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Tim Sheahan, NMHOA President, Controversial Points of Agreement with Marty Lavin, George Allen on Communities

September 11th, 2018 Comments off

 

TimSheahanPresidentNMHOAControversialPointsAgreementMartyLavinGeorgeAllenMHCommunities600x315

When it comes to doing relevant fact checks, analysis, and commentary, timing is everything.

 

In 1970, my city of San Marcos had a population of less than 4,000 and was part of the dramatic manufactured housing community development boom of the 1970s, adding over 3,000 pads among 18 manufactured home communities, which led to more than a doubling of the population by the mid 1970s,” wrote Tim Sheahan, President of the National Manufactured Home Owners Association (NMHOA).

The comments were part of Sheahan’s much longer written comments to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which for the last 10 years has overseen the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs).

Like many areas of CA, manufactured home purchasers in San Marcos were lured away from metropolitan areas by the promise of a quiet semi-rural retirement lifestyle with low lot rents and nice amenities, which often included clubhouses/community centers, swimming pools and spas, saunas, shuffleboard courts, pool tables and card rooms, community kitchens; and, in some cases, tennis courts, golf courses and fishing ponds. Downsizing to a MH also enabled them to enhance their financial nest eggs for the retirement years. Initially, stiff competition among various developers during the only time a true “free market” situation existed in these communities commonly led to very reasonable starting rents.”

The above is a commentary that mobile/manufactured home professionals from that era, along with hundreds of thousands of mobile/manufactured home owners from that timeframe could agree upon.

Rephrased, those are statements that could be a possible starting point for common ground between communities and activist groups that are otherwise often at odds.

But what followed from Sheahan is where a significant degree of divergence – and hot controversies – arises.

Sheahan wrote, “As the communities filled with “im-mobile” homes, free market forces such as competition were lost and lot rents for captive homeowners skyrocketed in many areas of California. Proactive homeowners organized and eventually achieved rent stabilization ordinances in over 100 cities or counties in California to combat the contagious greed of many MH community operators. These ordinances protected not only homeowners, they protected lenders, dealers, manufacturers as well, while providing a “just and reasonable” return on investment for community operators, a similar standard as used in regulating utility rates. Local rent ordinances also helped fuel local economies by keeping more dollars in the pockets of homeowners to spend on goods and services rather than being sent to out-of-town operators in the form of excessive rent.”

Sheahan’s use of the term “im-mobile homes” is intelligent and insightful.  He thoughtfully explained that the phrase came from a researcher’s paper some years ago. He’s quite right to say that it’s not easy, instead it is costly, to move a manufactured home. Thus, the phrase, “im-mobile home.”

But the cost of a move for “im-mobile” manufactured homes (MH) are hardly the only factor that causes rising site fees in some communities. The proof is simple. In many parts of the country where land-lease site fees are rising rapidly – regardless of the cost – where would you move that “im-mobile home” to? Where are the new land-lease communities being opened in California, or many other states, that would keep the law of supply and demand in balance?

ManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformJOINMHARRbani-200x200

Click here or the above to learn more, which is not connected to this report.

Because it’s a combination of factors, including a lack of new construction of land-lease communities, that results in what Sheahan called “manufactured housing done extremely wrong,” when he, NMHOA or MHAction blast so-called ‘greedy’ property owners who aggressively hike a community’s site fees.

Sheahan’s own comments indirectly suggest as much, because it was during the MH community (MHC) building boom of the 1970s that MHC site fees were kept lower and in check.

So shouldn’t that be part of Sheahan and resident group’s arguments? That more communities need to be built, and more opportunities should be opened up for keeping site fees naturally in check?

The ‘two great laws’ could be one of those places where residents and manufactured home professionals – most notably, the small to mid sized independents – could find common ground.

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

 

George Allen, Marty Lavin – Periodic De Facto Allies With Sheahan?

Sheahan is not without de facto defenders, at least in part, among the ranks of manufactured housing professionals who oppose heavy hikes in manufactured home site fees on residents. For example, former community owners George Allen on his blog and Marty Lavin, JD, in recent comments to MHProNews have publicly attacked manufactured home community owners who have aggressively hiked site fees.

Lavin admits in written comments that he once did the same as community owners that raised rents to the point that residents moved out and legislators with rent control on their minds wanted to move in.  Lavin said that he realized through that process the error of that way.

He now cautions community owners from adopting that practice.

As Lavin told the Daily Business News on MHProNews in commenting about recent media reports that proved to be another black eye to the industry, “Sure, like most LLC [land lease community] owners, I railed at rent control. Hated it. Rent control was wrong, an intrusion on my property rights, raising rents was perfectly safe to do, a good business move, and it should be prohibited to have rent control! Over time, as I saw the destructive results of heavy rent and fee increases in LLCs, my thoughts shifted. There was a heavy bludgeon to the face to bring me around.”

That noted, a demonstrable problem that contributes to the concerns Sheahan and Lavin have described are land use policies.

Restrictive land-use, coupled with NIMBY-driven reactions, has demonstrably kept more manufactured home communities from being developed.  Restrictive land-use, and failure to enforce the enhanced preemption that the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 established, have made it more difficult for those facing higher site fees.

With reduced options for tens of thousands of manufactured home owners in land-leases who’ve faced heavier site fee hikes, that can seem like what community owner Frank Rolfe referred to as customers being chained to the booth of a Waffle House restaurant.

But those comments by Rolfe and Lavin need to be taken in their context. Former community owner Allen, by comparison, simply leveled a blast at those who have done such heavy-handed practices, arguably as a way of dodging his relationships to those who generate problematic headlines. See a related report, linked below.

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

In roughly the last 2 decades, thousands of more communities have closed as opposed to opening. These are market forces that Sheahan, Weymouth, or others don’t normally address as factors that directly contribute to rising site fees. See those related reports, linked below

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

So it is a variety of market-based issues, some having nothing to do with ‘greed,’ that contribute to higher costs for community owners, which in turn are passed on to residents.

