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Lawsuit Filed Against City to Defend Manufactured Home Owners Rights, led by Equal Justice Non-Profit

July 18th, 2018 No comments
LawsuitFiledagainstCityofNewarkARDefendMobileManufacturedHomeOwnersEqualJusticeUnderLawNonProfitDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Collage, illustration design by MHProNews.

NEWARK, ARKANSAS – on Tuesday, 7.17.2018, Equal Justice Under Law – a national civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. – filed a federal civil rights complaint against the City of Newark for blocking and banishing residents simply because they do not own an expensive home.

 

In 2015, the Newark City Council [AR] passed an Exclusion Ordinance forbidding any mobile home worth less than $25,000 (single-wide1) or $35,000 (double-wide1) from existing within the city limits,” Equal Justice told the Daily Business News on MHProNews in a statement. “Failure to do so is punishable with fines up to $500 a day.”

Newark’s poverty exclusion scheme heightens a serious problem across the state of Arkansas: a lack of access to affordable housing,” stated Chrysse Haynes Director of Communications & Development for Equal Justice Under Law.  “For every 100 working family households living on extremely low income, the state has only 50 affordable homes available. Many Newark and nearby residents, including our plaintiffs, are personally affected by this – who either cannot find affordable housing or who are prevented from offering it.”

Among those affected are Veneda and Robert Marshall a retired married couple.

In order to supplement their social security income, they purchase used manufactured homes, which they fix up and rent out throughout Newark, AR.

With a vacant lot available on Thomas Creek Drive, the couple decided to place a multi-sectional manufactured home there.  But they were prevented from doing so because it did not appraise at $35,000. Yet, dozens of interested responses came to the Marshall’s from an online rental listing.

The Marshall’s stated that they are committed to providing affordable and safe housing to local residents. None of their four properties have ever been cited for a health or safety violation.

DefendManufacturedHomeOwnersRightsAgainstCityLedByEqualJusticeNonProfitNewarkARPhotoMHproNews

This is an important legal action for manufactured home (MH) owners, affordable housing advocates, public officials, and MH industry professionals to consider. Photo supplied by Equal Justice, text graphic added by MHProNews.

Equal Justice believes the city’s arbitrary ordinance is preventing a retired couple on a limited income to utilize the property and resources they have available to them, while further exacerbating the need for affordable housing citywide.

PhilTelfeyanExecutiveDirectorEqualJusticeUnderLawCivilRightsNonProfitDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Provided under fair use guidelines.

Executive Director of Equal Justice Under Law Phil Telfeyan says, “a society and the basic principles of fairness embodied in our Constitution.”

Equal Justice Under Law seeks a declaration from the federal court that the Exclusion Ordinance unconstitutionally discriminates and penalizes individuals based off their wealth status, and seeks an injunction prohibiting the City from banishing residents simply because they are poor, and want to live in an affordable, safe, manufactured home.

 

Key Manufactured Home Industry Takeaway

While Equal Justice is suing on behalf of citizens who want to own an inexpensive manufactured home, this suit and a prior one that was already successful are arguably legal actions that benefit manufactured home sellers too.

The MH Industry and our industry’s millions of home owners owes a note of thanks to the Equal Justice non-profit. See related reports for more details. Editorially, MHProNews applauds such efforts.

 

About Equal Justice Under Law

Equal Justice Under Law offers pro bono assistance to those most in need, giving voice to the silenced and disenfranchised. Our work focuses on a range of criminal and social justice issues. Since our founding in 2014, we have filed 31 lawsuits in 12 states and Washington, DC to end wealth-based discrimination and create a justice system that is truly equal,” the nonprofit told MHProNews. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

Footnote 1) The terminological error is in the original statement, the preferred terminology for a manufactured home, which is what these described homes are, would be single-section and multi-sectional.  Equal Justice will be advised of that, for more details on proper terminology and its significance, see the article linked here.

(Third party images, and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports:

“Mobile Home Ban” Suit Win, “Equal Justice Under Law,” Manufactured Home Owners, Buyers, Industry

McCrory Lawsuit – “Significant Victory Against Zoning Discrimination” – Manufactured Homes

What local officials may or may not realize, is that there is more than a legal cost to their town for such discrimination. There is an economic and development cost too. The report below reflects an academic view that it can costs even modest sized cities millions, and the nation trillions a year, because of discriminatory land use that harms affordable housing such as manufactured homes. Read the report and downloads from the article below for more details.

YIMBY vs. NIMBY, Obama Admin Concept Could Unlock $1.95 Trillion Annually, HUD & MH Impact

 

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“Unconstitutional Taking,” “Gentrification on Trial” in Recent Oak Hill Manufactured Home Community Ruling

July 9th, 2018 No comments

 

UnconstitutionalTakingGentrificationOnTrialRecentOakHillManufacturedHomeCommunityWik8RulingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Easy doesn’t pay well.”

– John Bostick, Sunshine Homes

 

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.”

– Ronald Reagan, Presidential Inaugural Address, Jan 20,1981.  

 

The Oak Hill Mobile Home Park in Iowa had been in Mark Ogden´s family for four decades before it ran into trouble with city authorities, who tried to have it shut it down, citing zoning violations,” said the Thomson Reuters Foundation to the Daily Business News via a news release dated July 5, 2018. 

The long struggle with city officials began in 2014.

AttorneyJamesENervigBrickGengryPCPhotoOgdenOakHillCommunityCaseManufacturedHOusingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThat set up a legal battle between Ogden and the city of Des Moines that finally reached the Iowa supreme court, where in March, seven judges unanimously found in his favor.”

This case placed gentrification on trial for the first time,” said Ogden’s attorney James E. Nervig.

The Ogden decision is the first time to my knowledge that an appellate court invalidated a governmental plan to use a sham safety purpose as a means to further gentrification by elimination of an entire neighborhood of unsightly homes,” stated Ogden’s attorney Nervig, per Reuters’  charitable arm, in a column by Carey L. Biron, with editing by Claire Cozens. 

Des Moines city attorney Jeffrey D. Lester expressed disappointment over the ruling,”  stated Biron, “but rejected the charge the city took CareyLBironPhotoThompsonReutersFoundationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsaction with the aim of shutting down Oak Hill to make way for new development as “absurd and without any foundation.

 

Illicit War on Private Property, and on Affordable Housing? 

Court documents show the ruling was based on the zoning legalities of the park and did not take broader planning issues in account,” stated Biron.

Nonetheless, Ogden said it had been met with relief from other park1 [sic] owners who feared they could be the next target of city authorities,” read their release, which had a number of regrettably common terminology errors, such as the improper use of the word “trailer.”

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

Make a habit of using the correct terminology, it matters.

 

He said there were 30 families living on the site when the city first ordered its closure in 2014, all on low incomes and with nowhere else to go in a city with long waiting lists for government-subsidized affordable housing.” 

Mobile homes, or trailers,1 have grown in popularity in the United States in recent years due to a shortage of affordable housing, but have so far received little government support,” stated Biron.

Indeed, the industry accuses authorities of using zoning laws to try to shut down unsightly trailer parks1 to make room for new housing developments – a charge they deny,” Biron wrote.  

OakHillMobileHomeParkMobileHomeManufacturedHomeINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Original photo, Thompson Reuters Foundation. comments from MHProNews.com. To see full size photo, click here.

Brion’s theme, while marked by numerous nomenclature mistakes1, is an important one to manufactured home professionals, and for affordable housing advocates. It echoes several aspects of years of reports by MHLivingNews or MHProNews.

Reprieve in Community Closure Collision, Another Round Ahead?

A possible recent example that could be offered is the case in Schofield, WI, linked above. But there are several variations of this troubling trend.  Others in the industry who are facing such scenarios, in the light of the Ogden ruling, may find some useful insights.  The linked articles can be read later for increased understanding.

Manufactured Home Community Owners Lost Troubling Creekside Appeals Case

They (local authorities) are just trying to get rid of all the old and want all the new,” Ogden’s attorney said.

 

Court Document Downloads 

A download of the court document on this highly charged issue are linked below. It is from court documents that the “unconstitutional taking” quote in the headline is found.

SupremeCourtofIowaCityofDesMoinesIowaAppelleVMarkOgdenAppelantNo.16-1080DecidedMarch162018

Click here or the image above to get the download of the ruling.

Burton’s report weaves three outside groups into the Reuter’s narrative.

  Prosperity Now, citing Doug Ryan,

  ROC USA, naming Paul Bradley, and

  the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), with no specified person quoted.

Ryan and Bradley are quoted extensively, but MHI is limited to the following; “The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), an industry group, says there is a growing trend of municipalities trying to use zoning and other land use regulations “to restrict or eliminate manufactured housing in their jurisdiction,” wrote Biron.

While MHI is recently making some attempt at influencing the legal battle over such local issues, they have debatably eschewed perhaps their best option.

That possible approach? Consistently arguing the issues with HUD and local jurisdictions, and asking HUD to intervene on the basis of laws such as the enhanced preemption found in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA).  

In the recent Washington Post report on HUD, it was revealed that MHI’s Vice President Lesli Gooch admitted that they took no position on having Pam Danner removed as administrator over the manufactured housing program office. That admission by Gooch is a wake-up call for independent retailers and communities nationally, who’ve complained for years about HUDs overreach, as well as their failures to enforce enhanced preemption.  Gooch/MHI and  MHARR quotes by the Washington Post are found in the article linked below.

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

Those issues about home placement and zoning are largely post-production issues, and would normally fall to a trade group. Trade associations would normally be arguing on behalf of their industry members. But as prominent MHI member Frank Rolfe observed, MHI is often silent on issues good or bad for the industry. Why? 

MHI award winner Marty Lavin told MHProNews that they only work on behalf of the “big boy” members.

‘Tip of Iceberg’ – Rick Rand; Marty Lavin, Communities have ‘No Confidence’ in Manufactured Housing Institute, New National Trade Group Announced

Sam Zell, who’s Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) is a giant in the MH community sector, made the common sense observation last year that heavy regulatory burdens leads to consolidations.

ELS’ Sam Zell – Compliance Costs Destroys Smaller Businesses = Consolidation

Larger firms are better able to deal with heavy burdens. That helps explain why Warren Buffet, who is chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has favored candidates like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. President Obama and Secretary Clinton both supported heavy regulatory regimes, that harmed the interests smaller companies, as well as consumers.

The pattern of failing to successfully advance the interests of community owners is precisely why two state level communities associations broke with MHI last year. They are now launching a new national communities post-production association this year.

New Manufactured Home Industry National Association Related Statements

MHARR – the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, which represents the interests of the independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes – has for years promoted the need for more effective post-production representation.  

MHARR was revealed by the Washington Post as the industry’s unsung hero in having Pam Danner removed at HUD from her role as the administrator of the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP).

While on paper both MHI and MHARR supported Vic DeRose for that OMHP administrator role, it was reportedly an MHI staffer that gave Danner the assist at getting her in at OMHP.  

MHI’s own President, Richard “Dick” Jennison made that admission to select industry members about an MHI VP that helped get Danner her role. Some of those sources so informed MHProNews, and which this publication confirmed at that time with Jennison.

But Jennison was told then by the ‘powers that be’ to “stand down,” per Daily Business News sources, from taking any action about that MHI VP who assisted at getting Danner in at HUD.

Why?

Whatever Jennison’s bosses motivations may have been, the net result is that MHI has years of history as posturing one thing, but often tacitly allowing or doing something entirely different. That comes from numerous industry sources, including those who are or were part of MHI, some of whom held division board member roles.

Only 3 Options – the Elephant in the Room

Let’s make the point about MHI simply. 

  • Where are the amicus briefs by MHI in cases like Ogden?  
  • Why is it only after the Daily Business News exposed the fact multiple times that MHI had failed to contact the CFPB after Mick Mulvaney took the helm there, that MHI finally began asking their members a few weeks ago to write for regulatory relief?

CFPB’s Mick Mulvaney Offers Yet Another Gift to MHVille

While Prosperity Now has years of a mixed pro-MH, but often anti-community owners agenda, at least Doug Ryan and their organization are consistent.

ChrisStinebertManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIPresidentCreditTheJournalManufacturedHomeProfessionalNewsMHProNewsMHI’s own prior president, Chris Stinebert used his exiting article to politely take the Arlington, VA based trade group to task for failing to take necessary steps on lending and other key issues. Troubling evidence like this makes it difficult for MHi to deny their own history. 

These are the sorts of ‘inside baseball’ insights that mainstream reports are unlikely to know, absent input from a consistent source, such as MHARR.

Even the steps that MHI has taken in recent months on the communities front have only occurred after years of pressure from communities owners, professionals, including this trade publication. The balance of MHVille’s trade media, while they may present useful insights on specific topics, routinely fail to hold MHI accountable for their repeated patterns of arguably problematic behavior. 

Instead, in just the past two weeks, a long-time industry blogger took MHARR to task for pressing for more post-production efforts. Where’s the logic or consistency in that source, which has waffled for years between praising and condemning MHI?

