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New Manufactured Homes Regulatory Program Update

January 22nd, 2018 1 comment

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It was a battle that the entire industry needed to track, because of the implications for other state governments that might be tempted to follow suit.

In spite of several ‘false narratives,’ the manufactured home industry ultimately lost that battle.

Fires Burning Manufactured Housing’s Public Image? News, Review, MH Industry Impact

Now, the questions shift to what will the new regulatory regime mean for industry professionals in Ohio? Or what could it foreshadow in other states?

Last year, the battle to save the Ohio Manufactured Home Commission achieved an initial win in their House, only to be defeated in their state Senate.

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) gave the Ohio state association some support – but obviously, it was not enough. It is yet another example of MHI showing their flag, without achieving their stated goal.

Manufactured Homes Commission Abolished, Effective January 21, 2018

The Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC) ‘new’ commission to regulate manufactured housing in that state is officially taking over. The press release that follows is verbatim from the Ohio Department of Commerce.

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New Manufactured Homes Regulatory Program Update

Today is the last business day before responsibility for the Manufactured Homes Program transitions to Commerce. That change is effective at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 21. While Commerce has no authority until the transition takes place, it’s important that we keep you up-to-date, so that the transition is seamless for you.

As we head into the weekend, here are a few reminders:

Sunday, Jan. 21

·     You will still operate as you do today! All the current rules that direct your work, as well as any existing contracts you have with the Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission, will stay in place for the immediate future. If changes become necessary, notice will be provided.

Monday, Jan. 22

·     You can reach us when we open at 8 a.m. Monday morning:

·     For all matters involving installers, inspectors, home installation, parks and dispute resolution, contact the Division of Industrial Compliance at 614-644-2223.

·     For all matters involving dealers/brokers and salespersons, contact the Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing at 614-466-4100.

·     Those general numbers are staffed Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. by representatives who will help connect you with the proper person to assist you. If you know what section you need to reach, below is direct contact information:

·     For matters regarding Installers: Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB), 614-644-3495 or Carol.Ross@com.state.oh.us

·     For matters regarding Parks (including park complaints): OCILB, 614-752-7127 or Shamikka.Brookins@com.state.oh.us

·     For matters involving Inspectors: Board of Building Standards, 614-644-2613 or Michael.Lane@com.state.oh.us

·     For matters involving Installation Inspections/SEAL reports: Bureau of Building Code Compliance, 614-728-9104 or Michelle.Grago@com.state.oh.us

·     For matters involving Dealers/Brokers: Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing, 614-644-9734 or Webreal@com.state.oh.us

·     For matters involving Salespersons Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing, 614-644-9734 or Webreal@com.state.oh.us

·     For Dispute Resolution: Division of Industrial Compliance Legal Section, 614-644-3297 or Aaron.Johnston@com.state.oh.us

If you use an old email or phone number, don’t worry! The Commission’s emails, main phone number and fax number will be redirected to Commerce sometime on Jan. 21.

The lines of communication that we established during the transition won’t go away once we assume responsibility on Jan. 21. Watch for regular email updates and news, and check out the Commerce Manufactured Homes Program website for more information. Our website, though active later today, does not stand in for that of the Commission until Jan. 21. You should continue to use Commission resources like its website until Commerce assumes responsibility.

If you know of anyone who would like to be added to our mailing list, they can sign up online.

Please continue to reach out to us with any questions or feedback, and share this information with your members. We look forward to working together!

The Daily Business News will continue to track such developments for industry readers, investors and researchers. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

Manufactured Home Commission Under Fire, After Fire

March 30th, 2017 Comments off
OhioManufacturedHomesAssociationCallsforHelpcreditOMHA-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: OMHA.

A recent manufactured home fire in Urbana, Ohio, has officials across the state calling for bold action.

Their target is the Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission.

According to the Dayton Daily News, fire officials across Ohio are backing a proposal by Governor John Kasich to abolish what they call an “industry-controlled agency that regulates manufactured homes,” saying the commission does too little to protect manufactured home residents from deadly fires.

The Ohio Fire Chief’s Association sent a letter to lawmakers last week supporting a provision in the state budget to kill the commission and roll its functions into the Ohio Department of Commerce. The Daily Business News covered the response from the commission in a story linked here.

30 people died in 1,208 manufactured home fires between 2012 and 2016,” said the letter from the Association.

Ohioans are 4.2 times more likely to die in a manufactured home that caught fire than one- or two-family home.”

The Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission is responsible for licensing inspectors across the state, who oversee the installation of about 3,000 homes a year. It also regulates the state’s 1,600 manufactured home communities. The commission has oversight from a nine-member board, which is appointed by the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly.

For its detractors in the state, the Commission also has its supporters.

I believe wholeheartedly, whether I sit on the commission or not, it’s one of the best things that’s happened to the manufactured home community in Ohio,” said Evan Atkinson, general manager of Clayton Homes in Frazeyburg and a commissioner on the board.