  • Mr. Sheahan, and
  • Rob Weymouth, writing columns supported by the DMHOA – affiliates of NMHOA and MHAction – have apparently failed to consider or mention those as serious reasons.
  • Furthermore – and here’s where the avoidable tragedioes occurs – when resident groups unjustly protest, they are arguably contributing to a troubled image that can make the cycle described herein demonstrably worse.
  • MHProNews has argued for years that there is a better way for residents and businesses alike. The goal should be mutual victories – win-win – or the outcome will be win-lose. Who is going to benefit from those win-lose battles?  If you read what Weymouth and Sheahan both say, it is often going to be the few, and they will tend to be the larger consolidators of independently owned communities.
  • The reason is the law of supply and demand.  The supply side must be addressed, or the rising demand will only make the current trends worse.

See that column by Weymouth, and comments from his supporters, at the related report, linked below. As an FYI to those who’ve read that report, this is the promised “Part 2” follow up to it.

MH Communities, Owners, MH Independents Alert – NMHOA and MHAction Next Steps? – Part 1

In a free market, the solution that ought to be encouraged is the construction of more manufactured home communities.  Sheahan’s own comments above demonstrated that it was during that phase of the industry’s history that site fees were kept in check. Of course, because there was competition.

Competition for manufactured home owners kept site fees in check.

But land-use, local NIMBYism – arguably made worse by protests and legal battles – have eroded the climate that made the creation of thousands of manufactured home communities by small to mid sized businesses a norm in years gone by.

How to reverse the vexing trends of recent decades?

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has argued that it can be accomplished in part by making make more home sites available through a robust application by HUD of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 with local public officials.

There are fundamentally two paths.

  • The right combination of well informed and motivated residents combined with ethical businesses working together, which could lead to mutual victories through a savvy use of the free market.
  • Or by contrast, failure to act in win-win ways punishes the thousands of community owners who don’t do what Sheahan, Weymouth, Allen, and Lavin all say is wrong.  Who suffers?  Residents and small-to-mid sized businesses.  Larger businesses have historically proven to benefit vis a viz their smaller brethren in business when heavier regulations, including rent control or other factors, are in play.

 

Putting Facts in Perspective

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) statistics, their “data,” and claims are often wrong, as the Daily Business News on MHProNews has periodically pointed out.  MHI claims are unreliable often enough where they merit this type of disclaimer.

That said, MHI claims that site fees at manufactured home communities nationally average about 3 percent annually, similar to increases at apartments, but much lower than what property tax rates hikes are in markets from coast-to-coast.

CNBC reports that property values have doubled in the last 5 years, per ATTOM, and that some housing markets are seeing year over year (YoY) increases from 38 percent to 75 percent. RentCafe said 2017 increases in apartments were 2.5 percent over the prior year.

As WalletHub pointed out this year, “And though property taxes might appear to be a non-issue for the 37 percent of renter households, that couldn’t be further from the truth. We all pay property taxes, whether directly or indirectly, as they impact the rent we pay as well as the finances of state and local governments.”

WalletHubRealEstatePropertyTaxesByState2018DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The rent-control that Weymouth, DMHOA, NMHOA, MHAction and others promote will arguably only make the problem worse.  It is worth noting that not one official from NMHOA or MHAction would accept the offer of MHProNews publisher L. A. “Tony” Kovach to publicly discuss or debate the issues that led Weymouth to call on more Democrats to be elected.  Yet Weymouth himself admits that the rent control law his state’s legislature passed was “useless.”

In a Canadian province, their rent control law has likewise witnessed a shrinkage in home sites, as manufactured home communities close.  The result?  Similar to places, such as California, where when a community closes, it becomes difficult – as well as costly – to find another manufactured home community to move into.

The pattern described in the article below will arguably continue, so long as directives and roadblocks remain for the construction of new communities.  The other side of rent control is that fewer communities are being built.  However well intended Weymouth and Sheahan may be, good intentions can still have unintended and problematic consequences. The very things that Sheahan, Weymouth and others rails against are conditions created by heavy regulations, such as rent control.

UPDATE: MHC Future in Doubt, the Other Side of Rent Control

 

Avoidable Tragedies for MH Owners and Businesses Alike?

Sheahan and others affiliated with NMHOA or MHAction cite specific community owners as their examples for aggressive hikes in site fees.

MHI award winner Lavin says:

  • the MH lending fiasco in the late 1990s and early 2000s,
  • plus those in the community sector that do aggressive hikes that residents like Sheahan have protested,

have harmed the entire manufactured home industry’s image among regulators, lenders, investors, and the public.

If so, then is there an analogy – a parallel – in the MH industry and community sector to what Daily Business News readers discovered from the Poverty, Inc video report?

IfYouReallyWanttoHelpPovertyThenthepovertyIndustryAsWeKnowitHastoGoPovertyIncQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Well intentioned programs have proven to hurt the very people they are supposed to help. That’s the contention of the highly acclaimed video documentary, “Poverty, Inc.” See clips and Learn more at the link below.

Acclaimed Poverty Inc. Video, MHVille – Why Left & Right Should Listen, Learn From Each Other

Is there a need to rethink the true root causes of the issues that face residents along with the honorable professionals in the industry?  Is there a need for more than good will?  A combination of the heart and the head working together?  That’s what Poverty, Inc. advocates.

It remains to be seen if some of the leadership of resident groups would enter into a serious discussion/debate over what would really work long-term for all involved.

What seems clear at this point is that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) leadership has arguably rejected the possible courses of action that would be good for residents and small-to-mid-sized businesses alike. As Lavin has said, they operate on behalf of the big boys.