 

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews-

George Allen, has a modest following today, which once used to be a large following. As a former client of his told MHProNews, with George “It’s AAA, All About Allen.” If someone is doing good, and Allen’s not somehow in the mix, sources say it is not uncommon for Allen to attempt to undermine that source.  Allen has done some noteworthy things, and is an example of why a wheat and chaff  approach is needed by MH industry professionals. In the 3 quotes from his blog shown above, Allen, without mentioning MHARR, is parroting their position, while attacking MHI’s. Allen has privately thanked MHARR, per an email circulated to a few of his followers, and forwarded by one to MHProNews.  But publicly, Allen is said to “play the game” of seeking to undermine MHARR’s important efforts. MHARR is a producer’s trade boy, and thus focuses on protecting their interests from within the industry and from outside parties too. Much of what MHARR does, such as the removal of Danner, benefits the industry at large. The best they can practically do is more of the same, while encouraging the creation of new, post production trade bodies.

Isn’t that calling the kettle black, when Allen and Roane are also defending community owner Tom Lackey, who generated significant negative media for the industry?  Isn’t that especially troubling, when Lackey still sits on the SECO board today, per their website?

Allenites and Roane supporters are quick to say that they’ve both done good things. No doubt. But shouldn’t Allen and Roane clean up their own mess, before he taunts MHARR for de facto doing good for Allen and Roane’s own followers?

Where was Allen and Roane’s amicus briefs in the Ogden case? Don’t they claim to have a quasi-associations?

Talk can be cheap.

George Allen Reply to Mainstream Media re: Roane/Lackey/SECO Exposé, Plus MHI, MHARR, et al – “Make Manufactured Housing Great Again”

In the wake of challenges and scandals, a MHI member leader recently reminded MHProNews of the importance of accurate, vs weaponized reporting and analysis. He did so in a note of thanks. So while some jeers come this way, often from those closely aligned with MHI or Allen, the fact that more thank MHProNews, and read MHProNews than all others combined should speak volumes.

 

The MHC and Industry Takeaways from the Ogden Case?

Ogden exemplifies the truths that the quote at the top from President Ronald Reagan and Sunshine Homes’ John Bostick respectively said.  

Des Moines is but one of hundreds of local jurisdictions that fail to respect and appreciate the value of manufactured homes, and the work that thousands of land-lease communities that provide affordable unsubsidized living for millions of Americans.  

Based upon local reports, Ogden also is a cautionary tale. When a community fails to maintain standards of appearance or safety, it opens itself up to the kinds of actions that Des Moines undertook. That observation doesn’t justify that Iowa city’s posture and tactics, nor that of numerous others like Des Moines have taken from coast to coast.

But it is a practical reminder that savvy standards in a MH community’s “guidelines for living” ought to be prudently established and enforced. That would likely have made Ogden’s travails easier.

The case also reminds us that government at all levels – local, state, and federal – requires routine engagement. When professionals say, they hate politics or economic issues, and they cede the field to others, the outcome is often detrimental to thousands of members of our industry.

The words of President Reagan at the top should be a plaque in every office in America. 

There is an ongoing need for a new, post-production association that supplants what MHI does for small-to-mid-sized operations if or only when pressed, per several of their own past or present members.

Reality checks on the Ogden case could be mined for years of useful, practical lessons. It is no doubt useful for Iowa community owners, but it also provides helpful insights for those in all other states too. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.)  Footnote: 1 Terminology error is in the original.

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Hundreds of New Manufactured Home Communities Opened, But How Many Have Closed? Industry Research Result$

Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?

Seattle Times -Federal Investigations-Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes, GuruFocus Spotlights Buffett’s Clayton’s “Unethical,” Monopolistic Moat

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How “Location, Location, Location” in Housing Can Shift, and Manufactured Home Industry Impact

June 15th, 2018 Comments off
BoringCompanyElonMuskHyperloopManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Still from video, below.

One of the challenges facing manufactured housing for years falls under the heading of “Location.”

 

In real estate, there is an axiom that the three most important things about a property are location, location, and location. Per the Real Deal,the “Yale Book of Quotations” found the phrase used in a real estate classified ad in the Chicago Tribune in 1926,” so that notion has been around for nearly a century.

The Balance states that, “In a nutshell, location, locationlocation means identical homes can increase or decrease in value due to location.”

All of that may be true, but during an affordable housing crisis, there are tensions created by the dynamics that surround location.

It may sound like a fine point, but location is a common influence on not just housing prices, but land prices.  Among the costs associated with all forms of home building, is the cost of the underlying real estate — the value of the raw or developed land.

Rural land tends to be less costly than urban or suburban land does.  But among the reasons that urban or suburban land is higher, is that there are more people – think more demand – in a metro than in rural areas, by definition.

While there are exceptions, “that metro land cost is higher” rule-of-thumb, along with other dynamics, such as

  • work,
  • schools,
  • shopping,
  • worship,
  • social opportunities,
  • and entertainment, to name a few –

coupled with the law of supply and demand, has for centuries meant that an identical residence in a metro area will tend to cost more than the same residence in a rural setting.

Commuting time has also influenced the “location, location, location” realty mantra for those who are housing hunting.

And that last point, about commuting time, is what is facing a disruptive development that could prove useful to the manufactured housing industry.

But before moving onto the commute issue, a few specific points about manufactured homes in urban and suburban areas.

Some examples will make serve to make the case.

  • Aging manufactured home communities with locations that make them appealing for redevelopment has caused thousands of communities to vanish, while only a few hundred new properties have been opened. The linked articles can be read later for additional facts, insight, and understanding.

Hundreds of New Manufactured Home Communities Opened, But How Many Have Closed? Industry Research Result$

  • Scattered lot placements of manufactured homes have suffered from zoning discrimination – NIMBYism – an issue that tends to push the locations of homes into more rural areas, in a largely urban and suburban society.

 

Local Star Chambers Wage War on Affordable Housing

  • Affordable Housing is in heavy demand. But when the locations that a manufactured home can be placed would require a long commute, that commute time can lead many to pass on the otherwise lower cost manufactured home option.

LawrenceYunNARShort8.3MillionHousingUnitsRisingRentsHousingPricesCuredOnlyByMoreBuilding

 

How Emerging Tech is Poised to Change Some, or Perhaps Much of the Above

The Daily Business News has reported previously on the emerging hyperloop technology.

Can the Hyperloop Benefit Manufactured Housing, Millions of Home Seekers? w/Videos

Billionaire Elon Musks’ first hyperloop is nearing completion in Los Angeles, as the Daily Business News recently reported.

ElonMuskSpaceXTeslaBoringCompanyManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Musk is known for the Tesla, SpaceX and his Boring Company, among other ventures.

In Chicago, Elon Musk’s Boring Company has been awarded a contract to build an underground system that will hit an estimated 150 MPH. Once completed, various sources say it will make the trip from downtown to Chicago O’Hare Airport in about 15 to 20 minutes, instead of some 45 minutes.

The Verge is reporting that the project could start in 3 to 4 months. It could be finished in under 2 years.  And for cash-craving governments, note this point.  That the estimated one billion dollar project will be done using only private capital.

Using these principles, picture other metro areas developing rapid-transit people-movers – be they hyperloop or some other underground system – could dramatically reduce commute times.  That in turn would open up more opportunities for lower cost construction, such as manufactured housing.

 

Other Areas of Industry Concern

This could be part of a revolutionary change for manufactured housing’s ability to attract and sell more prospective urban buyers in the near future.  But as is often the case in MHVille, there are still hurdles.

The industry faces a range of concerns, including, but not limited to:

  • Public perception;
  • Financing – such as a robust Duty to Serve (DTS), plus reforms to FHFA and other GNMA lending;
  • Arguably monopolistic practices – which concerned industry and other expert voices believe is and has been stunting the industry’s growth;
  • Failure to enforce the law, particularly the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, and the aforementioned DTS and related.

See related reports, linked below, for more details on what looks to be a seriously disruptive trend, that is just over the horizon.

Investors, consider what this could mean for those willing to think long-term, and act with vision, passion, and drive.  This could prove to be one of several possible magnets, attracting more to enter into the manufactured housing space. Time will tell. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third party image, and/or content, are provided under fair use guidelines.)

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NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

 

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Manufactured Home Communities, Retailers, Developers Face Disruptive, Troubling Trend

June 8th, 2018 Comments off

TroublingTrendManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNHews

There’s an old axiom that describes the purported three options that someone faces when confronted with a threat.Fight, flight or deal with it.”

 

Marty Lavin, JD, is one of a few voices in manufactured housing who has publicly called out in digital print the problem of discrimination against manufactured homes where thousands can consider it.

MartyLavinJDMHProNewsLavin’s professional history has included involvement in a high volume retail center, land-lease communities, manufactured home lending, and working with a GSE. Lavin made the speaking circuit for years, was featured in the now defunct Manufactured Home Merchandiser Magazine, has periodically contributed for MHProNews, and published himself. He was awarded one of the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) most coveted awards, the Tataro, for his lifetime of service to the industry in financing.

So when Lavin says that “The HUD Code is a discrimination code,” it’s a phrase that should make industry readers across the spectrum sit up, and take notice. It should raise questions, like what does that mean?  We will explore that, and step-by-step see how it leads up to an emerging issue – one that is holding the industry’s sales at bay – related below. 

 

Discrimination Against MH

Ponder for a few moments the fact that modular, prefab, and tiny house builders – those who don’t build manufactured homes – distance themselves from manufactured homes. It isn’t just stick builders, or others in the general public, who attempt to besmirch manufactured housing, often by unjust and inaccurate reference to HUD Code homes as “mobile homes,” or “trailer houses.”   

There are regrettably voices within Manufactured Housing that mix the terminology in problematic ways too.  The need to correct terminology is real.

 

It’s a flawed strategy to diminish manufactured housing, or misuse the terminology, said L.A. “Tony” Kovach years ago. It plays into the hands of those who unjustly target any factory-built home.

Which is part of the reason why MHProNews and MHLivingNews periodically use the Steve Duke quote and graphic below.

Brad Lovin of the NCMHA put a different, but related point on the issue of mainstream media reporting.  

 PublishingHandPickedInformationCanBeWorsefortheImpressionItMakesOnManufacturedHomesandOurIndustryThanStatingEntirelyFalseInfo-BradLovinNCMHA

It is all part of the puzzle that has kept manufactured housing at historically low levels, during an affordable housing crisis.

 

Fractures Within the Factory Housing Industry

There are several fractures, and conflicts that exist within the ranks of factory builders. Modular homes get trucked in too.  Some modular homes have a permanent frame, at times referenced by industry members as “HUDulars,” while other MODs use a detachable carrier.  But site-built housing components get trucked to a job-site too. Does that make a site-built house, a trailer or pick up house?

Retailers have been known for decades to target residents in a land lease community for trading in their older manufactured home, encouraging them to buy a new one that would become part of a land-home package. No more “landlord” is part of the argument made in such cases.

Communities have competed with each other for residents, what some have called “poaching.” While unpopular among land-lease community owners, it is arguably free enterprise at work. Deal with it.

Developers of fee-simple land/home projects are impacted too, as the case below will explain.

All of these fractures demonstrate a lack of industry cohesion. But perhaps it is to be expected.  Certainly HUD has said that they don’t believe that it’s realistic to expect the industry to speak with one voice.  The related report linked below can be read later for additional depth of understanding on the point.

 

 

Regardless, all of the above plays into the hands of those in the offices of local jurisdictions who are prepared to discriminate against the sellers of – or providers of home sites for – HUD Code manufactured homes. 

 

Exclusive Hilton Head MH Development  

A developer and realtor in posh Hilton Head was recently in their local news for proposing a small development of single family manufactured homes.  The owner of the parcel wanted to subdivided it into lots for manufactured homes, to create some more affordable housing there.

HiltonHeadDevelopmentManufacturedHOusingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Screen capture from Google News.

Push-back from NIMBY-minded locals was deafening.  They said they did not want “a trailer park” [SIC] with “mobile homes” [SIC] in their neighborhood.

 SICSicutJournalismDefintionSocietyProfessionalJournalismDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The realtor involved with the Hilton Head, SC, development plan told MHProNews that the homesites would be sold fee simple, they are not planned as a land lease. Every home owner would own their own land, the so-called land/home package.

That important detail that the proposed manufactured home development – that it was not going to be a “park” – didn’t seem to matter to locals.

 NimbyBananaDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHomeLivingMHProNews

It is an example of the prejudice against manufactured homes being displayed for all who “google the news” about this industry to see. It exemplifies Lavin’s point about the HUD Code being used as a discriminatory target. 

While this directly impacts retail sellers of manufactured homes, it impacts factories too, and thus other product and service providers to the industry. 

The Hilton Head and other cases like it raise several legal issues. But law suits might cost that property owner in Hilton Head more than the profits from the sale of that parcel of land for development for manufactured homes may be worth. Sam Zell’s point about defending the property line is an apt one.

sam_zell_2013_ncc_fall_leadership_forum_featured_speaker_photo_credit_mhpronews_com_c_2013_lifestyle_factory_homes_llc_

Zell’s comments on defending the property line, along with other community related comments, are found in the interview linked here.

 

Developing Trend that Communities and Execs are Telling MHProNews

MHProNews has been virtually alone in reporting to the industry news stories like the one in Wisconsin, where local officials want to shut down a community they don’t like, by non-renewal of their operating license.  The details can be read later, in the article linked below.

Reprieve in Community Closure Collision, Another Round Ahead?

That attorney, others, MH Communities professionals, and executives are among those that have called or messaged MHProNews with their insights and concerns on what they described as a “disruptive, emerging trend.” 

Community operators have told MHProNews that they’re concerned that local jurisdictions targeting “blighted” properties near their own well-kept ones, which could be later used as a wedge to arguably undermine their license renewal too. 

