeed, a recent GAO report issued that was requested by members of Congress, dealt with HUD Code program challenges in some depth.

Regulatory Impact on Potential Home Buyers?

Young people aren’t buying homes,” said a builder, yet “rental rates continue to rise” in the housing market. The source’s point was that regulatory burdens – certainly not only for manufactured housing, but true for other industries including finance – are harming affordability and access by consumers to options they’d normally seek absent those regulations.

Another comment was that much of what comes out of Washington, DC is couched in legalize, making it hard for greater numbers in the industry to relate to the true impact of this or similar issues regarding “regs.”

The same could be said about finance and regulations,” a lender told MHProNews.  “Nor am I talking about MH regs alone, just look at the number of community banks that have shut down since Dodd-Frank went into effect.” Regulatory costs are easier for the larger banks to deal with, that source asserted.

Off the Record from HUD?

The Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) is the body that the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000) established to insure reasonable and effective regulations. A source close to the HUD MH Program stated the following:

I assume the manufacturers are complaining about program guidance. The only thing that must be submitted to the MHCC for comment are actual regulation changes.  Guidance may be written, but unlike regulations, guidance does not have the force and effect of law.  While guidance may determine how HUD and its agents (IBTS, IPIAs and DAPIAs) will go about enforcing the regulations, they are not law and are subject to legal challenge.” 

MHProNews  was also told by an informed source:

Well, the new label fee is now law.  Honestly, I think it is justified.  Congress has stopped supplementing the program budget with tax dollars, so they really needed a big increase.   When you think about it, $100 per unit really isn’t that much to reimburse HUD for all the program activity that unit requires.  One problem I can see would be the windfall HUD would gain if the industry experiences a strong recovery. I’m for a label fee rule that would be based on a formula that would adjust based on production.” 

More than just hikes in HUD Label Fees…

A source who spent years with a major MH producer emailed MHProNews the following statement on these issues:

I can tell you the following.

· The HUD Label is a pass through to the end consumer. It is a line item like any other option and it is marked up like any option. The end consumer will bear the brunt of additional HUD Label cost. Just like the Beef industry. The end consumer ultimately pays for all material or labor increases.

· Larger manufacturers can implement regs much easier because they have a Quality Control Manager at each plant and this is his or her only job where at smaller independent manufacturer this job may be assigned to someone in the plant that has other responsibilities.

· The HUD Labels have to be purchased from the State SAA or whatever state agency has the IPIA Inspection contract and are issued after completed inspection. They are not purchased directly from HUD.

· All Manufacturers fear additional HUD Regulations because the HUD Code already takes up a 3000 page book of requirements and you can only teachlaborers so much.

· To interpret and build to a new HUD Reg wrong, even though unintentionally, can result to thousands of dollars in fines and Temporary Plant Closure.

· When HUD pinpoints a Reg that a plant has not adhered to it can also require the plant to go back and change every house in the field they have ever built which can cripple a Manufacturing facility. So yes, there is a high degree of fear by all plants.

·The lower your production levels are, the more dollars per unit new Regs can cost. All plants are operating at roughly 50% to 65% of their capacity.”

Feeding the above comment back to a previously cited producer drew this reply:

Well said and nice to hear how others live in fear as we do.

Yes, the labels are a pass through and in and of itself not crippling, but in context of all the regulation costs, why has there not been any cost benefit analysis?  If anything””there has to be some push back from the industry or they will frequent this well all too soon.

Keep in mind most of us are building several codes in our facilities because HUD numbers have dropped so far, making additional regulations and changes even more difficult to deal with. The more we have to deal with, the less ability we have to build our mandate: high value homes.”

This comment below from yet another industry professional/MH producer, likewise given the opportunity to be on or off the record with MHProNews, stated as follows regarding the impact of regulations by HUD on builders:

I agree on all fronts, I don’t seeing what naming anyone does to benefit the cause. The fact that no one can justify being on record should say more about how oppressive HUD and this administration is to our industry.“##

(Editor’s Note: On or off the record comments are welcome: iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com.)

(Graphic credits: GAO Report cover, and Making Home Affordable – albeit modified – as shown.)

Inside the CFPB and the HUD Code Manufactured Housing Program

August 18th, 2014 Comments off

hud-label-cfbp-logo-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comCertainly reports from MHI or MHARR carried here on MHProNews bring you news and information about the CFPB as well as HUD’s manufactured housing program. But nothing is quite like the insights from someone who has recently worked in both offices. That is the true “inside perspective” brought found in our exclusive interview,A Second Cup of Coffee with…Bill Matchneer.