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustry'sMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNews

MHProNews looks at the facts, considers the sources, and follows the evidence. MHI earlier last year, and for years before, MHI routinely replied promptly to all inquiries. But since we’ve spotlighted the problems and concerns associated with MHI, they’ve gone silent. Why? If the facts are on their side, why not make offer a cogent explanation?

The industry’s most recent results suggest that by year’s end, something like 100,000 (+/-) new manufactured homes could be built.  But it should and could be more like 1 million (+/-) new homes annually that are needed to close the gap in affordable housing. Consider what the National Association of Realtors™ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun had to say about supply, demand and its impact on price hikes.

LawrenceYunNARShort8.3MillionHousingUnitsRisingRentsHousingPricesCuredOnlyByMoreBuilding

Collage by MHProNews.

Those same principles outlined by Yun need to be generously applied to manufactured housing.

There are many contributing causes that explain the gap between how manufactured housing as an industry is performing, how it worked in the past, and how it could or should be.  The evidence reviewed in numerous reports on MHProNews reveals the gap and its causes.  See the linked related reports, found further below.  But this next Lavin-ism is worth mentioning.

YouGetMoreOfWhatYouEncourageLessofWhatYouDiscourageMartyLavin

The logic of this statement can be applied to a variety of cases.

What is certain is that how homeowner groups – or associations such as MHI, MHARR, NFIB or others – behave publicly in ways that contribute to the cure or the cause of that gap.

MHARR and NFIB are demonstrably acting in ways that are improving the business climate.  By contrast, MHI is continuing to behave much as they have since Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway entered into manufactured housing in 2003, and began the takeover of MHI.  MHI acts in favor of their largest members, is what Lavin and others have said.

Getting headlines may create a thrill for some among resident-activists, but isn’t the bottom line result the more important metric?

The evidence suggests that NMHOA, MHAction – however well intended their members may be – are being led down a problematic path that has never produced the outcome they desired.

As the midterms approach, there are broadly speaking, two choices for resident and other groups.

  • Which political party is advocating for failed approaches, such as rent control?
  • Which party has done better in recent years for elevating the incomes and opportunities for workers?
  • Which party in recent years has done more for creating the kind of investor/capital environment that has lead to more business and job growth?
  • Which party is working toward more housing options, including more manufactured homes and communities?

Before you cast your ballots, get informed. Because the right vote can accelerate the real progress being made for manufactured housing during the still young Trump Administration. The wrong vote can slow or even reverse that progress.

Former President Barack Obama had eight years in the Oval Office. His first two of those eight years his party had control of the House, and Senate.  We should ask Mr. Weymouth and Mr. Sheahan:

  • Exactly what did Democrats do on a practical level that lifted up residents of manufactured housing?
  • Didn’t the rate of home ownership decline during the last Democratic Administration?
  • Didn’t the super-rich billionaire class – people like Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos Bill Gates, and other supporters of Mr. Obama – grow richer?
  • Meanwhile, didn’t the working and middle class tread water or lose ground?
  • Didn’t small business suffer during the Obama years, while the giants and their lobbyists thrived?

YouAreEntitledtoYourOwnOpinions.ButYouAreNotEntitledToYourOwnFactsDanielPatrickMoynihanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

There’s talk and there’s results. There is style and there is substance. There’s feel good belief, and then there is evidence and facts. Which do you want? “We Provide, You Decide.” © (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Fresh Facts, Figures, Future of Affordable Housing -Comparisons- Conventional Site-Built v Mobile/Manufactured Home Industry Data

 

“Thou Shall Not Steal,” $2 Trillion Annually Lost to Lack of Affordable Homes, Making the Manufactured Home Case

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Pain, Pleasure, Persuasion, Honesty, and Sustainable MHVille Profits

September 9th, 2018 Comments off


SundayMorningRecapManufacturedHousingIndustryNewsMHProNewsLogoResearchDataReports9.2.2018to9.9.2018

There are precisely three ways to influence any organization of whatever size.

Influence can only occur:

  • From within an organization,
  • from outside of a given group or
  • from a combination of both.

That’s the clarity of applied logic or common-sense reasoning.

PainPleasurePersuasionHonestyAndSustinableMHVilleProfits

Pain, Pleasure, Persuasion, Honesty, and Sustainable MHVille Profits.

Day by day, MHProNews and MHLivingNews presents facts, figures, evidence, analysis, reasoning, and specific stories.

Why?

Because it works. Reasoning and stories influence people.

Let’s be clear. Some will run from reason or will avoid topics that make them uncomfortable. But the subconscious mind, once exposed to a fact, doesn’t readily forget it. Facts and evidence may get drowned out for a time, but reality has a way of making a comeback.

Pain in the body is a signal that something is wrong. Pleasure and pain can both be manipulated. Emotions used correctly motivates, used incorrectly, can be tricked and manipulated. Humanity was created with both emotion and the ability to reason.

Carrots, sticks, and repetition are how people get attracted, maneuvered, or manipulated. But a cogent presentation of facts and evidence can cut through the noise with some, and those people can in turn influence others.

Let’s start with an example outside of professional associations, but that still matter to everyone in MHVille. Manufactured home (MH) resident groups.

MH resident groups can be right, wrong or a combination of those.

But right or wrong, MH resident groups clearly have influence. Here are a few examples:

  • For years, the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) has had one or more resident group members on it. The MHCC, which meets again this week, has legally established influence at HUD, under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA).
  • You may or may not give the MHCC a second thought. But the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), some companies, and state association certainly do. So do resident groups. Because the MHCC can influence several things that impact the HUD Code manufactured homes that are sold by the industry.
  • At state legislatures, at the local governments level, or in congressional hearings, resident groups have and can make a difference for or against a pending law or other administrative actions.

Knowing this about resident groups, there are state associations that work with them as best they can.