 

Non-Renewal 

There are multiple cases in various parts of the nation where local officials are in various stages of non-renewal of a community’s license to operate, which would be a prelude to closing a community.

Such a forced closure could be a prelude to redevelopment with far more costly housing, or other forms of development. The biggest losers are arguably the residents, and they routinely say so to local media. The related report about a corrupt practice raised by Fox contributor John Stossel could be playing out in a similar way in MHVille.

Hundreds of New Manufactured Home Communities Opened, But How Many Have Closed? Industry Research Result$

All of the above are examples of what family-community operator Tom Fath has called an industry under assault.

TomFathTheMHCommunityWillSucceedWhenWeFocusOnFactsNoSaleBasedUponIllusionOrFeelingsDailyBUsinessNewsMHProNEws 

While this impacts producers of manufactured homes indirectly, it is a post-production issue. What have MHI discussions or “task forces” actually done to address such issues?

NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

What positions will that the emerging new national association for community operators take to address such matters? Their stance could decide how many MHI members, or non-aligned communities, they will attract? 

 

Is the Industry’s Image Being Defined by the Lowest Common Denominator? 

Publisher Kovach has been a consultant, service provider, and a multiple award-winning manager/owner involved in the front lines of manufactured home retail and communities for decades. He says that this unjust discrimination against manufactured homes is but another example of how the underlying issues must be dealt with, rather than discussing the symptoms.

Among the reasons that the Daily Business News on MHProNews has spotlighted problems in the industry, is to help industry members fully grasp how officials and the public reacts to stories, like the one in Moscow, Idaho, or the more recent ones coming from Northern Georgia tied to controversial SECO board member, Tom Lackey.  The referenced links below can be read later.

“Jail Him!” NPR’s “Mobile Home Park Owners Can Spoil An Affordable American Dream” Refuted

More than one SECO member has attempted to defend their ‘hands-off Tom Lackey’ position.

One of them said recently that they are trying to lead by example. They attempt to show operators of visually unappealing or problem plagued properties how to upgrade their communities. They don’t want to be cops, policing their own industry.

Understandable. But does that go far enough? And when the SECO planning board members are in the news, drawing problematic headlines, what examples does that set?

 

Spencer Roane w/Southeast Community Owners (SECO), Praises Tom Lackey, Accused of Rent-to-Own Manufactured Home Sales Improprieties

 

In Ohio, stories about actual pre-HUD Code mobile homes burning down were used to change their state’s regulatory structure. It was an entirely unjust line of attack. Resident groups and the state association worked together to attempt to preserve the successful regulatory structure.

But in the end, the voices in Ohio pushing a “dangerous dwellings” narrative image won. Those anti-MH naysayers won, even though manufactured homes are safer than site built homes against a fire.  The anti-MH voices won despite the fact the incidents cited were true mobile homes. The appearance of MHI VP and general counsel, Rick Robinson made no appreciable difference, did it?

Manufactured Homes Commission Abolished, Effective January 21, 2018

 

Getting to the Underlying Issues 

It is the problematic stories in MHVille that are part of the root causes of the industry’s challenges, argues Kovach. It impacts all, but it is largely a post-production issue.  

Each individual business must create a distinction in the minds of the local home buying public. “That’s the opportunity in disguise,” Kovach says. 

Each business, every location, must learn how to effectively define itself. Otherwise, time after time, others will define you, often to your disadvantage.”  UMH’s Sam Landy is correct when he says that ultimately, each business must market itself.

But it is also a problem that an effective post-production national association could be utilized to address such challenges.

Fight, flight or deal with it.” Without dealing with the underlying issues, the industry can expect more of the same. The popular definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things, in the same ways, and expect a different result.  ##  (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third party images, content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports:

Promoting Manufactured Home Ownership – With “Only 1 in 100 Eaten by a Lion”

On Aurora “Mobile Home Park” Closure, related Negative Media Coverage

Local Developer Says MH Community Hurts Property Value

George Allen Blasts MHI, NCC Ignoring Own, Spencer Roane, SECO, COBA7, Tom Lackey Controversies

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Coldwater, Tall Grass, P&Z Battles, Manufactured Home Community Plan OK’d – Manufactured Housing and the Don Westphal Back Story

May 10th, 2018 Comments off

ColdwaterTallGrassP&ZBattlesManufacturedHomeCommunityPlanOKdManufacturedHousingDonWestphalBackstoryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The Coldwater Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend the City Council approve rezoning 20.6 acres from the township R-3 to the city’s AA — Agriculture Residential – for a 102 lot manufactured home subdivision,” said the Daily Reporter.

Leading the charge was Don Westphal.

DonWestphalHeadDailyReporterFarrelRoehTallGrassManufacturedHomeCommunityColdwaterMIDailyBusinessNwesMHProNewsThe petitioners from Farrell-Roeh of Littleton, Colorado want to rezone the land from Coldwater Township R-3 Medium Density Residential Zoning to City of Coldwater Double-A One Family Agricultural Residential Zoning,” said WTVBAM.

Planner Dean Walrack said this was the only match between land zoning categories that the township had zoned and put on its master plan for the manufacture[d] homes,” wrote Don Reid for the Daily Reporter.

This planning and zoning skirmish was done, but it was just one of many for Westphal.

I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape architecture from Michigan State University and a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Illinois,” Westphal told MHProNews.

DonWestphalDailyReporterFarrelRoehTallGrassManufacturedHomeCommunityColdwaterMIDailyBusinessNwesMHProNews

I was accepted into Graduate School late in the spring of 1963 and was unable to find suitable married housing. We purchased a 36X8′ Brentwood mobile home in Muskegon Michigan, welded a hitch on a farm semi and towed it to the Glover Street Trailer Park in Urbana, Illinois. Our little home was perfect for students, but the 17 site trailer park was less than ideal. Rent then was $25.00 per month, and we ended up not having to pay the site fee, in exchange for keeping the washer and dryer in the laundry building clean and placing the mail in each mail slot daily,” Westphal said.

The well-known and award-winning Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member explained how he got into the industry.

While doing some research for a term paper on mobile homes, I found references to the Mobile Homes Manufacturers Association in Chicago and paid them a visit. I met Dick Beitler and Herb Behrend there and was hired as one of two consultants to their Land Development Division which was offering site planning services to developers as a way to improve the design of mobile home parks,” Westphal said.

The industry was trying to improve its image way back in the 60’s. I ended up writing my master’s thesis on Manufactured Housing and as they say, “the rest is history.” I continued as a consultant to MHMA designing communities for several years and taught sessions on planning at several MHMA Site Development Seminars in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Interestingly, Danny Ghorbani joined the staff at MHMA a year or two after I started consulting with MHMA,” Westphal stated to MHProNews. 

danny-ghorbani1st-president-manufactured-housing-association-regulatory-reform-mharr-credit=journalmfdmodularhousing-posted-dailybusiness-mhpronews-

Danny Ghorbani, photo credit, the Journal.

Ghorbani is an engineer by training, who worked for the precursor to what today is called the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

The award-winning Ghorbani later left MHI, and working with independent producers, founded the association that is known today as the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

He retired a few years ago, but is still an advisor to MHARR.  Ghorbani himself was involved in community planning.

 

TallGrassColdwaterMISatViewManufacturedHomeCommunityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Google street and satellite views can become dated, as is the case above. But this reflects how Tall Grass had vacancies before, which have since been occupied by new manufactured homes being brought into the land-lease community. Per the reports, most of those have been for rental housing purposes. The view above tells part of the tale that local media mentioned.

It’s all part of the backstory to the Tall Grass expansion approval, in Coldwater, MI.

 

Coldwater’s Tall Grass – Step Back, Regroup

A previous proposal to develop 9.6 acres was rejected by the planning commission at which point the developers increased the size to move forward. Donald C. Westphal, a partner and designer who lives in a similar development at Grass Lake, said the units “look like regular housing,” wrote Reid.

There are no single wide units but all will be at least 1,568 square foot homes and can be built with two car garages,” said Reid. “There are no basements but “are built solid, modern designs,” per his report in the local paper.

 

 

He [Westphal] explained the homes would be owned by purchasers and placed on leased lots which are a minimum 5,000 square feet. Larry Nelson, from Farrell- Roeh company of Colorado, said as a husband and wife team, they purchased the Tall Grass park for $2.852 million in May 2014 from bankruptcy court. They spent or will spend, by the end of the year, another $480,000 in upgrades and improvements,” per the Daily Reporter.

TallGrassColdwaterMIManufacturedHomeCommunityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Michigan is one of the states where manufactured housing has been heating up in recent years. It is known for a number of more residential style land-lease communities, such as Tall Grass.

The Colorado-based company has 11 similar properties, many in the Midwest, with the Reid adding, “The developers bought two parcels totaling 20.6 acres for $203,324 and will invest another $2.3 million to develop the 102 lots.”

But as hundreds of industry professionals who’ve sat in such meetings know, there is routinely push-back from locals.

This Coldwater case was no exception.

 

MHC Rentals

Melvetta Swick told the commission she was upset because “riff raff” from Tall Grass had thrown trash from around dumpsters, which she claimed ended up in her yard. In response, Nelson promised to increase the size of the dumpsters and monitor that concern. He explained there is a strict policy of who can buy; monitored by a committee as well as background checks completed.

Nelson also said that even when homes are rented, “renters are qualified.”

When Farrell-Roeh took over Tall Grass there were only 177 occupied lots.  The satellite view reflects vacancies.  That occupancy increased to 226, in a year or 95 percent of physical capacity. He explained that the company has averaged 6.4 evictions for the last three years.

As MHProNews has previously reported, many firms are buying new manufactured homes for rental purposes. Farrell-Roeh has done so too at Tall Grass, reportedly purchasing 94 new manufactured homes.  Those are provided on a two year lease.

Counting the homes, there has been a total investment since Farrell-Roeh’s purchase of $6.8 million.

Westphal stated that for security reasons, there will be only one entrance to the entire development. The community will have planted screening from Garfield.

The site plan was approved, subject to the City Council approval of rezoning and adoption of certain local standards, including storm water retention requirements.

A previous proposal to develop 9.6 acres was rejected by the planning commission at which point the developers increased the size to move forward. Westphal, a partner and designer who lives in a similar development at Grass Lake, said the units “look like regular housing,” according to Reid.

There are no single wide units but all will be at least 1,568 square foot homes and can be built with two car garages. There are no basements but “are built solid, modern designs.”

 

More from the Don…

Westphal told MHProNews in an interview linked here that, “For years I have said that the Manufactured Housing Industry has succeeded in spite of itself. Fragmentation of the industry segments has resulted in a serious lack of consumer confidence. Many in the industry have neglected the needs of our customers who could ultimately be our best salespersons. Too many of us blame government or our regulators for the sorry state of the industry. I believe that if the industry spent more of its resources in conveying the value of our product to the public and taking care of our customers, we would have a base of support that would help us to overcome the regulatory and finance issues we face today. Think about it, potentially 20,000,000 sales people for our products and way of life.”

As the quotes above indicate, Westphal is well acquainted with planning and zoning, design and more.

Attractive Garage Additions for Manufactured Homes – Do It Right

There is plenty to unpack from each of these P&Z – planning and zoning – stories from across the country.  But a common thread is that there is resistance, at least initially, that must be overcome.

Local Star Chambers Wage War on Affordable Housing

There is also a reason to wonder why, if the homes planned for this project look residential, then what is the purpose behind MHI’s so-called “new class of homes” that they’ve been promoting for about 2 years?

Another point this case makes is that rentals are a big part of what’s driving occupancy in dozens and dozens of manufactured home communities nationally. What that implies is that there are more rentals than homes being sold at retail being shipped into properties.

Each of these are warning signs for forward thinkers, but they are also opportunities in disguise.

Until the root or foundational issues are addressed, the problem of NIMBY can be expected to continue.  Westphal’s comments, linked above on what’s necessary to advance the industry, suggest parallel issues to consider.  “We Provide, You Decide.”  ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Hundreds of New Manufactured Home Communities Opened, But How Many Have Closed? Industry Research Result$

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform Demands Clarification on “New Class” of HUD Code Manufactured Home

 

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Manufactured Home Nonprofit Affordable Housing Initiative Brings Joy, But Hits Wall

May 8th, 2018 Comments off

MelissaLugoLowCostHighQualityManufacturedHousingLoHUDCortlandNYManufacturedHomeIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNewsMelissa Lugo thought owning a home “was just not feasible, being a single mom with two kids,” says the Cortland, NY LoHud. She’s a 34 year old New York City school teacher, and grew up in this town north of the Big Apple.

 

In 2017, she applied for every home on Westchester County, NY’s affordable housing website, in an effort to make that dream her own. After 51 weeks of documents, calls, and meetings, she closed on her new manufactured home on April 17, 2018.

Having our own space means everything to us. It’s about establishing ourselves,” said Lugo, about their new three-bedroom, two-bath home.  Lugo, and her children — 11-year-old Mat and 10-year-old Mia — said, “Everyone has an individual space, and everyone feels at home.”

She paid $249,000 for the house, which is reportedly some 35 percent less than Zillow’s area median home value, of $381,124. The non-profit Community Housing Innovations (CHI) made the purchase possible.

CortlandNewYorkManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

andreaHaughtonCommunityHousingInnovationsIncCHICortlandWestchesterNYDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsAccording to their website, “Founded in 1991, CHI serves Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Dutchess, and Orange counties located in New York. According to Director of Homeownership Andrea Haughton, a nonprofit like this is necessary due to the rising cost of homes, the lack of available housing, and the increase in homeless working families.”