Matchneer – who has been doing consulting work for MHI – has also responded to a recent MHARR press release sent from Danny Ghorbani’s email address; see Bill’s reply here. ##

(Images: HUD Code home label for MH and CFPB logo)

 

Proposal would Ban Single-section Manufactured Homes from Town

August 7th, 2014 Comments off

Ethiopian_Stop_Sign.svg wikipediaNew ordinances proposed by the West Frankfort, Illinois Planning Commission would prohibit the siting of single-section manufactured homes (MH) within the city limits, as well as ban any manufactured home communities from being in the city. According to dailyamericannews.com, the codes regarding MH have not been updated since 1993, and new codes would not affect any existing MH in town. In addition, MHProNews has learned the proposal reduces the minimum lot size required to 50-feet by 100-feet. Anyone who wants to site an MH must obtain written permission from property owners in a one-block radius, with an appeal to the city council if there is an objection. The city may enforce the ordinance within a 1 1/2 mile radius of city limits. ##

(Image credit: wikipedia.org)

North Carolina Allows Modular Health Care Structures

August 7th, 2014 Comments off

medcottage_n2care_creditFollowing a story MHProNews posted July 24, 2014, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed legislation which exempts temporary health care structures from zoning ordinances, thereby allowing stand-alone modular structures with healthcare amenities to be sited on properties with single-family homes. “This bipartisan legislation will provide an alternative for families to care for loved ones on their own property, instead of placing them in hospitals or other state facilities,” said Governor McCrory. “I’m proud to sign this bill that will make it easier for people with disabilities to live or reside with their families while receiving the care they need.” ##

(Photo credit: n2care.com–modular med care facility)

Defendant Sentenced in Fraudulent HUD Code/Mod Mortgage Scheme

August 7th, 2014 Comments off

handcuffs  ladyars co  ukFollowing a story MHProNews posted June 4, 2014, U.S. District Judge Richard Voorhees imposed a 50 month prison sentence on Marina A. McCuen for her role in a mortgage-fraud conspiracy that originated $158 million in fraudulent federally-secured loans on manufactured and modular homes in North and South Carolina. She worked with two other W. R. Starkey loan officers in helping secure FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans from Phoenix Housing Group based on knowingly inflated income and assets listed for borrowers, and then destroyed loan documents after a Federal investigation into the scheme began. When customers defaulted on loans, the FHA paid insurance claims. Mortgage insurance claims totaled over $24 million, costing the U. S. government more than $15 million. McCuen received $156,000 in commissions, according to citizen-times.com, and will have to pay restitution, the amount yet to be determined, upon completion of her sentence. The other six defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. ##

(Image credit: ladyars.com.uk)

Reno Schools Maintained by Modular Classrooms

August 7th, 2014 Comments off

modular_2_room_classroom__rick_chase_courier_staff_photographer__Kingsley_sch_waterloo_IASchool overcrowding in Washoe County, Nevada has led to the acquisition of 94 modular units, each with two classrooms, over some 30 years, and another $400,000 this year for classrooms for 13 schools in the school district that encompasses Reno. According to rgj.com, at least 15 of the district schools are over capacity, even with the use of modular units, and one of those has no more room for a modular unit. “Unfortunately because of our funding situation where we can’t afford a new school, we are surviving with portable classrooms and we are not building the new schools,” said Pete Etchart, the chief operating officer for the Washoe County School District. Growth projections by the University of Nevada, Reno, reveal the district may need as many as ten new schools in the coming years. ##

(Photo credit: Rick Chase/Courier Staff  Photographer–Kingsley School, Waterloo, Iowa)

Township Working to clean up Manufactured Home Community

August 7th, 2014 Comments off

mh foreclosure   gfhomesandland creditGenoa Township Supervisor Gary McCririe in Michigan says the town has provided free dumpsters for the Suburban Mobile Estates manufactured home community in the past in an attempt to help the residents clean up their neighborhood, according to whmitv.com. He says Suburban continues to need more help and encouragement in that direction, but that enforcement of township ordinances is difficult because it is considered private ownership, as MHProNews understands. Noting they will be looking to the township’s ordinance officer for guidance, McCririe says they may have to adopt new ordinances to deal with the situation which will require public hearings and planning commission involvement. ##

(Photo credit: gfhomesandland.com–manufactured home)

MHC Water Main Break Prompts Boil Water Advisory

August 7th, 2014 Comments off

chateauestatescommunity  com  creidt  swanton ohio  25  mins ne from daytonMHProNews has learned from springfieldnewssun.com in German Township, Ohio the Chateau Estates manufactured housing community (MHC) suffered a water main break Tuesday, and residents have been advised to boil water. While one resident claims he noticed water seeping up near the area of the break several days ago and notified the office, Chateau Estates Administrator Jack Duncan says management did not know of a problem until the main broke. Repair work began Wednesday afternoon and was expected to be completed by day’s end barring any unforeseen problems. Larry Shaffer, Clark County Combined Health District’s director says the MHC is following the correct protocols. “A boil advisory has been issued and they have been working with the Ohio EPA,” he says. In the past, Chateau had to install an experimental system to remove arsenic from the water in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And more recently, the community had to connect to the North Hampton sewer system because its own wastewater treatment plant was insufficient. ##

(Photo credit: Chateau Estates)

Approaching 5 Years and Version 3.0!