MHARR has had contact with them too, on issues like the Duty to Serve (DTS) Manufactured Housing mandated for the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs or Enterprises) of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) in 2008.

As those who have sat in MHI meetings know, MHI leaders have often cursed resident groups. But like them or not, NMHOA, MHAction and their state affilates are a reality. Better deal with them, or one must find a way to replace their influence with something better.

MH Resident groups matter.

As community owners in numerous states have learned, resident groups can’t be ignored. If they are ignored, it is only at a cost. So, you don’t have to like MHAction or NMHOA to realize they’re a reality that influences bottom-lines literally from coast-to-coast.

But up until recently, who has thought to challenge them in publicly in a debate? Or what about supplanting/replacing them when they won’t see reason on issues that can improve the lives of residents they claim to care about, as well as businesses like yours?

Let’s look at another example, from outside or MHVille. Political parties and candidates.

What government at all levels does or doesn’t do absolutely influences businesses of all sizes. That’s true in and beyond manufactured homes.

So, MHProNews uniquely looks at “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing.” ©

You ignore politics at the risk of your investments of time, talent, and treasure.

You might have the best product, service, value, and the happiest customers. But government action or inaction on an important issue can strengthen, weaken, speed, slow or destroy your business.

The power to tax, and the power to regulate involve are the power to destroy. That’s based on a Supreme Court justice’s famous statement, shown below. That’s reality.

JohnMarshallSupremeCourtJusticePowertoTaxInvolvesPowerToDestoryPowerToDestroyMayDefeatPowertoCreateQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Like it or not, political parties, resident groups, associations, and media all influence government.  Government in turn sets the rules that can make or break your business.

So, if you want to be successful long-term in business:

1)    you have to go beyond product, service, marketing, sales and technology. You have to be aware of, and hopefully influence those, that influence others.

2)    If you don’t pay attention to those outside factors, others are and will set the rules of the game in ways that will help or harm your business.

ManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformJOINMHARRbani-200x200

Click here or the image above to learn more, which is not connected to this report.

3)    The same is true for homeowners. Whatever the intent of their members, NMHOA and MHAction arguably advocate for things harmful to manufactured home owners and businesses alike. Proving the harm of radical activists by a cogent use of facts, evidence, and reasoning is thus useful to all.  By all, that means the vast majority of MH home owners, as well as to MH businesses of all sizes and types.

4)    The same is true of both major parties. As political independents, we can say there is one thing about the Democratic platform that – on paper – is good for independent businesses. What is it? Their antitrust/anti-monopoly plank could, if used properly, make a difference for small businesses. But we frankly don’t see Democrats using it yet. Republicans – the so-called Grand Old Party or GOP – tends to be more pro-businesses.  But the GOP has for years done, or failed to do, certain things that harm independents of all sizes. But now, at the federal level and in dozens of states, the GOP has a modest edge in the branches of elected government.

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5)    Thankfully, under President Donald J. Trump’s leadership, he is addressing issues in the GOP like the border, immigration, regulatory relief, tax cuts, tax reform, attracting more capital, putting solid Constitutionally minded justices on the Supreme Court, protecting religious liberty, job creation, helping wages rise naturally, education, etc. These are all pragmatic.  They are useful to people and businesses alike. Thus, Pro-Trump candidates are thus getting our vote and editorial support.

But the point of this analysis and commentary is this.

You may be the most honest or ethical person in your town. You may have great value and service. But as ELS’ Sam Zell observed, others with no investment in your company or profession others can make, break, minimize or maximize your business, profits, and results.

That’s why on the slowest day of the Labor Day weekend, literally thousands of more professionals were reading and viewing content on MHProNews than any other similar trade resource in our industry. Because we at MHProNews and on MHLivingNews keep our eyes on issues that matter to you, as well as to your present, and potential customers.

Pain, pleasure, persuasion, and honestly sustainable MHVille profits can only be achieved via reality-based action. That requires solid information. Day-by-day, we bring you the MH “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use.” ©

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For our Jewish friends and colleagues, happy Rosh.

With no further adieu, let’s look at the headlines, reports, facts, and stories that can help make you navigate business better and more profitably.  Together, let’s look at the issues that can make manufactured homes more available to millions of potential buyers, who should become happy home owners. We’ll start with MHLivingNews, the Masthead, and then do the Daily Business News recaps for last week.

What’s New on MHLivingNews

mhlivingnews-improvedlivingforle-logo

Affordable Living! Before and After Video, Remodeling a 1972 Mobile Home, Under $5,000

Affordable Living! Before and After Video, Remodeling a 1972 Mobile Home, Under $5,000

What’s New on the Masthead

“How Dare You…!” ELS’ Howard Walker Blast at MH Industry Professional

“How Dare You…!” ELS’ Howard Walker Blast at MH Industry Professional

What’s New on the Daily Business News on MHProNews

1DailyBusinessNewsLogoMHProNewsLogo-1

Saturday 9.8.2018
Shanah Tovah, Happy Rosh! About Leaping Cultural Barriers, and Where the Buck Stops

Shanah Tovah, Happy Rosh! About Leaping Cultural Barriers, and Where the Buck Stops

Friday 9.7.2018

Former President Barack Obama Says President Trump is “Symptom, Not the Cause,” plus MH Market Updates

Former President Barack Obama Says President Trump is “Symptom, Not the Cause,” plus MH Market Updates

Clayton Homes and 21st Mortgage’s Manufactured Housing “Spies”

Clayton Homes and 21st Mortgage’s Manufactured Housing “Spies”

Manufactured Housing Production Report – After Slow June 2018, July 2018 Increases

Manufactured Housing Production Report – After Slow June 2018, July 2018 Increases

“Growth,” “Fight on to Victory,” “One People, One Family, and One Glorious Nation Under God”