We provide quality and affordable housing to all,” Haughton says, and “a personalized service for any individual who is seeking housing from a homeless individual to a first-time homebuyer.

Unfortunately, Lugo is one of only two beneficiaries of the plan: mounting challenges, including finding suitable parcels and zoning restrictions, caused the nonprofit to discontinue the nascent effort,” writes Akiko Matsuda for LoHud.

Glowing Praise for Modern Manufactured Homes

AlecAlexanderHRobertsExecutiveDiectorCHICommunityHousingInnovationsWestchesterNYDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsAlec Roberts, executive director of the nonprofit, said manufactured homes, which are built in a factory and shipped to a site versus being stick built on site, can help with the exorbitant cost of developing affordable housing for working-class families in Westchester,” wrote Matsuda.

To build affordable rental apartments, for example.

Roberts said that it would cost more than $400,000 per each apartment unit in his area.  Of that, $250,000 includes federal, state and local taxpayer subsidies, he said. Besides the costs, it isn’t easy finding a home site for apartments, due to environmental, zoning, and NIMBY related forces that oppose apartments.

Manufactured homes are “the last remaining low cost, high quality housing in the nation,” said Roberts, adding he felt neighbors might be less resistant to manufactured homes because they are “more in keeping with the neighborhood.”

As MHLivingNews has reported, HUD contracted university researchers determined that properly installed manufactured homes appreciate side by side with conventional housing. Installations today must meet state and/or federal default standards.

Lugo’s ranch-style home, which was the first to be completed under the manufactured-home initiative, blends in the residential neighborhood in northern Cortlandt,” per LoHud.

The state’s provided $400,000 in funds for 10 $40,000 down payments.  But only two deals will be completed, because of difficulties in getting more lots to build upon. Real estate agents, and every nearby towns were contacted. “We asked every town … but there was no interest. Nobody actually reached out to us,” Roberts said. I want to praise Cortlandt because we got at least two from them.”

I’ll be honest. I’m disappointed,” Roberts said. “I’m very proud of having done it, but I’m disappointed because this could’ve been a great model for preserving the American suburban dream, which is a house with a yard at less cost than a high-rise one-bedroom apartment.”

The story is thus a bittersweet lesson in the affordable housing war, as the manufactured housing solution has found more allies, but not enough support with home sites that could make the American dream a reality for 8 more families.  Roberts will ask the state to allow the remaining $320,000 in grants to be used for assisting the purchase of conventional housing. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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“Trapped. Threatened. Scared.” “Mobile Home [SIC] Owner’s Fears Reflect National Crisis”

May 5th, 2018 Comments off

FriiendlyVilalgeRockeisKinglsleyCommuityDenver7ThortonColoradoManufacturedHomeIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Trapped. Threatened. Scared. That is how thousands of people across the Front Range are feeling and they all have one thing in common: They live in manufactured homes,” says Denver 7 in their report on a manufactured home community in Thornton, Colorado.

 

At a time when about half of all manufactured homes are being shipped into land-lease manufactured home communities – what Denver 7 and others incorrectly call a “mobile home park *” – the solution that manufactured housing offers is being obscured by a steady wave of negative news.

 

PublishingHandPickedInformationCanBeWorsefortheImpressionItMakesOnManufacturedHomesandOurIndustryThanStatingEntirelyFalseInfo-BradLovinNCMHA

 

With housing costs out of reach for many people in Colorado, the only path to home ownership is often through a mobile home park.*” said Denver 7.

The problem is that while they own the home, they do not own the land it sits on and that puts them at the mercy of their landlord.”

 

Several residents reached out to Contact7’s Theresa Marchetta about problems they face in their mobile home community.

After weeks of digging for answers and accountability, Marchetta uncovered the problems at one local mobile home park reflect a growing national crisis and a system failing to protect those who live there,” said their report.

Management, says Contact7, wouldn’t speak to them on camera.

That’s reminiscent of a comment from Frank Rolfe, who has often spoken with the mainstream media.  Rolfe says that he’s also scared about talking to the media. But he says that failure to engage only cements the stereotypes. He argues that engagement is necessary, noting that’s especially true, because the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and others won’t do it.

 

Friendly Village

At Friendly Village of the Rockies, homeowners say management does not live up to the name,” said Denver7.

You can either do it or just get out,” said one homeowner who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation by park management.

“Put a note on your door, do this within a certain amount of time or you’ll be fined,” said another resident in the community, Anthony Velasquez,” per Contact7.

 

The Pattern and the Trend

MHProNews asked then MHI Chairman, Tim Williams about the failure of MHI to engage on negative or problematic media accounts.  His reply to that inquiry is linked here.

Part of what Williams said is that there is a good case to be made that the engagement should take place routinely.

Hasn’t years of reports like Denver7 made it obvious that routine engagement with media and others is necessary?

Another Tim Williams, from the Ohio Manufactured Home Association, responded when bad news hit his state.  One of several examples of his pushback are linked below.

Tim Williams, OMHA, Responds to Issues Raised by NPR Report on Manufactured Home Communities

Rolfe has argued on stage in front of dozens of industry professionals that every time something harmful to the industry takes place, there should be push-back by the industry that clarifies any false or misleading issues.

Another state association executive told MHProNews that they have a policy of ‘not defending bad actors.’  Those two principles apply balance and context.

Because sometimes, there are simple, and yet unstated to the media, explanations for concerns that arise.  For example, enforcing guidelines for living are similar to a deed restricted residential subdivision enforcing their standards on residents.

In the case in Thorton, CO in the video above, the following is unclear based upon local media reports: did the home owners with the fencing concern agree to no fencing in writing, before they moved in?

That’s the sort of detail that Brad Lovin told MHProNews last year is often left out of such reports.

At the same time, should community operators reconsider certain standards?  In Paradise Cove in Malibu, home owners are allowed privacy fencing. Some other manufactured home communities (MHCs) allow for it, within specific guidelines. While fencing isn’t the only reason that the rich and famous move to a place like Paradise Cove, operators ought to consider the more upscale type of residents that allowing fencing or other appropriate additions may attract.

Baywatch Bombshell Actress Pam Anderson’s Famous Malibu “Mobile Mansion” Up for Sale, Photo Spread, Videos

Should that $3,000 fence be reconsidered by that management company?

If the Thorton community owner is indeed unable or unwilling to defend their fencing policy on camera or in writing to local media, how does that one-side local news report reflect on them?  Or how does that video report impact other MHCs in the same market, who are also in the land-lease community business?  How are retailers impacted?  Factories, lenders, and on down the list of industry connected professionals?

Part of the troubling answer is found in the Channel7 video.  The quotes below from the video are statements made by a sociologist that’s studied this issue, and they are telling a tale that isn’t entirely comfortable for the industry to hear.

University of Colorado Sociologist, Esther Sullivan, says 80 percent of the residents in places like Friendly Village own their homes,” said Denver7.

When I share with you the predatory practices I’ve seen in this mobile home park,* you’re not surprised by that?” Channel7’s Theresa Marchetta asked the professor.

No, this is indicative of cases occurring across the country,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan says she has become an expert on the topic, spending nearly a decade documenting “housing insecurity in mobile home parks.*

These issues that you see at Friendly Village may seem unique to this one park, but they are indicative of the capricious and arbitrary actions landlords take in mobile home parks across the nation. You hear these same stories over and over again,” said Sullivan.

The professor and author said she lived in “two mobile home parks* in Texas and Florida and documented the impact as they were sold off and closed down.”

They’re subject to rent hikes, often without notice, upon fees that are tacked-on, a lack of maintenance or an expectation they maintain the land that they don’t own,” Sullivan said.

EstherSullivanSocioligistUnivCOChannel7ManufacturedHomeInsecurityDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Sullivan is not anti-manufactured housing. “Absolutely. We can’t build our way out of our current affordable housing crisis which we all can see in Denver,” Sullivan said. The industry’s members would be wise to properly engage with voices like hers, along with business that operate in a way that gets them A+ BBB or similar ratings.

 

The Broader Issues for MHVille, Current and Prospective Home Owners

The issues point to an image problem for commercially operated MHC properties owned by individuals, or portfolio operators. Failure to address the issue has arguably plagued the industry’s good operations.

The issues has been a boost to the image of resident owned communities (ROCs), which are often mentioned as the solution to this problem.  But that’s an oversimplification, as it ignores good community operations.

Who says?

ROC USA President Paul Bradley has stated repeatedly to MHProNews that there are a number of good operations in the country.  Bradley says they should not be lumped in with those who may fail to provide the same level of “economic security” for their residents.

Rephrasing, there are different kinds of privately owned companies.  But if the individual property owners don’t make that clear to prospective and current residents in their own markets, then they too can be harmed when bad news hits other nearby land-lease properties.

 

Resolution to the MHC Image Issues?

Common sense – sound reason – suggests there are two, and only two ways that this issue will find positive resolution.

  • 1) A community operator, or any other manufactured home industry business, must do is own marketing, and make their case to the public in their market area(s).  UMH Prosperities CEO Sam Landy has stated as much to MHProNews.
  • 2) Independent operations with shared values that provide residents an appealing lifestyle must band together, and work to resolve these issues through an association or alliance.

While some state associations strive to do just that, it is obvious from the steady drum beat of negative news that it is not yet enough.

What is self-evident is that years after MHProNews publisher L. A. “Tony” Kovach presented to MHI attendees a positively received message on engaging the media, MHI has failed to directly engage the news in an effect way.

AnnParmanVPManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoLATonyKovachMobileManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews800

Observing a problem without offering reasonable solutions is called whining. Consultant and publisher Tony Kovach pointed to actual cases of properly engaging with residents and media, in a highly praised presentation. Years later, what has MHI done with those examples shared?

Instead, MHI has focused on social media and controversial advertorials. If those were effective, would their own website traffic, and the industry’s ongoing image issues persist?

Note that Denver7 gave more than one favorable mention to manufactured homes as an affordable housing solution.  Professor Sullivan did too.

It’s the related image-harming issues that are causing ongoing problems for many in the industry.

The data doesn’t lie, see that report, linked below.

What are the FACTS about Manufactured Housing Industry Traffic vs. Real Estate? MHVillage, MHProNews, Manufactured Housing Institute Data

Head in the sands won’t change what’s self-evident.  There’s proof that the proper local efforts can work.  The logic of collective efforts is clear.  The reality of failure to act is demonstrably harmful.  Rather than deal with the issues, MHI stands accused of trying to silence those voices that raise the concerns or who provide meaningful solutions.

We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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* This is a terminological problem, mobile home and manufactured home are not interchangeable terms.  To learn more click the second linked related report, below.

FactoryHousingEvolution101TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHome-768x601

Related Reports:

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SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.
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“Ignorance” at Work, Proposed Code Change Would Impact Thousands

April 23rd, 2018 Comments off

IgnoranceAtWorkKilgoreTXCodeChangeImpact

There is “ignorance” – or prejudice – arguably at work in the Texas city moving to limit manufactured homes in their jurisdiction.  By their own estimates, thousands will be impacted.

 

The City of Kilgore, Texas Planning and Zoning Board approved changes “unanimously recommended,” per the Longview News Journal.

Manufactured housing lots are scattered throughout the Kilgore City Limits – there’s space for, potentially, more than 7,000 mobile homes [sic],” said the Kilgore News Herald, adding, “A proposed change to the city’s codes would limit such structures (mobile or manufactured) to designated areas moving forward.

SICSicutJournalismDefintionSocietyProfessionalJournalismDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Recommended changes won’t necessarily affect residents of existing manufactured homes, city leaders said. Existing homes also can be replaced one time, but only if the home is the same size or larger than the existing residence and is no older than 5 years old,” according to Jimmy Daniell Isaac for the Longview News Journal.

Image44KilgoreCityTXPlanningRestrictManufacturedHomes

Collage by MHProNews, uses original Kilgore proposal text.

What’s there is there and you can replace it,” once, Kilgore Planning & Zoning Director Carol Windham said, per the Kilgore News Herald. “We’re not going to take that away.” If approved, ‘Single Family Manufactured Housing’ will be eliminated outside specific spots: “We’re not allowing any more unless you put it in a licensed mobile home park. That’s pretty much the gist of it.”

But the Longview report suggests the quote above from Kilgore’s paper isn’t quite accurate.  If a home is lost in a fire, for example, and must be replaced with one that’s 5 years old or newer, that may cause some property owners to de facto have their rights limited or taken, depending upon their economic circumstances.

KilgoreTXRealEstateMarketOverviewTruliaCityDataManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

This is what all of the surrounding communities have done,” commissioner Terry Thrower said in Isaac’s report. “City Council members will consider final approval of the ordinance changes in May, City Planner Carol Windham said. If approved, it would end nearly a year of subcommittee and workshop discussions about regulating manufactured housing in Kilgore.”

Zillow464NFritzSwansonRdKilgoreTX75662ZlillowManufacturedHOusingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

This particular listing has two homes, plus a garage and out buildings, for about the same price as the median conventional house. The main home is a manufactured home, the photos did not show the second home, but it too is likely a HUD Code manufactured home. Two homes, plus an acreage, for the price of one.