August 7th, 2014 Comments off

5th-anniversary-graphic-fireworks=wikicommons-crowd=li-penny-flickrcc2-posted-mhmsm-comAs we’ve hinted or stated a few times, we’re upgrading our site to handle the ever-growing traffic and content.

With the approach of our 5th anniversary online, we’re also planning by year’s end to launch version 3.0 of the MH Industry-leading trade journal, MHProNews.com.

Changing for the Better

Between now and the launch of our new site, there will be periodic updates necessary. These may look like outages, but the back end and often much of the site – such as the blogs – may still be up. If you encounter that, you can use the newsletter blog your emailed news updates to navigate any time you might not see the home page.

We thank all our readers and supporters – like you! – for understanding and patience during those times of ‘cyber dust.’

As you will see in the neat future, the changes will be worth it. Just as the upgrade to version 2.0 of our site brought a big increase in traffic, that’s what we’ll expect following this planned update too.

In a site as large as MHProNews.com – which one WebTech told us is about the size of a B market news site – our thousands of pages of growing content are part of what has made us the runaway favorite for “Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use.” It also means it takes more time to do a major site make-over!

mhpronews-pageview-graphic-source-webalizer-posted-mhmsm-com1-

Facts per Webalizer.

The 2,028,336 page views on MHProNews in July is like 63,385.5 thirty two (32) page magazines being read, cover to cover! From what we know, that dwarfs any of the industry’s publications or news sites, even going back to the “go-go” 90s! We have about the same level of traffic and page views as the next 4 or 5 ‘similar’ industry resources combined. Clearly, readers are discovering valuable insights here.

 

When it comes to dependability, our overall up-time on our site has been some 99.89%

(much better than the federal healthcare exchange website 😉 – thanks in part to the Liquid Web support team.

 4,267-guests-online-mhpronews-

At 3:55 PM ET on 8.6.2014, we had, 4267 guests online at the same time…

Imagine, that 4,267 guests online at 3:55 PM ET on 8.6.2014 is roughly the combined total of all attendees and exhibitors at the two largest industry events – the Louisville and Tunica MH Shows – for all of the 2 1/2 days for each event; but all being online on our site at the same time.

 

The numbers of news tips and new email sign ups continue to rise. The number of sponsors grows, as do inquiries from potential new advertisers. The future looks bright.

 

MHProNews version 3.0 is
Coming soon to a Laptop, PC or Hand-Held Device near you…

mockup-proto-test-page-5-mhpronews-com-coming-version-3.0-

This is a composite mock-up of the top of the planned prototype update; FYI
no politics are intended or implied. This is shown to give a sense of how
the new the MHProNews – version 3.0 – will look!


There will be modern sliders and easy ways to scan and navigate.


Compare the planned look we have vs. the some examples from other
major media news sites, shown below.

Time-lines on a large website format upgrade is not easy to predict, but by year’s end, perhaps sooner, you’ll see something that looks like the above. The plans we’re exploring include, but are not limited to, more videos and interviews, a discussion forum, more robust comments section, gallery, reports and other contemporary news/trade journal features.

nbc-news-credit-posted-mhmsm-daily-business-news-com-

 

Comparison to NBC (above) or FOX (below) news sites,
credit for each site to their respective organizations.

fox-news-credit-posted-mhmsm-daily-business-news-com-

 

cnn-credit-posted-mhpronews-daily-business-news-

 

Credit: CNN (above), WSJ (below).

wall-street-journal-credit-posted-mhmsm-daily-business-news-

Bottom line, we’ll have a similar professional look and features that
many large news organizations websites use.

We are also looking at the best ways to deliver more people, products, places and online meeting features. Ease of navigation will also be part of the revised site plan.

We believe the future of MH is bright. So we’re investing, growing and preparing for that future with you. Please watch for periodic updates, and on behalf of all on the MHProNews.com team, thank you for your readership and support. ##

(Image credits: MHProNews logo, Li Penny at FlickrCC, WikiCommons, screen capture from the footer of MHProNews home page and web-screen captures from their respective media sites, as shown above.)

UMH Opens Regional Manufactured Housing Sales Center

August 1st, 2014 Comments off

umh-sales-center-port-royal-belle-vernon-pa-manufactured-homes-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com-UMH Properties, Inc. has announced the opening of a new Regional Manufactured Home Sales Center located in Belle Vernon, PA. The center is adjacent to Port Royal Village, one of the public traded company’s many communities. Bob VanSchuyver Jr., Assistant V.P. Sales for UMH Properties, Inc., said: “ The premier sales center features 6 fully decorated model homes featuring Champion (Redman), Skyline and Eagle River homes. The grand opening and ribbon cutting included members from the Rostraver township Chamber of Commerce and the Rostraver Township Board of Commissioners. Patrick Egros, board Chairman presented a letter welcoming the UMH Sales Center to Rostraver Township.” As MHProNews knows, UMH has been on a strong 5 year growth track, more than doubling the size of their portfolio during that time. UMH now has more than 15,000 home sites, after their most recent acquisitions closed. ##

(Photo credit: UMH Properties, Inc.)