“Growth,” “Fight on to Victory,” “One People, One Family, and One Glorious Nation Under God”

 

Thursday 9.6.2018

Facebook Recent Big Hit, More Trouble Ahead? Plus, MH Market Updates

Facebook Recent Big Hit, More Trouble Ahead? Plus, MH Market Updates

Hot MHVille Issue, Boils Among Most Americans too

Hot MHVille Issue, Boils Among Most Americans too

“Disastrous,” “Uncompetitive” “Takeover” of “Government Sanctioned Monopoly” Blasted in Congress as Bi-Partisan Fix Unveiled

“Disastrous,” “Uncompetitive” “Takeover” of “Government Sanctioned Monopoly” Blasted in Congress as Bi-Partisan Fix Unveiled

Deaths in MH Communities from Trees Falling, “Get to the Root of It”

Deaths in MH Communities from Trees Falling, “Get to the Root of It”

 

Wednesday 9.5.2018

Like No Place Else, plus Manufactured Housing, Stocks, Market Updates

Like No Place Else, plus Manufactured Housing, Stocks, Market Updates

8 Questions for Joe Stegmayer, George Allen, Spencer Roane, GSEs, MHI, FHFA, Other Presenters At Indianapolis Roundtable Meeting

8 Questions for Joe Stegmayer, George Allen, Spencer Roane, GSEs, MHI, FHFA, Other Presenters At Indianapolis Roundtable Meeting

MH Communities, Owners, MH Independents Alert – NMHOA and MHAction Next Steps? – Part 1

MH Communities, Owners, MH Independents Alert – NMHOA and MHAction Next Steps? – Part 1

NDAs, Warren Buffett, Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), and MHVille

NDAs, Warren Buffett, Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), and MHVille

 

Tuesday, 9.4.2018

Senate Hearings, “High Tech Lynching” plus MH Market Updates

Senate Hearings, “High Tech Lynching” plus MH Market Updates

Blue Collar Worker Attitude, Outlook, Finances – Latest Data, Express-Harris Survey

Blue Collar Worker Attitude, Outlook, Finances – Latest Data, Express-Harris Survey

Main Place in MHVille That’s Cracked the Glass Ceiling?

Main Place in MHVille That’s Cracked the Glass Ceiling?

50 States Ranked by Income, Credit – Manufactured Housing Marketers Data, Cheet Sheet

50 States Ranked by Income, Credit – Manufactured Housing Marketers Data, Cheet Sheet

 

Monday 9.3.2018

2018’s Hardest-Working States in America, How Does Your State Rank?

2018’s Hardest-Working States in America, How Does Your State Rank?

Manufactured Housing’s Labor Day, Celebrating Those That Do the Work

Manufactured Housing’s Labor Day, Celebrating Those That Do the Work

Manufactured Home Retailers, Communities, Is Your Merchandising Nordstrom’s or Salvation Army? Monday MH Marketing, Sales Meeting

Manufactured Home Retailers, Communities, Is Your Merchandising Nordstrom’s or Salvation Army? Monday MH Marketing, Sales Meeting

Tucker’s “Tech Tyranny,” Luther Lowe-SVP Public Policy@Yelp, Author Scott Clelan, “Should Government Intervene?”

Tucker’s “Tech Tyranny,” Luther Lowe-SVP Public Policy@Yelp, Author Scott Clelan, “Should Government Intervene?”

 

Sunday 9.2.2018

Biblical “Talents,” Words, Ideas, Evidence, and Practical Impact on Manufactured Housing, Sunday Morning Recap, MHProNews Headlines Aug 26 to Sept 2, 2018

Biblical “Talents,” Words, Ideas, Evidence, and Practical Impact on Manufactured Housing, Sunday Morning Recap, MHProNews Headlines Aug 26 to Sept 2, 2018

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SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com. Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Major Shakeup-HUD Manufactured Housing Program-Danner, Starkey-Manufactured Housing Industry Regulators, Associations, MHI, MHARR – Special Report

December 21st, 2017 Comments off

HUDCodeManufacturedHomeProgramShakeupDrainTheHUDSwampManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews525

America is in a well-documented affordable housing crisis.

NAR’s Yun – No Quick Fixes Spell$ Manufactured Housing Opportunitie$

As MHLivingNews and MHProNews have noted for years, an important part of the solution for that crisis has been hiding in plain sight.

Uncommon Sense, Stating the Obvious, Affordable Housing Crisis, and Manufactured Homes

When a Harvard University researcher predicted in a document cited by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) that manufactured homes could for several good reasons overtake the conventional housing builders in total numbers, the claim made good sense to many at the time.

MultipleReasonsExpectManufacturedHousingDoBetterThanSiteBuiltHousingEricBelskyEecDirJointCenterHousingStudiesHarvardUnivDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

At the time Belsky made this prediction, manufactured homes were selling over 300,000 new units per year. This year, we’ll not reach 1/3 of that total. What happened?

So what happened?

Why did that Harvard prediction not come to pass?

Only 2 Choices – Media Engagement, Manufactured Homes, & You – Monday Morning Sales Meeting

Stating the Obvious often helps clarify a subject, especially for those outsiders looking into the industry, as well as for industry newcomers.

Rephrasing, Stating the Obvious Benefits:

  • Manufactured Home (MH) Industry newcomers. There are thousands of millennials and other demographic groups who have entered the industry in the last decade.  Numbers of these, per industry sources, have insufficient knowledge about several of the facts and mechanics of their own industry.  This topic about HUD is one of them.
  • Researchers, including academics, media (who are increasingly on our trade-media websites),
  • non-profits, and housing advocates.
  • Investors (both foreign and domestic),
  • public officials: federal, state, and local.
  • others housing industry professionals, who may sincerely believe they understand an issue related to manufactured housing, but in fact may need to reset perceptions, based upon new insights, and industry changes.
  • Last but not least; our own operations will reference this report, to recruit and orient new MHPro Team members to our consulting, trade media, services and related operations in the first quarter of 2018.