 

Costly NIMBY At Work?

l_a_tony_kovach__mhlivingnews__credit

L. A. “Tony’ Kovach., publisher, MHProNews.com MHLivingNews.com

In a posted comment on both news sites, “It seems like some civic leaders in Kilgore are not aware of the “Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.” That federal law gives “enhanced preemption” to federally regulated manufactured housing,” wrote L. A. “Tony” Kovach, publisher of MHLivingNews and MHProNews.

At the very time that millions across the nation – including in Texas – are struggling with housing that costs too much, why in the world would Kilgore make it more difficult to buy the most affordable kind of permeant housing available?” – Kovach rhetorically asked.

The likely answer is ignorance, which means, lack of knowledge,” Kovach said, “University level studies demonstrate that manufactured homes properly installed appreciate side by side with conventional housing. A study done by Chang Tai Hsieh of the University of Chicago, and Encirco Moretti said that cutting off affordable housing cost the American economy some $2 trillion dollars annually.”

Just because other locales have done something, doesn’t mean that Kilgore should follow suit. More study is warranted, because violating federal law and costing your economy makes no sense,” Kovach’s remarks concluded.

YIMBY vs. NIMBY, Obama Admin Concept Could Unlock $1.95 Trillion Annually, HUD & MH Impact

In a report entitled “Local Star Chambers Wage War on Affordable Housing,” Texas retailer Gary Adamek, Fayette Country Homes said that zoning related issues were more harmful to the industry than Dodd-Frank ever was.

JD Harper of the Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association (AMHA) referred to similar placement and zoning issues in his state as “economic racism,” and praised the Rev. Donald Tye Jr. call for HUD to step up and enforce enhanced preemption.

 

At the very time that HUD Secretary Ben Carson has called modern manufactured homes “amazing,” and the Trump Administration is striving to create more economic opportunities for Americans, why would Kilgore – or any other town – choke off economic options, by limiting affordable housing?

 

TimeToEnforceLawOnFederalPreemptionMHARRDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

http://www.mhpronews.com/industry-news/mharr-news/time-to-enforce-the-law-on-federal-preemption

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has sounded of for years on the need to enforce enhanced preemption, the most recent example is in the report linked above. This is one of several issues that based upon trends and if left unchecked, will continue to limit manufactured housing’s growth potential.  It would harm the nation, because it will negatively impact those seeking affordable, quality homes, argues Kovach and others. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)  (Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Report:

Manufactured Housing – Regulatory, Other Roadblocks and Potential Solutions, Up for Growth Research, plus Urban Institute Report Revisited

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Manufactured Housing – Regulatory, Other Roadblocks and Potential Solutions, Up for Growth Research, plus Urban Institute Report Revisited

April 17th, 2018 Comments off

 

“Sadly, the growing recognition of [restrictive zoning for housing]
by scholars and policy analysts across the political spectrum has so far
not resulted in much political action.”

— Libertarian law professor Ilya Somin,

per the Up for Growth National Coalition,
April 2018.

 

Manufactured homes could ease the affordable housing crisis.
So why are so few being made
?”

–      Urban Institute,
January 2018

Overview

U.S. fell 7.3 million units behind housing demand from 2000 – 2015,” according to new research from the Up for Growth National Coalition, ECONorthwest, and Holland Government Affairs in a media release to the Daily Business News.

ExecutiveSummaryUndersupply7.3MillionUitsUpForGrowthDailyBusinessnewsManufacturedHousingMHProNews

 

Their figure for the production shortfall is similar to one used by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Lawrence Yun, who says that the nation needs some 8.3 million housing units.

 

LawrenceYunNARShort8.3MillionHousingUnitsRisingRentsHousingPricesCuredOnlyByMoreBuilding

Yun’s NAR research comes to a similar conclusion that Up for Growth has, namely, that there must be significant levels of new construction. Several housing experts believe that factory building is the faster, greener and less costly way of addressing that need. Manufactured housing is the lowest cost permanent housing, per U.S. Census Bureau data.

 

The housing shortage is far more severe than originally believed, and much more widespread,” said Clyde Holland, Founder and CEO of Holland Partner Group and Up for Growth Executive Chairman in their release. “From California to Maine, the supply of housing is simply not matching its growing demand. Not building enough new housing pushes rents up, forces quality of life down, and is a significant drag on the economy. As this research clearly shows, these trends and the barriers to building market-rate and affordable housing are unsustainable. To achieve affordable, sustainable, and vibrant communities, we need a new approach to housing.”

Against that backdrop, there’s the recently produced exchange captured on CSPAN between Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC).  That video is below.  Highlights include the fact that Carson called the progress and quality of manufactured homes “amazing.”  In response to Tillis question, Carson said the regulations at HUD regarding manufactured housing have been “ridiculous.”

 

 

Tip

We recommend to first time visitors and others not as familiar with these issues read the text of this report, and then circle back later to read the related reports, linked below. Those links provide additional information, quotes and/or documents.

 

Backdrop

Some tout an American energy policy which should include ‘all of the above’ energy production options.  Similarly, some promote an American affordable housing policy that includes a robust use of all kinds of housing, including housing retention whenever possible, plus the liberal use of modern manufactured homes.

CostBurdeningHousingUnderproductionUpForGrowthDailyBusinesssNewsManufacturedHousingMHProNews

 

But several factors have limited manufactured housing in the past decade-plus.  The graphics and information that follows provide context, point to causes, and potential solutions.

 

HousingStartsHaventKeptPaceUpForGrowthManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

From the Up for Growth report.

 

SunCommunitiesSUI-InvestorPage11ManufacturedHomeVsSingleFamilyHousingManufacturedHomeCommunitiesIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

From publicly traded Sun Communities (SUI) investor presentation.

SunCommunitiesSUI-InvestorPageComparetoMultiFamilyHousing10ManufacturedHomeCommunitiesIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Publicly trade companies produce reports like the one these in the recent Sun Communities (SUI) provides comparison data, showing the cost of manufactured housing viz a vis single family, and multi-family housing.

 

Some of the responsibility for those limiting elements are laid at the feet of public officials.  There has been a combination of a lack of enforcement of existing laws, as well as overreach on regulations.  Those details are found herein.

 

ManufacturedHomesGAO2014ReprotCompareApartmentsSingleFamilySiteBuiltHousingManufacturedHomesMHLivingNews

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) did a report in 2014 that produced reams of data that underscored the value of modern manufactured homes. For example, even with higher interest rates, manufactured homes are routinely the lowest cost per month for housing. https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/researchers-shake-up-american-dream-rent-vs-buy-ken-johnson-florida-atlantic-university-exclusive-to-manufacturedhomelivingnews/

 

Others within the manufactured home industry have – by action and inaction, commission and omission – allowed or encouraged policies that resulted in the consolidation of large parts of the industry into fewer hands.  The following published comments by others captures some of those viewpoints.

DougRyanAmericanBankerManufacturedHousingMonopoly-postedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryProNews-575x237

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews-

Allen hasn’t denied these comments, but has toned it down, perhaps in a desire to sell his business interests to MHI, a suggestion he’s raised himself.

 

The above concerns have occurred in a manner that several public officials, along with private individuals, believe is monopolistic.

–      There is significant evidence of how this has occurred,

–      what this costs American society,

–      and the role that public officials have played in what many believe has been – at least in part – an artificially manipulated process.

Publications, politicos, and advocates across the left-right divide have commented on these trends, allegations, concerns, and forces.  This publication is far from alone, as the links and quotes reveal. What’s unique here is bringing the various elements into the scope of a single report, with additional linked references.

Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?

The solution to the affordable housing crisis is hiding in plain sight.  It’s found in the widely under-appreciated manufactured home (MH), which is much better than the majority of the public has been led to believe.

Who says so?

This report will cite:

  • MH Industry,
  • public officials,
  • outside experts,
  • a clip from a focus group of home owners,
  • and outlines the often-surprising findings of third-party researchers, that praise manufactured homes.

Those who take a different view are also briefly examined, each in the light of known facts.

 

Harvard’s Eric Belsky

Experts such as Harvard’s Eric Belksy believed manufactured homes would dominate in sales over conventional housing, by 2010.  That didn’t happen.  Why not?

EricBelksyManufacturedHousingIndustryManufacuredHomeManufacturedHousingInstituteResearchDataAffordbleHousingMHProNewsDailyBuisnessNews575

Belsky was aware of the slide in manufactured home lending and the repossessions that were occurring. See the new home shipment graphic below.  He still made this expert projection of the industry’s coming dominance. Some inside and outside of the industry believe that the kind of issues this report raises explains why Belsky missed the 2010 projection.

This survey will introduce the insights that can help answer that question.

We Provide, You Decide.” ©

MobileHomeShipmentsManufacturedHomeShipmentChartMHIAShipmentsMHIndustryChampionSkylineHUDCodeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Note how the Up For Growth period of insufficient growth in new housing has an inverse relationship to the dearth of new manufactured home production in roughly those same years.

 

MHARR on Federal Overreach, and the Under Use of Preemption

Responding to a question from MHProNews, Mark Weiss, J.D., President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) said, “the frost free foundation and on site completion rule matters reflect their overreach and are in violation of the manufactured housing statute.  More generally, their failure to do rule making and cost benefit analysis on multiple issues are other major problems,” are among the problems with the administration of the federally regulated HUD Code manufactured housing program.

MHARR members met with HUD Secretary Carson, who pledged to reform the program.

MHARR’s president has previously noted that it is “Time to Enforce Federal Preemption” – meaning, the preemption enjoyed by HUD Code manufactured homes under federal law.

 

Weiss has said that every day that the Duty to Serve (DTS) isn’t fully implemented by the GSEs – which is still under the supervision of the FHFA – is a “gift” to Berkshire Hathaway owned lenders.

Among Weiss’ concerns?

FHFA held closed door meeting(s) with Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and their member companies, and hasn’t released the minutes of that meeting(s).  Whatever occurred, the bottom line has been a failure to robustly implement DTS.

The GSEs pointed to a lack of current loan performance data from some larger firms in the industry among their reasons for not doing more to support manufactured housing under DTS.  But it should be noted that other data and research already made available to them suggests that there was sufficient evidence for the FHFA to prompt the GSE’s into doing more lending than the tiny pilots that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be launching.

American Bankers Urged to Lend More on Manufactured Homes

From Hawaii to Boston, recent reports in the mainstream media spotlight the push-back and controversies tied to the use of manufactured housing. There are periodic and notable exceptions, such as the examples cited below.

Bloomberg, HousingWire, Realtor and Fox all suggest Manufactured Homes as Important Solution for Affordable Housing in America

But much of that resistance by politicos, some in media, and others are based upon false, misleading and/or outdated information.  Ignorance is part of the problem, so education is part of the cure.

Those public officials who’ve been properly exposed to the realities of modern manufactured homes – as Secretary Carson indicated – are often positive-to-enthusiastic.  One of several examples is found in the video below.

 

 

The comments in the video below were made in 2017.  They reveal the frustration and concerns shared by advocates for independent producers of manufactured housing.  They clearly state what they believe are important elements of what’s holding up the proven, largely private-sector solution, to the affordable housing crisis.

 

 

For at least two decades, third-party researchers have documented their belief in the quality of modern manufactured homes.  Some like Belsky and CFED – rebranded as Prosperity Now – have explained why manufactured housing would be an important part of the future of American home building.  The examples shown and linked are only a sampling.

 

RegulatoryBarrierstoManufacturedHousingPlacementinUrbanCommunitiesHUDPDR-postedManufacturedHomeLivingNews595x357 (1)

What the HUD PD&R screen capture – with linked download available here – reflects is a lack of understanding about how enhanced preemption could solve the affordable housing crisis using mostly private capital. The research is useful, but adding in the missing ingredient of enhanced preemption would make it priceless. 

 

University level research commissioned by HUD, part of their HUD Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) series, was published in 2011 under the title, Regulatory Barriers to Manufactured Housing PlacementThat research revealed that manufactured homes appreciated side-by-side with conventional housing.

So, one of the biggest reasons for “NIMBY” – Not In My Back Yard – fear of depreciation caused by manufactured homes nearby, is based upon a myth.  

But part of what makes the HUD PD&R noteworthy is the lack of commentary on federal preemption.

Since manufactured homes are proven to be dynamically similar in quality to conventional housing, and HUD’s own research demonstrates that there is no economic harm to neighboring homes, why not make a robust use of federal preemption?

 

Other Examples of Classic Ignorance – a Lack of the Facts

Many believe that crime and manufactured homes somehow go together.  But third-party research debunks that myth too.

Pride and Prejudice: The Truth About Manufactured Home Communities and Crime

On issue-after-issue – including windstorms and how manufactured housing performs during such events – the realities documented by research are different than what is generally believed.

Weather Expert’s Surprising, Bombshell Statement on Tornado Deaths and Affordable Manufactured Homes

Another study by two university professionals performed late in the Obama Administration suggests the following.  That not having a solution for affordable housing is costing the U.S. economy some $2 trillion dollars annually.  While their specific research doesn’t point to manufactured housing, it does reveal the kind of economic benefits that would flow if the Trump Administration would promote enforcement of existing laws.

Rephrasing, if the government enforces preemption and fully promoted the lending options the federal government already has established by law, more will become manufactured home owners, and more economic growth will follow.

YIMBY vs. NIMBY, Obama Admin Concept Could Unlock $1.95 Trillion Annually, HUD & MH Impact

So, why aren’t preemption and other federal laws already on the books properly enforced?