 

Executive Summary: Major HUD Code MH Office Shakeup

In this specific news and analysis column, we will look at additional details from yesterday’s breaking news about Pam Danner and Lois Starkey’s departure – at least for now – from the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Manufactured Housing Programs.

Word of Danner’s and Starkey’s temporary – perhaps permeant? – departure has come to the Daily Business News via a series of tips, initially from industry readers.

Exclusive – HUD’s Manufactured Housing Program Administrator Pam Danner, Update

The HUD website has not yet reflected the change, but tips have been confirmed by other informed sources.

OfficeManufacturedHousingDirecotry201712-21-0541ETDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The Daily Business News has been told that Teresa Payne is the acting administrator.

We have also been informed that it is not unusual for a delay to occur in this type of personnel change to be noted on the HUD website.

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

For all those who may not realize the full meaning and potential impact of this shakeup at the HUD Office of Manufactured Housing Programs, is the following, detailed, Special Report, with the background and analysis warranted.

Why the HUD Shakeup Matters, “Inside MH” 

As industry veterans and numerous public officials ought to know, HUD is the federal agency that has the primary authority for federally-regulated manufactured housing’s construction and safety standards.

Researchers, media,and others are at times under the false impression that the terminology surrounding manufactured housing is optional, a matter of taste, or a marketing tool.  Each of those impressions would be inaccurate.

As the Louisiana Manufactured Housing Association’s (LMHA) Steve Duke succinctly stated it, the terminology matters because the terminology defines the construction standards. Using the wrong term, therefor means an inaccurate description.

There have been no ‘mobile homes’ built in the U.S. since the advent of the HUD Code for manufactured housing, which went into effect on June 15, 1976.

40th birthday of Manufactured Housing, End of Mobile Home era

That’s a legal, building standards/code, and terminology distinction.

It’s not just Duke or industry pros who’ve made this statement. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) used the following to make a similar point. Manufactured homes are routinely safer, more durable, and energy saving than their pre-HUD Code counterparts.

ManufacturedHomeNotMotorHomeNotTrailerOftenCalledMobileHomeNotThatEitherNFPAFireAnalysisManufacturedHousingIndustryResearchDataDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

They are also safer – somewhat less fire prone – than conventional housing.  But would you know that from some media reports?

Avoidable Tragedies! Mobile Home Fires vs. Manufactured Home, and Conventional Housing

So misusing the terminology means inaccurate, inappropriate, and words can lead to a false conclusion.

“Home Sweet Home” – Assistant Mayor Wants to End Housing Choice Stigma

Further, it may be as insulting to home owners and professionals as the N-Word is the a black man, as the Rev. Donald Tye, Jr. told MHProNews.

ItsAsWrongtoUseNWordToDescribeBlackAsUseTWordTodescribeManufacturedHomeRevDonaldTyeJr.ManufacturedHousingNotT-railerNotNword

All of these are good reasons for mainstream media journalists, editors, and producers who want to adhere to the ideals of the Society for Professional Journalism’s code of ethical standards should habitual use.

 

 

If a factory-built home carries the HUD label and a HUD data plate, it is a manufactured home, not a mobile home.

RedHUDCodeMetalLabel=ManufacturedHomeNOTMobileHomeNOTTinyHouseNOTrv-CreditsManufactruredHomeLivingNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

RedHUDLabelHUDCodeManufacturedHomeDataPlateManufacturedHomeLivingNews

The generic quote from Daniel Patrick Moynihan reflects a point that it is a disservice to potentially millions when the improper terminology is applied to manufactured housing.

YouAreEntitledtoYourOwnOpinions.ButYouAreNotEntitledToYourOwnFactsDanielPatrickMoynihanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The graphic below represents the evolution from trailer houses, to mobile homes,to manufactured homes, while providing a visual that dramatically reflects the differences between those various kinds of building.

FactoryHousingEvolution101TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHome

 

HUD is the Primary Federal Regulator of a Federally Preemptive Code

Anecdotal evidence suggests that most state and local public officials don’t realize that manufactured homes are federally preemptive.

Yet, under the terms of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000), that federal preemption of local standards was labeled as “enhanced preemption.”

While it is beyond the scope of this report, that enhanced preemption over local zoning is often ignored, but that doesn’t mean the legal status doesn’t exist. Reasons why preemption are important are covered in a recent legal case, linked below.

 

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

Because Regulatory Enforcement, or Overreach Matters,

The Danner/Starkey Shakeup at HUD Matters

Against that backdrop and the issues noted below, the news about Danner and Starkey’s status is a significant issue for the manufactured housing industry.

As the primary regulators for the manufactured home industry, the program’s director is an important role in how legal standards, “guidance,” and interpretations of rules and standards are carried out, or not.

This has been a hot topic for industry professionals on several levels, including, but not limited to,

  • installation standards,
  • the (in)ability for local jurisdictions to mandate such items as fire sprinklers, and
  • the revised alternative construction (AC), on-site completion standards.

Each of these impacts the costs and complexities driven by regulations of the manufactured home (MH) industry.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) Finds Manufactured Home Industry Support for Reform bill

 

Regulatory Impacts in the National News

In the post-World War II era where regulatory forces have grown stronger at the federal level – at the state and local levels too – regulations can serve multiple purposes, and has a wide range of effects.

The Trump Administration’s dramatic regulatory roll-backs are given credit by many as a factor for the increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  The graphic below reflects what some researches have said are the costs to the U.S. economy driven by regulation.

 

CostRegulation4TrillionYear12KPerPersonManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews779

One of the illustrations included in the attached submission on behalf of manufactured home industry independents by L. A. “Tony” Kovach. Image credits are as shown.

Those regulatory costs hit the manufactured home industry too.  See as examples the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and National Association of Manufacturers studies linked below that suggest the impact of regulations on business.

 

Those higher costs must be passed along to consumers, so ultimately it is the consumer that pays.

The NAHB’s “Priced Out” report states that for every $1000 in higher costs, some 200,000 potential home buying consumers are priced out of the ability to buy a home.

 

Among the effects on business are the widely recognized reality that regulations can be a barrier of entry for a business.

But as Dodd-Frank and other examples have demonstrated, regulatory complexity and risk can also prove to be a barrier for staying in an industry.

The heavier and more complex the regulations, the greater the impact on business.

That in turn impacts job retention/creation.

 

Segue – Trade Media vs. Mainstream Media

Another Stating the Obvious bullet point is that Trade Media – trade journalism – is ideally understood as a subset of news media, but is also different from, mainstream news journalism.

How so?

In doing any story, the journalists basic goal is to answer the questions of “who, what, when, where, why, and how.” These are the same for mainstream and trade media.

But informed trade media have an obvious advantage in a specialized field, if the trade journalist is seasoned, and has the necessary insider insights and sources within an industry.

Thus, for years, MHLivingNews and MHProNews videos has often carried the subtitle, “This Is Inside MH” ©.  Those “MH Insider © insights can – and should – completely transform any story that relates to factory-built housing.

For example. In the case of federally regulated HUD Code manufactured homes, when the manufactured home industry trade journalist knows and understands the perspectives of:

  • Regulators: who can be federal, as well as state and local officials.
  • Business: independent operations, as well as the larger corporations. In the case of MHProNews/MHLivingNews, as both trade media, and as a multiple awards and recognition winning MH industry veteran who does ongoing industry consulting/services, ours is arguably an unmatched perspective. Why? Because we have a depth of knowledge about the MH Industry in journalism. What we don’t know about MH – because no one knows it all – we can rapidly grasp, because we have worked in the trenches of the manufactured home (MH) industry for over a quarter century. Our network of industry contacts is extensive.
  • Associations: the two primary national association – the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), plus the dozens of state manufactured home associations and their staffers. In the case of this special report writer, most of those individuals are known personally, along with numbers of business professionals across the industry’s spectrum.
  • MH Home Owners and Prospective Consumers: including years of first-hand knowledge, as well as knowledge gained via third party university, insurance, or other outside research.
  • Media: as trade media and as a professional, we have years of interaction with mainstream media. For years prior to and since launching MHProNews, and later, ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com (a.k.a. MHLivingNews.com), we also interacted with other industry trade media, as well as with mainstream local, regional, and national media in the course of our work.

An uncommsioned third party look at our work is linked below. By way of disclosure to mainstream media, investors and researchers, the journalist who wrote that linked story, worked afterwards with our for a time as a contract writer.

 

 

Federal Regulators, HUD, and Manufactured Housing

While all levels of government arguably impact a business, in the case of the federally regulated construction and safety standards of manufactured housing, not all other industries are as regulated as manufactured housing is.

Against that backdrop, the shakeup at the manufactured housing program office could play a significant role in how several controversies surrounding regulatory and placement issues are played out.

For example, there is university research that MHLivingNews has previously reported, commissioned by HUD, which has an important revelation to those seeking proven solutions to the affordable housing crisis. When NIMBY – Not in My Back Yard – mentalities strike, it is often due to the mistaken notion that manufactured homes cause the depreciation of conventional housing. The HUD PD&R research linked below demonstrates that such as not the case.

Other, more recent research, also demonstrates that manufactured home values can rise-or-fall for the same reasons as conventional housing values do.

The Pam Danner, Lois Starkey Controversies

Few items spotlight the dramatic difference between the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

MHARR’s basic instinct for years has been to carefully analyze a piece of rule making or legislation, and then plan a strategy based upon education to address or stop it.

MHARR, unlike the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), has no political action committee (PAC).  They work with an elected (or appointed) official based upon rezoning and engagement alone.

Does that work?

A recent example reveals that MHARR’s method can and does bear good fruit.

 

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

By contrast, the much larger and many times more expensive MHI team, which has a PAC, has routinely failed at obtaining their own stated objectives.

Instead, MHI attempts to dazzle their members with

  • busy work in the form of emails, that don’t achieve their stated goals,
  • meetings which many admit are pleasant functions and which may for some yield networking opportunities, but that nevertheless fail to achieve their stated purpose. Namely, to do what is necessary to stop or reverse bad legislation or regulations.

 

Mighty MHARR? Meek MHI?

That MHARR success example could be buttressed by others, which are linked within the Daily Business News article above, where MHARR and other industry voices – often carried here on MHProNews – successfully caused MHI to change their position.

This issue of Pam Danner is arguably one of those forced pivots.

Andy Gallagher, “Ousting” Pam Danner, MHI, Clayton’s RVP, WVHI – “Transparency”

It is sad and stressful to many in the industry that this scenario exists, where the two national associations routinely fail to agree on important issues.

In fact, on the issue of Pam Danner and her appointment itself, is a case where the two national associations ‘agreed’ in principle to both support Vic DeRose for the administrator’s role. But then MHI reportedly failed to keep their end of the bargain.

The industry could have had Vic De Rose – an attorney with deep connections and knowledge of the industry – for the non-career administrator that the two national associations met and agreed upon for the leadership of the HUD Office Manufactured Housing Programs.

But per multiple sources in D.C. and Arlington, an MHI insider allegedly helped Danner get the nod.  And that coup for Danner – that has widely been seen as harmful to much of the industry – was ‘achieved’ by MHI, even though Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN), wrote a letter in support of Vic DeRose.

Is that MHI’s meaning of “Got Clout?”