TruliaLowIncomeHousingImpactOnNearbyHousingValuesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

The Ultimate Manufactured Home Industry Fact$, Data, and Insights – Bullets plus at-a-Glance Infographic

 

The Urban Institute largely positive research on manufactured housing points to key, and troubling, clues to that question.  In fact, the Urban Institute raised that question, as the second quote at the top of this article reflects.

 

Disturbing Answers to Urban Institute’s (UI) Penetrating Question…

The Urban Institute’s report says that manufactured homes are quality. They point to land-use (restrictive zoning) issues, as does the Lincoln Institute or others.  UI notes financing challenges, and slower appreciation, but acknowledge that manufactured homes can and do appreciate.

It’s what’s not in their January 2018 report that point to arguably emblematic examples of what’s gone wrong for those seeking to advance manufactured housing as a key solution for the affordable housing crisis.

For example, when lending is cut off or restricted, that impacts all housing value, site built or manufactured. Further, supply and demand impact housing values.  What linked and other research reveals is that given a level playing field, manufactured housing preforms.

So, when affordable home ownership is widely seen as a social good, why is the playing field not level?

With proper understanding, lending, and public policies, the evidence suggests that manufactured homes would be a good investment for buyers.  Further, manufactured homes routinely provide lower income, and first time buyers an opportunity they may not get in any other way.  Or as one citizen told anti-manufactured home officials, it isn’t a crime to be poor.

“It Isn’t A Crime Time to Be Poor” Citizen Tells Anti-Manufactured Home Lawmakers

Research by CFED – rebranded since as Prosperity Now – reflects the wealth building potential for even lower income Americans.

ManufacturedHousingTopTenTruthsImHomeInnovationsinManufacturedHomesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

For the rest of the top ten, click here.

 

UI’s Undisclosed Facts

MHProNews learned that one of the four writers of the Urban Institute (UI) research – Ed Golding – used to work for HUD. In fact, sources with ties to HUD said the recently-removed administrator of the HUD Code manufactured housing program – Pam Danner, J.D. – reported to Golding.

Golding knows manufactured housing “well.”  Danner has been the source of years of growing controversy in manufactured housing. Why didn’t Golding and UI disclose his relationship to Danner? Conflict of interest guidelines in university style research suggest that even the appearance of conflict of interest should be disclosed.  So why are there no disclosures on the webpage of the report published by UI?

http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/blogs/daily-business-news/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/GeorgeGunnelClaytonHomesRVP-WVMHIFMHAMHIHUDPamDannerMustGo.png

In spite of widespread concerns about Pam Danner, JD, at HUD and her problematic handling of the manufactured housing program, industry voices note that it took months of pressure before the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) began to relent, why? Click here.

Golding, like Danner, didn’t promote federal preemption.  Rather, what they did was authorize heavy regulations that fell disproportionately to smaller producers and independent companies.

 

PamDannerQuestionMarkLightBulbDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

Danner appeared on MHI’s stage, yet members and non-members alike found her handling of the program to be problematic.

 

Now You Will Hear — the Rest of the Story

So nowhere on the Urban Institute (UI) webpage where their report was published disclosed:

–      Golding’s bio, and his ties to Danner and HUD’s manufactured home program,

–      That the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and Berkshire Hathaway owned Clayton Homes and affiliated lenders were part of the UI research, but that they were promised “anonymity” in the published report.  The reality of that statement is based on sources in UI, sent via email to MHProNews. No similar engagement by UI reportedly took place with MHARR members.  Why did only the major players get such special access to input on the UI report, which was published shortly before pending comments to federal regulators was due?

–      Or that Warren Buffett is a lifetime trustee of the Urban Institute.  Buffett also sits on the board of the Gates Foundation, which he’s given billions of dollars of Berkshire Hathaway stock to, and the Gates Foundation in turn donated millions to the Urban Institute.

While some of this can be learned elsewhere on UI’s website, or can be found via public records, none of these items noted in the bullets above were disclosed on the page where their report on manufactured housing is published.

In several messages by MHProNews with them, the Urban Institute only asked for one significant correction to our published reports. That one request?  It was on a point that UI was arguably mistaken. Namely, that the Daily Business News noted that Buffett indirectly had donated to their organization, as outlined in the bullet above, or as is documented in the report linked below.  Thus the concerns raised have gone essentially unaddressed, even though UI was given the opportunity to do so.

Urban Institute Ask for Correction in Analysis of their Manufactured Housing Research, “Follow the Facts,” “Follow the Money”

As manufactured housing advocate, the Rev. Donald Tye, Jr. has noted, the above has the look of interlocking directorates, which are an item that antitrust regulators look for when investigating a possible monopoly.

The Berkshire Hathaway dominated Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) never publicly explained how Lois Starkey, a former vice president of theirs, ended up leaving them and going almost immediately to work for Danner at HUD.  When Danner was transferred away from the manufactured housing program recently, Starkey was dismissed by HUD.  It was learned by MHProNews that MHI requires non-disclosure agreements from their current and recent staffers.

HUD’s Pam Danner Announces former MHI VP Lois Starkey Joining HUD

 

Other Disclosures and Facts “Missed” by the Urban Institute (UI)

UI’s fails to mention enhanced preemption, or they largely underplay regulatory overreach.  Yet their report co-author – Ed Golding – certainly knew about these issues.

EdwardGoldingHUDFHAUrbanInstituteUILinkedInManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

But perhaps as significant, is the clear failures to note that details about the capital/lending point – correctly raised by UI –  but which nevertheless fails to mention how Berkshire Hathaway benefited from FHA/HUD’s 10-10 rule.  Or how Berkshire brands have – at various times – allegedly interfered with the independents in the industry’s ability to tap into capital and lending. These are examples of federal law being applied or ignored in ways that harmed the many, but arguably have benefited the few as a result.

Is there clear evidence for Buffett’s Berkshire choking off lending or capital to kill off competition?

Yes, and it’s been published.

To date, this document shown below, signed by 21st President Tim Williams, stands unchallenged.

21stMortgageCorpTimWillamsJune112009LetterBerkshireHathawayWarrenBuffettClaytonHomesManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Another like it also exists, and is linked from the report found below. Not only is the above described by some industry professionals as a “smoking gun” for a monopolistic power play, its only part of a broader pattern that’s drawn concerns from across the left-right political and economic divide.

Killing Off 100s of Independent Manufactured Home Retailers, Production Companies – Tim Williams/21st Mortgage “Smoking Gun” Document 2

For example. The Nation, a progressive publication in a report linked further above, blasted Buffett’s Berkshire, specifically naming Clayton as part of their alleged monopolistic play.

Maxine Waters Statement, Preserving Access Manufactured Housing Act 2017, Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes

Maxine Waters and other Democrats have called Buffett’s Clayton a “near monopoly.” They demanded a federal investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) (see above, plus related reports and resources, at the end of this report).

The Campaign for Accountability has raised their own issues, and cite their sources.

 

 

Waters and others in Congress and beyond have noted that Berkshire Hathaway dominates the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).  Two of the four seats on their governing executive committee have been held for years by some of Buffett’s manufactured housing team members.  At present, the chair is a former Clayton division executive, and two others work for a Berkshire brand in manufactured housing.

The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act – which MHI has spearheaded for years – has drawn fire from Waters and those who support no changes to Dodd-Frank.  Preserving Access has two main ‘legs.’

One is the repeal of the so-called MLO (Mortgage License Originator) rule, that arguably helps almost everyone in the industry involved in sales to the public.

The CFPB imposed MLO rule effectively muzzled the free speech rights of manufactured home sellers who didn’t take a test.  According to those who’ve taken the test, the MLO instructions largely have little or no applicable use for manufactured housing.  By contrast, real estate agents have no similar muzzle, and no such license required.  The same point could be made about autos or RVs.  Why does manufactured housing get this unwanted, special treatment?

The other leg raised the points-and-fees that can be charged on low cost loans. This benefits several in the industry, but primarily, benefited Berkshire Hathaway owned brands.

So, MHI – by going through unsuccessful (some say, posturing) efforts to mitigate regulations – is doing the bidding of brands that benefit either way.

Rephrased, Berkshire owned companies arguably benefit if Preserving Access passes or not. Yet this has been the centerpiece of MHI’s lobbying for years.

Manufactured housing for decades was made up for thousands of independent “mom and pop” operations. When smaller businesses give up the fight after years of ever-growing regulations, they will often sell out for less than their normal value would be absent those conditions.  This has led to consolidation of the industry’s smaller companies by larger ones.

While ex-Clayton man Ken Corbin offers a different interpretation of the data, he nevertheless points to some 10,000 independent business have failed in manufactured housing since its peak in 1998.  That 10,000 drop of retailers results in others failing or selling out for less too.

Ken Corbin “the 10,000 Drop,” points to Industry Woe, Causes of Manufactured Housing’s 10 & 20 Year Collapse?

Even Bank of America shut down their profitable manufactured home lending program.  They cited a combination of relatively low total volume, and relatively high regulatory risk.  Heavy regulation, and some would say artificially low new manufactured home sales volume. The U.S. Bank example should speak volumes to seriously researchers.

Barney_Frank wikipediaPostedDailyBgusinesNewsMHProNews

Barney Frank, official photo, credit Wikipedia.

It’s worth noting too that Barney Frank, who’s name is part of the Dodd-Frank bill, said in a letter linked here that some of the regulations imposed on manufactured housing were never indented to apply to the industry.

That letter from Frank to a constituent was provided by that MHProNews reader.  It was published here at that time, and later read into the Congressional record.  In spite of such evidence of legislative intent, the heavy foot-on-the-brake pedal from regulators continued.

It is worth noting that MHI has previously called Frank a ‘champion’ for the industry, and that MHI PAC money has reportedly flowed to him.

As MHI’s own VP said – in the linked report below – that there was essentially no chance of passing Preserving Access. Yet, the association kept pursuing for 4 years a course of action that was known in advance to essentially be doomed to fail.  Why waste the time and money?  Insiders say it in one or two words. Posturing.  Shadow boxing.

2012 Election Results and Coming Lame Duck Session

An MHI insider told MHProNews that ‘the big companies have figured out how to get the little companies to pay for what they want to do.’

Smaller firms, some of whom say off-the-record to the Daily Business News that they feel pressured to be MHI members if they want benefits such as access to 21st lending or other business – and are wittingly or not, feeding the hand that bites them.

So heavy regulations aren’t being mitigated by MHI, because the normal lobbying advocates seem to have an unstated agenda, which allows those regulations to act against the interests of smaller companies.  

In fact, the reason that MHARR exists in large measure is precisely because MHI has for years cozied up to regulators.  Those regulators in turn have imposed – or not mitigated – heavy regulations.

Economists, advocates, and some professional associations have noted, the larger the operation, the more easily it bears the costs of heavy regulation.

To rephrase, smaller companies are at a disadvantage with respect to heavy regulations. Thus, Berkshire Hatchway brands in manufactured housing would arguably benefit whether or not their Preserving Access bill passed.  The same is true of HUD or other regulations. 

What does MHI have to say about such things?

 

Heavy Regulations, Plus Choking Off Capital, Limiting Lending, and Closures or Reduced Price Sales of Businesses Results

Because of that pattern of choking off capital/lending, and heavy regulations, Berkshire owned Clayton has grown from 25 percent of the industry’s production to 50 percent in just 7 years. See Kevin Clayton’s own statements in the video further below.  They confirm Buffett’s strong distaste for competion, “foreign or domestic” – and confirm Buffett’s monopolistic concept.

That Buffett plan is dubbed as broadening “the Moat.”  Does it work?  The MHI produced data, shown below, suggests it does.

MHI-21stMortgageKevinClaytonClaytonHomesManufacturedHoomeCorporationsPlantsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews_001

Hundreds of independent retailers closed or sold out for less due to the conditions described in this report. That in turn caused several producers of HUD Code manufactured homes to sell out, or close entirely. http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/was-the-urban-institute-misled-duped-or-part-of-a-manufactured-housing-industry-scam/

These aren’t conspiracy theories, as the Nation, MHARR, the Atlantic magazine, and several other sources from inside-and-outside of manufactured housing have made clear.

AmericasFastestDyingBusinessMobileHomesManufacturedHomesAtlanticIBISWorldDailyBusinessNewsResearchDataReportsMHProNews

IBISWorldAtlanticManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsResearchReportsMHProNews

Heavy regulatory burdens, combined with choking off capital and other items noted in this report, would result in a loss of independent manufactured home retailers. That in turn would “kill off” or force to sell for less, independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes that supplied those independents. IBIS World and the Atlantic were proven to be correct. Learn more, linked here.

 

Rather, they are examples of the truth hiding-in-plain-sight.

A close reading of Buffett’s modus operandi and business philosophy reveal quotes pointing to exactly what’s occured in manufactured housing.

The sharks in the waters of Buffett’s moat – see quote below – arguably include, but are not limited to, heavy regulations, cutting off or limiting finance, and capital options. These and other items may look at first blush like marketplace happenstance.  But upon closer examination, they were very much within Buffett’s brands and the association they dominate – MHI’s – ability to influence.  They were a combination of government regulations – and business strategies that utilized regulators – apparently working against smaller companies.  The results are jobs lost, and affordable housing opportunities for millions are lost via this process too.

WarrenBuffettTheMoatQuoteMemeManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNEws

 

Kevin Clayton cites “the moat” time and again, during an in-depth video interview, found further below.  These concepts of Buffett’s are stated in his own words.  He also says how they even use education and non-profits (see related reports, linked below) or other resources too.  Indeed, if MHI and UI (both nonprofits) are examples, each have both provided benefits to Clayton and other Berkshire brands operating in manufactured housing.

 

Preemption, Preemption…

University level researchers rarely mention preemption. Why is it so under promoted by MHI?  For example, why didn’t MHI have UI include it in their manufactured housing report? Some say MHI reports are ‘weaponized‘ to keep up the appearance of activity, while in practice doing little.  Note what former MHI Chair Nathan Smith said in the video posted in the resources, further below.  

As has been noted above, MHARR and independents want to see preemption promoted.

But federal preemption been throttled by prior administrations on both sides of the political aisle.

There may be a change coming under the Trump Administration, if they in fact “enforce the law,” which is a broad theme of theirs. HUD Secretary Carson has promised reforms.  He speaks in general terms about public private partnerships.

But Dr. Carson has not yet publicly commented on preemption.  If change is coming, it has not yet occurred.

Secretary Carson is scheduled to speak at MHI’s upcoming annual conference in Vegas.

Meanwhile, millions who could own for a home for less than rent are harmed by the issues noted herein. So too are the independent businesses that could serve them.

MHI produces ‘research,’ which is often a mish-mash of accurate and inaccurate information.  What are savvy shoppers who spot inconsistencies, or hear so much problematic reporting, to believe?  Why doesn’t MHI correct and address root issues, as needed?

By contrast, the RV industry is outselling manufactured housing by some 5 to 1.  Even towable RVs are higher cost per square foot, are a luxury item, and have avoided the kinds of onerous regulations that manufactured housing has. The RV example is just one of many ways of noting that an industry that shipped some 372,000 new homes in 1998, has slid, while RVs have risen.

MHI is the only national association that claims to deal with post-production issues.

RVAnnuaShipments2011to2016RVIALogoDataCompareManufacturedHousingIndustryDataDailyBusNewsMHProNews

 

Enforcing the Law

Arguably federal budgets would be reduced over time by a steady enforcement of HUD’s federal preemption under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. Why?  Because the need for subsidized housing would diminish over time.  As the legislation that created and supported manufactured homes (MH) notes, the industry is largely providing unsubsidized – and truly affordable – housing.

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RevDonaldTyeJrManufacturedHousingAdvocateQuickestWayWealthIndustryVoicesMHProNews500

 

Beyond Capital Control, Supporting Candidates Who Supported Policies Benefiting Buffett’s Business Units

Buffett backed Secretary Hillary Clinton for president, and President Barack Obama before her.  That would seem to run counter to what MHI and then Chairman, Tim Williams/21st Mortgage Corp said he wanted.

VicePresidentMikePenceWifeKarenHandOverHeartPledgeColts49ersGameWashingtonTimesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Notice. One can agree or disagree with 21st Mortgage CEO and prior MHI Chairman Tim Williams’ presentation, from which the slide above was taken with permission.  But either way, the question remains.  How is it possible that Williams was intellectually at odds with Berkshire Hathaway Chairman, Warren Buffett. Or was it all, as some think, a head fake? ‘Shadow boxing?’  Buffett has noted that most don’t read as he does, and most don’t pay attention to history, as he does.

 

Other Avenues to Capital, Reduced or Delayed

On other avenues to access capital and lending, FHA, and the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) had what seemed like an unusual favoritism that tilted toward the practical benefit of Berkshire Hathaway.

The Duty to Serve (DTS) mandated by the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA 2008), was designed in part to provide financing for manufactured housing.  But Berkshire Hathaway’s 21st Mortgage Corp President, Tim Williams, slow walked DTS (see linked report).

MHI memos to members touted their support for DTS.  But Fannie Mae’s Paul Barretto, when asked by MHProNews, admitted that neither 21st or Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance – both owned by Berkshire Hathaway – provided them with the data they requested.

Another MHI lender shed more light on this topic, in the report linked below.

MHI Lender Shakes Up DTS and MLO Rule Discussions

On FHA Title I lending, a so-called “10-10” capital rule was established.  At that time, it meant that only 21st and Vanderbilt – again, both owned by Berkshire Hathaway – were the sole manufactured home lenders that could qualify to make those loans.  Once more, government set standards were set that benefited Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

In fairness, MHI has made publicized efforts on many of these matters.

But they’ve come up short every time, and have for several years.

Thus some inside and outside of MHI have speculated, how sincere was the MHI effort?  For example, why did other industries escape similar regulations from the CFPB, when manufactured housing couldn’t?

KennyLipschutzQuotePoorJobOfLobbyinginMHIndustry-postedMHProNews48thMHINCClist

An MHI member company.

Manufactured housing state associations were largely forced to play along, per reports from state executive directors to MHProNews.  See the report, linked below. Since that report was published, even more state association executives have privately confirmed the same allegation.

Most states are as-or-more dominated financially and in the numbers of members/board positions as MHI is by Berkshire Hathaway,  and their allied firms.  These state execs, if they like their jobs, can’t publicly buck MHI or Buffett’s brands.

But two states, who were not as tied to Berkshire Hathaway, broke with MHI last year. They specifically cited MHI’s failure to do what they claim to be working toward.

State Associations, Companies Quit Membership in Manufactured Housing Institute, (MHI), One Explains in Writing, ‘Why?’

ELS’ Sam Zell has not per se pointed his finger at Berkshire or MHI, which is company is a member of, and has had a board seat too.

But the description Zell’s made of the industry’s failures in finance leaves few other realistic options to consider as to what he meant by his published comments.

ELS’ Sam Zell – Compliance Costs Destroys Smaller Businesses = Consolidation

 

Media, MHI and Berkshire Hathaway

MHI member Frank Rolfe blasted MHI last year for their failure to engage the media as needed to defend and promote the industry.

SuzanneFelberFrankRolfeRichardADickJennisonAmericanHousingAdvocatesManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews600

MHI uses surrogates, like Suzanne Felber, to promote them and/or attack those who question their policies and positions. Several – if not all of these apparent surrogates – receive money directly from MHI, or from a Berkshire Hathaway brand, and/or get other benefits – or some combination of the above. These concerns and allegations are found inside and outside of the MHI membership.

Sources say that 21st Mortgage and others involved with Berkshire Hathaway “spoke with” Rolfe, who after several critiques of MHI and their leadership were published here in MHProNews, went silent late in 2017.

21st is an apparent sponsor for Rolfe.

But prior to going quiet about MHI, Rolfe had plenty to say.

FrankRolfeMHIHypocrisyQuote-MHProNews

While MHI award-winner Marty Lavin’s comments were made about a different topic. That said, don’t his principles apply to the pattern of activity noted herein?

FollowTheMoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDoThanWhatTheySayMartyLavin6MillionYachtManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNews600

Lavin is an MHI award winner, and a success story in communities, retail and finance.

What Lavin has been outspoken about were items related to issues like financing and the public image of the industry.

Marty Lavin Lashes the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) Latest Initiative

Lavin has lashed MHI directly on their media engagement, or lack thereof. Failure to address the image/media issue, per numbers of industry members, holds the industry back in its public acceptance.  For that matter, failure of federal officials to clear up the record as it relates to their work with manufactured housing also causes the industry harm.

“Kevin…the Problem of Your Industry…”

Yet, Berkshire Hathaway owns a number of their own media outlets.  MHI has its own media relations people. They routinely won’t engage to correct the record, as needed. What gives?

Kevin Clayton in the softball video interview in the related reports further below said they were prepared 7 years ago to work on the image issue.  It was only late last year, as the heat around MHI has risen, that a tepid, toe-in-the-water effort was finally launched. It’s been an embarrassment in terms of public impact.

Why haven’t they done more, when the stories about manufactured housing are so compelling?

The working hypothesis by many is that by allowing the foot-to-stay-on-the-brake pedal via:

–      heavy regulation, which disproportionally impacts smaller firms than larger ones,

–      failure to enforce preemption,

–      failure to address the image issue and engage with the media, while posturing such via ‘advertorials’ that have proven to have no noticeable market impact,

–      capital control,

–      and limiting lending,

all of these have resulted in pressures on independents.  The net result, in the time since the video interview with Clayton produced, (shown further below),  half of manufactured housing production, and in some states, up to 6o or 70 percent of retail sales from a sales center or community, flows through Clayton Homes and/or a Berkshire Hathaway connected brand.

In a one trillion-dollar annual housing industry, manufactured housing sank instead of grew for several years.  That’s the opposite of what Eric Belsky and others believed would happen.  Don’t the facts and concerns noted help explain why?

LATonyKovach-QuestioningNYSAAteam-NewYorkHousingAssociation-MHProNews-com-PhotoCreditMarkSimon-250x167

L. A. “Tony” Kovach, photo by Mark Simon, shows Kovach engaging with SAAs in NY.  State officials were being accused of having a rogue field regulator. Kovach is the publisher of the industry’s two largest and most popular trade media, MHLivingNews.com and MHProNews.com.

Belsky wrote his projection for manufactured housing before Warren Buffett bought Clayton.

The year Buffett bought Clayton, he then bought and combined it with Oakwood Homes.  That created in about a year the industry’s largest producer.  Their size and market domination — using their moat principles – have steadily grown since then.

Sometimes outrageous cases of local officials overreaching on manufactured housing take place.  For example, New York State had a regulator that reportedly said he would put manufactured housing “out of business” in his state.

What did HUD’s Danner do?

What did MHI do?  It was not until months after Dr. Carson became HUD Secretary, that Danner was finally removed from the HUD program.

 

Conventional Housing, and Up for Growth

Conventional ‘on site’ or stick-builders are not able to keep up with the growing demand for housing. The new report by the Up for Growth National Coalition states it would take many years to catch up.  See their chart below.

What the facts suggest is that that factory-based home building alone is able to more rapidly train workers, and ramp up housing production. Site builders can’t compete with manufactured housing on affordability.  Nor can they readily compete in speed of construction.

UptheGrowthHousingSHortageAdditionalHousingProductionNeededPerYearDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

In theory, a factory can ramp up production more rapidly than conventional builders can. The costs will also be lower, and the homes will be ‘greener,’ with less waste too.

At some point, sources suggest that Clayton will decide they have absorbed as much of the retail and production in the industry as they can, without stirring up even more legal challenges to their alleged plan to monopolistically dominate manufactured housing.  While there is word that DOJ is investigating, there is no announced case to date involving Berkshire, MHI and ongoing allegations of monopolistic practices.

ManufacturedHousingIndustry50000CommunitiesCavcoManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryFactCheckMHProNews

 

CapeCodStyleHomeManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

There are a wide variety of styles available in manufactured homes today, including multilevel models, or those built over a partial or full basement.

MostMenAppearnNeverConsideredWhatHouseIsNeedlesslyPoorAllTheirLivesHenryDavidThoreauManufacturedHomeLivingNews

Every home in the collage above is a HUD Code manufactured home.

 

Buffett and Politics

Buffett has said he won’t attack President Trump.  The Trump Administration, if it follows through on stated principles, may offer some hope for regulatory relief, as MHARR and others have argued.

But while Buffett himself has largely been silent since the election, his surrogates have been attacking the president.

Buffett Blasts Trump, via Classic Twist

While

  • legal challenges,
  • federal investigations,
  • regulatory reviews,
  • and other efforts slowly work their way through the system,
  • thousands of manufactured home operations have been forced out of business or sold out for less than their value would have been under normal conditions.
  • Is it a coincidence that this fits Buffett’s self proclaimed love for a bargain?
  • Or how it fits his oft-repeated principle of expanding “the moat?”

Industry observers and advocates note that much of this would not be possible without various federal agencies overtly putting the thumb on the scales in ways that harms smaller, independent business.

Acts of omission and/or commission have caused consolidation that may seem at first blush to be ‘natural’ forces at work in the market. But upon a closer look, they appears to be anything but natural, once the details are studied.  And that’s an advantage to those involved, because it requires study of an industry that has sat unjustly in the shadows for far too long.

This isn’t to necessarily imply that there are a number of back room deals, although they are possible.

But the reality exists that onerous regulations have harmed the manufactured home industry, and a conglomerate has benefited from that time and again.  Intelligent readers can do their own math.

RegulationsCostShareHomePrice-creditNHAB-postedDailyBusinessNews-ManufacturedHousingIndustry=MHProNews-com-

Source, NAHB study.

regulatory-compliance-costs-for-manufacturers-source-national-assoc-manufacturers-posted-masthead-mhpronews0-com-_001-575x298

Source, NAM.

 

Related Nuts and Bolts

Berkshire’s Tim Williams’ can’t take back his own point that responding to negative media could benefit the industry.  It is normally what associations like MHI do.  But for whatever reasons, MHI has in fact has either largely avoided, or has done with fanfare and little impact.  The logic would be to respond to false claims as they arise, to correct the record, and in time, establish the reality.  Williams admitted to MHProNews that doing so would be a reasonable course of action.

TimWilliamsMediaRelationsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews-500x277

MHProNews was engaged for years at MHI, until they ‘discovered’ that we were news, and said in writing that they had no such membership category.  Our publisher spent years working within their system. He was routinely praised for pro-industry work.

TimWilliamsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsGoodCommunicationsResourcesILogonLatestNewsBigAssetExplainWhyIndustryVoices-768x339

MHProNews’ publisher arranged for public discussions at MHI events of how problematic issues could be successfully addressed.  Those efforts were praised. But they were not followed up on.

AnnParmanVPManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoLATonyKovachMobileManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews800

Williams, who for years was MHI’s chairman, can’t deny his prior praise for the independence, and value of this and our sister publication, MHLivingNews.

TimWilliamsWeAllMakeMistakesTonyCorrectedErrorsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsSo against that backdrop, why didn’t MHI’s SVP Rick Robinson answer questions about their policies and postures regarding HUD?  Or other problematic decisions made by the Arlington, VA based association?  Robinson ducked questions in front of dozens of industry professionals, gathered at a 5 state association meeting in Deadwood, SD in 2017.

RickRobinsonManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

MHI’s president – knowing MHProNews had called for pointed questions at an event that was not theirs to control – cancelled a public presentation in January 2018, after the following report was published.

The Top Twelve Questions for Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) CEO, Richard “Dick” Jennison

MHI and Berkshire Hathaway have declined numerous opportunities to debate or respond to these issues in public.  Instead, they’ve attempted other means of distracting or detracting from those who raise these concerns.  MHARR has made similar observations.

So while everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law in America, the concerns noted above have gone unrefuted by MHI, or Berkshire Hathaway.

What will happen with Secretary Carson and the HUD Code manufactured home program?

 

Summary

The nation needs millions of units of affordable housing.

The Census Bureau says that manufactured housing is about half the cost of conventional construction.

HUD regulations requires that manufactured homes perform like conventional housing, and it does so at dramatically reduced costs. Manufactured housing enjoys – on paper – “enhanced preemption” established by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. So, the solution hiding in plain sight is manufactured housing.

Much of the affordable housing crisis could be solved by private capital, so long as enhanced preemption was routinely enforced.

Enhanced preemption and a robust use of Duty to Serve (DTS), FHA lending, and other government backed loans would level that playing field for independents in manufactured housing, and would make manufactured home purchases even more affordable for consumers.  Over time, that could correct the association challenges that currently exist, because of alleged Berkshire Hathaway dominance.

Conventional building can’t keep up with the needs, and would take longer to ramp up than factory builders would.

Be it the tragic need for housing in Puerto Rico post-Maria, or the growing need for affordable homes in Hawaii, or for the rest of the nation in between, manufactured homes are a proven path for millions.

Hawaii’s First “Trailer Park” on Oahu – Civil Beat’s Report Draws Heat

And once understood, modern manufactured housing is appealing enough for even millionaires and billionaires who gladly own them.

If they are good enough for the rich and famous, why not society at large?

Movie Mogul Rupert Wyatt and Screenwriter Erica Beeney’s Magnificent Manufactured Home

Why Are Billionaires Attracted to Manufactured Homes?

To borrow a phrase from Rand Paul about the two major parties and apply it to the manufactured housing industry, there is evidence of an “unholy alliance” – tacit or active – between government and deep pockets that have kept this solution for affordable housing from being fully and properly deployed.  Whatever the unseen realities may be, the known results are the same.

This, say researchers, costs the nation perhaps 2 trillion dollars a year in lost productivity that would otherwise exist. Millions could be building equity in affordable homes, instead of throwing their hard-earned money away on rent. After over 18 months of published reports, giving MHI and Berkshire Hathaway numerous opportunities to respond, they’ve ducked the questions – and allegedly pressured advertisers – instead.

Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” – Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes detective tales, per BrainyQuote.com.  ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports and Videos:

Videos begin with MHI President Richard “Dick” Jennison surprisingly arguing for slow growth. Low volume puts pressure on – and reduces the values of -smaller companies.

Next, is Nathan Smith – then MHI chairman – laughing about keeping the good news about the industry a secret, and admitting that MHI had made mistakes and needs to be more pro-active in the future. The problems noted have resulted in consolidation in production, land-lease communities – like the sector that Smith is working in – and retail. Nice admission, but did MHI performance in fact improve? Over four years later, where is a single clear cut MHI win on a big issue?

One may not realize it from the bulk of media reports, which routinely go unanswered by MHI’s media relations people, as Frank Rolfe noted. Yet, manufactured home owners – per third party research – are happy with their homes and lifestyle. The affordable housing focus group video includes comments from actual manufactured home owners. This is part of a planned multi-segment series.  Part one, is linked here.

Kevin Clayton in this softball interview below makes numerous surprising admissions about Warren Buffett, and how their grow “the moat” concepts operates. As Clayton says, the moat is designed to ever expand.  Buffett’s said he expects them to successfully expand and expand. That hurts competition.  Reports linked on this page further below are used to illustrate some of Kevin’s comments. Otherwise, the words spoken are unaltered.

Warren Buffett quotes followed by Buffett in his own words are the focus of the video below.  They show Buffett explaining some of the same concepts – such as “the moat,” and use of capital, which Kevin Clayton spoke about in his video, above.

Award winning independent retailer, Alan Amy, explaining why billionaires are buying up manufactured housing.

A montage of home owners and professionals, including a retired real estate agent, millennial, and a vet, all talking about their manufactured homes.

A walk down memory lane that takes viewers through trailer house, mobile home, and manufactured housing history in just minutes.

Industry professionals, on stage, questioning the effectiveness of MHI and their legislative efforts.

The reports linked below are just some of the dozens of reports published by MHProNews.  MHARR has done their own research.  It should be noted that for years, MHProNews published both MHARR and MHI news.  MHI suspended providing their news directly to MHI a few years ago, well prior to the more recent ‘heavy fact checks’ of their work.

Equal Justice, Citizen Power, and Manufactured Housing

“The Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis is Hiding in Plain Sight”

 

Kevin Clayton Interview-Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes CEO

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

Tunica, Nashville Trade Shows and Manufactured Housing Glory Days

MH Lending, FEMA and False Profits (and False Prophets)

MHARR vs. MHI on DOE Energy Rule, Pushback Pay$ Off?

NAHB Report – High Cost of Regulations Impact Housing – and Manufactured Housing

 

Two Great Laws Already on the Books NOW,  Can Unlock Billion$ Annually for Manufactured Housing Industry Businesse$, Investor$

An Examination of Manufactured Housing as a Community- and Asset-Building Strategy, Harvard JCHS, NeighborWorks, Ford Foundation

Study Recommending New Manufactured Housing Association for Independent Retailers, Communities, Lenders, Others Released

While Manufactured Housing Overall Rises, Some Slip Sliding Away

$58,000 PreFabs, Videos, Updates of More Hi-Tech Backers

“Trailer House Trauma,” Fresh Look at Manufactured Housing’s Opportunities

 

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Hawaii’s First “Trailer Park” on Oahu – Civil Beat’s Report Draws Heat

April 17th, 2018 Comments off

HawaiiFirstTrailerParkCivilBeatManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews550x322

Hawaii’s Governor David Ige issued a proclamation in 2017 to deal with that state’s growing problem with homelessness.

 

Affordable housing is big issue in Hawaii, as it is in many parts of the mainland United States.

Oahu Civil Beat’s Natanya Friedheim wrote a report in March about the latest effort under Gov. Ige’s proclamation to ease their homeless crisis.

That story by Friedheim drew sharp criticism from a civil rights advocate in her state.MarshaRoseJoynerDrMartinLutherKingJrCoalitionHonoluluAdvertiserDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The reason?

Nope, they are not trailer parks,” is the subheading from Marsha Rose Joyner, of Honolulu. “I find that the headline “Oahu’s First Trailer Park Just The Latest In New Wave Of Public Housing” is salacious and terribly misleading,” said Joyner, who is identified by Civil Rights Movement Vet as the “past president of the Hawaii Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition.”

Joyner makes points editors and journalists in Hawaii – and beyond – should take to heart.

Addressing Friedheim’s choice of terminology, Joyner said, “The article continues “It is in essence Oahu’s first trailer park.” That simply is not true,” in a letter to Civil Beat’s editor.

The residents of the Waianae Coast have enough problems without Civil Beat demeaning their new homes, alluding to the stigma of trailer trash and stripping them of their dignity before they move in,” Joyner chides Friedheim.

Joyner isn’t shy about her views.  Writing about America’s involvement in the Middle Eastern wars, she wrote in 2003, “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”  Nor was she silent in a more recent claim of discrimination involving a ten-year veteran police officer.

So, it is interesting to note Joyner’s unwillingness to be “silent” in the case of Friedheim’s incorrect and prejudicial terminology.

Often people use the terms trailer and mobile home interchangeably. There is a huge difference,” Joyner correctly stated.

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

By an act of Congress in 1974, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was designated as the government agency to oversee the Federal Manufactured Housing, “The Office of Regulatory Affairs and Manufactured Housing,” Joyner wrote.

The small living units provide homeless families more stability than they might find in shelters or on the streets, but it is unclear how long people will live in them,” Friedheim said of the new housing option.

CivilBeatKahuikiVillageNimitzHighwayHawaiiDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The photo and text above are part of Friedheim’s article, that Joyner critiqued. These are not mobile homes, or manufactured homes.  They are Japanese prefabs. Per her report in Civil Beat, the units apparently don’t meet many standards that Americans would find common in all housing, including manufactured homes.

Some of the prefab housing that Friedham described would be $120,000 for 1,000 square feet. That’s more than double what a typical single section home installed on the mainland would be.  In late 2017, the national average for a new single section home was about $50,000, and would be about that 1000 sq. feet, or perhaps larger, per U.S. Census Bureau data.  The national average for a typical multi-sectional would be under $100,000, in late 2017.

SukupManufacturingCoManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The photo and text above are also part of Friedheim’s article, which fails to make clear that these steel bin units are emergency shelters designed to sleep as many as 10 people.  But these Sukup units aren’t permanent housing in the sense that a manufactured home would be, which by federal law, must include cooking, and bathing facilities.

  

The Controversy Highlight the Issues

Hawaii has a population of about 1.42 million people. Gov. Ige’s efforts to fight homelessness claims there’s some 7,200 homeless in the state.

That’s down by several hundred, per the governor’s office, due to their efforts to ease restrictions on alternative housing, like the examples shown from Civil Beat, above.

On Feb 7, 2018, “the average rent for a studio apartment in Hawaii is a whopping $1,821. For one-bedroom apartments, it’s $1,903. The price jumps to $2,453 for two-bedroom apartments and $2,977 for three-bedroom apartments,” stated Smart Asset.

As of 2017 the median price for a single family home in Hawaii was $730K. Condos were $390K. Average rent in Hawaii (Oahu) for a studio will vary based on location but expect to pay around $1,670 with Waikiki studios going from $1,400 to about $1,700,” says Aim for Awesome’s housing report about the island.

Even allowing for shipping costs, manufactured homes would be a fraction of such figures.

FabMac – a manufactured home operation in Hawaii – said in post-dated 2015, that since 2006, some 20 manufactured homes had been sold and installed there. But a source in manufactured housing told MHProNews that tough restrictions were part of what kept them from doing more business on the islands.

The video posted below uses several incorrect terms, and the cost data can’t be relied upon, as much of it was not accurate, even at the time it was filmed. That said, the video reflects insights from Hawaiians who were interested in seeing more manufactured housing on the islands. Short interviews by “KentJ1” are laced together.  They paint a picture of why manufactured homes – which the video incorrectly calls “mobile homes” –  aren’t already being more utilized there.

It’s hard enough to find the truth and state it clearly, isn’t it? Even the truth is getting harder to identify,” Joynor wrote in 2003. As was noted above, her topic was different than housing. But the principles behind her words about the difficulty in finding the truth echo the thoughts of manufactured housing activist, the Rev. Donald Tye, Jr.

Tye has promoted the use of manufactured housing’s enhanced preemption, in order to provide blacks and others an opportunity to build equity that affordable home ownership provides.

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Tye explained that public housing – an entitlement – often yields addiction. Ownership vs. renting or living in “projects” leads to integrity, a view he likens to those of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hawaii, along with other states that struggle with affordability issues, would benefit significantly by an application of the enhanced preemption provided under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000 – see related reports, linked below).

But ignorance about the MHIA 2000, plus the challenges of NIMBY, zoning, and placement restrictions are only part of the problem.

A historic lack of follow through by HUD in enforcing preemption has arguably harmed the citizens of Hawaii, and other states.

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http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/industryvoices/harper-thank-you-rev-donald-tye-fighting-for-enhanced-preemption-of-manufactured-homes/

That has a ripple effect in an economy. A source with deep ties to HUD told MHProNews in 2017 that an attorney there tasked with enforcing preemption made it a habit of avoiding invoking that federal power.

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Every home in the photo collage above is a HUD Code manufactured home.

Will the Trump Administration and HUD Secretary Ben Carson change that pattern?

Carson’s recent comments praising the “amazing” progress in manufactured housing, and branding many of the regulations at HUD as “ridiculous” may provide a clue that change is coming.  They’ve frozen regulations at HUD.  A top-down review was ordered.  Will that review bring enforcement of federal preemption?  Or an end to “interpretative bulletins” (IB) that don’t meet the standards set by the MHIA 2000? Time will tell.

As Joyner said, there are times when one must not be silent.  ## (News, analysis, commentary.)

(Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports:

Two Great Laws Already on the Books NOW,  Can Unlock Billion$ Annually for Manufactured Housing Industry Businesse$, Investor$

“Move, Open, Live” De Rose Industries & Senator Thom Tillis’ Mobile Home Comments

Is More Manufactured Housing Coming to Hawaii?

 

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Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.