Avoidable Fumbles, Missteps, and Failures

Which begs the question. If MHI is forced after a time to pivot or change their position, why did the pick an arguably weaker or flawed position to begin with?

  • Was it a flawed MHI analysis?
  • Was it reactive, vs. proactive, thinking – as prior MHI Chairman Nathan Smith said the association must admit has occurred?  A problem Smith said he wanted to avoid at MHI in the future?  See the video below to hear Smith in his own words.

  • Or has it been so because – as several voices inside and outside of MHI have alleged – that the largest companies that dominate MHI benefit directly or indirectly regardless if their claimed position is successful, or not.
  • Which is it? And if one is objective, given their track record for failing to achieve their own claimed primary goals many years, does it matter to their rank-and-file, mom-and-pop to mid-sized dues paying members?

MHI literally and figuratively, per several sources, is picking ‘winners and losers’ in the industry. If that is so, and if that is their meaning of “clout,” then more than one attorney has told MHProNews that MHI may be more akin to a racket than a traditional association.

“Accurate, but Misleading” MHI Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act Alert – ‘Weaponized New$,’ Fact Check$

What Was Starkey Doing?

Starkey was, per sources, reportedly blamed by MHI president Richard “Dick” Jennison as having been the reason that Pam Danner got the top job over the MH program at HUD. There was friction reported between the two, as MHProNews has previously noted.

Was that alleged friction between Jennison and Starkey an example of the hostile workplace environment, previously reported at the link below?

Sexual Harassment-Not Just Hollywood, Media, Politicos-Manufactured Housing Workplace Claims, High Profile MH Cases Too?

When Starkey exited MHI, was there a settlement?  A non-disclosure agreement?  Industry attorney  William Hart informed MHProNews that such settlements often come with a non-disclosure agreement.

Given the rapid shift of Starkey to HUD, and now her exit from the program office, there are unanswered questions.  Those questions may be clarified, if MHI opened their books for a forensic, third-party examination.

Even MHI board members have voiced their frustration to MHProNews with the secrecy that has dominated the group, most notably since Jennison has come into office, and Berkshire Hathaway has exerted more dominance over the direction of the organization.

That BH dominance is exemplified by having two of the four executive committee seats held by a Berkshire Hathaway member, with a third seat held by a company led by a former Clayton Homes division president. The fourth seat, is held by ELS.   ELS reportedly have done business with Berkshire Hathaway (BH) owned divisions.

But it is ELS Chairman Sam Zell who on the MHI stage made the statement below, which can easily be interpreted as a dig against MHI, and against Berkshire Hathaway’s financial dominance.

SamZellManufacturedHousingIndustryManufacturedHomeCommunitiesMastheadIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

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

ChrisStinebertManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIPresidentCreditTheJournalManufacturedHomeProfessionalNewsMHProNewsEven an exiting MHI President politely criticized the organization for its failures, see that document linked here.

The Bottom Lines?

Manufactured housing growth dropped almost 20 years ago, and has been stymied for years, even though Harvard researchers and others believed there would be a recovery and gr0wth.

MobileManufacturedHomeAnnualShipments1959-2012CalculatedRisk-DailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryResearchReportsMHProNews

If MHI had the solutions that they claim, would the industry have seen the kind of slides witnessed since 1998?

There are several indicators that BH units that dominate various sectors of the industry are happy with how MHI functions.  If not, then wouldn’t they logically change staff leadership, and the association’s directions?

“Perverse”–Warren Buffett-Dodd-Frank, CFPB, Manufactured Housing, Loans, Independent Businesses Fact Check$

The rational conclusion is that BH and MHI take their courses of action because they like them, which fits the thoughtful, planned, long-termed mode of Warren Buffett, chairman of big Berkshire.

That would then lead the independents of the industry to conclude that MHI is either inept, ineffective or on a course of action that is deliberate.  Those who believe the latter, say the reasons are clear.  If MHI gets what they claim to want, the biggest companies – which include units owned by BH – benefit.  If MHI fails at obtaining what they claim to want to accomplish, then independents struggle, and are consolidated or fail.

These are among the reasons why Democratic lawmakers are pushing federal officials to investigate BH, Clayton, and perhaps MHI itself.

Make no mistake. Our sources tell us that this step reflects the “fingerprints” of the Trump Administration. They, per our sources, are “aware” of the problems.

And if MHI – once more, belatedly – makes a claim that this was somehow their doing (cough, cough), then they should be asked, why they waited so long to take make this pivot?

  • How do they respond to Democrats who charge BH dominates MHI as a near monopoly?
  • And how do they respond to the fact that just days before the election, MHI had two paid Hillary Clinton supporters on their stage?
  • Hasn’t MHI dumped on each of the two major party constituencies?

The problems at the HUD Code manufactured housing program office have led to two major groups being impacted.  Consumers, and independent businesses.

HUD’s Belated, Blustering “Promotion” of Manufactured Homes

Caution

On a cautionary note, HUD has per our sources not yet finalized the transfer of Danner. Our sources say it is for 120 days, and that Teresa Payne will be the acting head in the interim.

Now You Will Hear — the Rest of the Story

Thousands of industry professionals will cheer this shakeup at HUD.

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

But this struggle against the so-called DC Swamp isn’t yet a done deal.

HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, Vice President Mike Pence, and any other Trump Administration officials in the loop on this need to know that this was a move that needs to be made permeant.  They also need to learn who is, and isn’t, working for the broader interests of consumers and the independent businesses that have been hog-tied for too long by bureaucrats, such as the one who has headed up the HUD Code manufactured home program office.

MH Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use.” © “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Analysis, commentary, fact checks, news, trends.)

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FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovach(C)2017MHproNewsBy L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Kovach is the award-winning managing-member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC,
parent to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
Both are #1 in their categories.

Kovach is one of the most endorsed and recommended professionals in all of manufactured housing.