Since the commission was created, the number of complaints about mobile home installation has plummeted from hundreds to a number you can count on one hand. What’s proposed now is to fragment it and stick it back out into deep bureaucracy.”

Atkinson says that the commission currently requires inspection of every single home installed in Ohio, and points out that it’s a commitment the Department of Commerce has not made.

I believe there’s a probably a good likeliness that homes may not be installed as well as they are currently being installed,” said Atkinson.

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Credit: Stoveguard, MHLivingNews.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, we have pointed out the facts versus myths surrounding manufactured homes and fires, pointing out that homes built under post-1976 federal regulations have the same rates in this area as traditional homes.

Ohio Fire Marshal Larry Flowers insists that moving the inspection and licensing of manufactured homes into the Department of Commerce, where his agency is, will allow them to coordinate better on fire prevention.

What we believe is that there just needs to be more oversight and transparency in the process when these things are inspected initially,” said Flowers.

This will allow us to work more closely together with our partners in the department of commerce.

But Atkinson says that working more closely together isn’t an issue.

If that is a major concern, the folks within the commission would be more than willing to work with the state fire marshal as well,” said Atkinson.

The commission would welcome the opportunity to work with the state fire marshal and be able to get 100 percent of manufactured homes inspected and installed properly.” ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Seattle Times announces State Investigation of Warren Buffett’s Clayton Homes, as expected – Analysis

February 5th, 2016 Comments off

TheyreBackSeattleTimesLogo-creditSeattleTimesTheirBack-creditDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-com-As part of the Seattle Times‘ ongoing year-long rant on Warren Buffett’s/Berkshire Hathaway-owned Clayton Homes and their affiliated lenders, Mike Baker and Daniel Wagner have succeeded in drawing Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s attention and his state’s Department of Commerce. This is resulting in a bill to investigate the sales, financing and repossession of manufactured homes.

This latest reprise of their ongoing saga was anticipated by MHProNews, as shown by this link from Jan. 30, 2016.

In a series of previous articles, Baker and Wagner have accused Clayton Homes of discriminatory lending, predatory lending on the poor, and trapping the unsuspected in high-interest loans with an eye on repossessing the manufactured home (MH) once the borrower falls behind on payments.

Steve Lefler, vice president of Modular Lifestyles, Inc. – part of the Newport Pacific family of companies – observed, “Recent defective construction and DOJ investigation on loans I have to say, Clayton may revisit their staff and operations activities. Reputation and public perception are hard to re-claim after these types of accusations.”

Lefler is far from alone among industry professionals in his concerns about the the implications and types of consequences from these articles by Baker and Wagner. Long time industry veteran Marty Lavin voiced his observations and concerns in an OpEd, linked here. Numerous off-the-record comments about this topic have come into MHProNews.

Baker and Wagner

What has been described as their brand of “advocacy journalism” has resulted in calls by some Democratic leadership in Congress to investigate the MH industry, and Clayton Homes in particular, since they are the target of the Seattle Times/BuzzFeed News reports and the dominant producer and lender in the MH industry. Clayton Homes and their affiliated lenders are part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway, which in a heated election cycle, makes for a stronger draw in readership.

Washington state Commerce Director Brian Bonlender says the stories could offer some solutions to the state legislature during its long legislative session in 2017.

Meanwhile, the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, passed by the House and awaiting consideration in the Senate, is referred to by Baker and Wagner as “an industry-backed plan to roll back consumer protections.” The duo painted Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway “mobile home” (sic) units as being the main winners if the HR 650/S 682 becomes law.

In a story picked up by Nanotech News, The Boston Globe, The Miami Hearld  and dozens of other media outlets, MHLivingNews publisher L. A. “Tony” Kovach takes a critical look at how Baker and Wagner, utilizing a wide swath brush, paints Clayton and Buffett as vampires, sucking the life blood from consumers.

Take one famously folksy billionaire, add a pinch of cherry-picked stats, stir well with a cast of wronged Native American, black and Hispanic homebuyers and you have the latest tag-team assault on the Warren Buffett manufactured home empire.

What could be more clickable holiday fare than the new installment in a yearlong campaign by two reporters who have pretty much made a career of throwing dirt at one of the richest men on Earth?

How about a tale of bilking poor minorities out of billions of dollars amid an atmosphere so steeped in racism it makes kindly Uncle Warren look like an overseer at Tara in Gone with the Wind?

Who cares if it’s not true?” The entire Nanotech News item is linked here.

Kovach did an analysis on that issue for MHLivingNews.com, which the Seattle Times and BuzzFeed have yet to address. See that report, linked here.

The Seattle Times video relates the story of one couple who allegedly were taken advantage of by Clayton and their lender. That video is below.

As a thumbnail analysis of their video, as heart-wrenching as this kind of topic may be, carefully reviewing it actually undermines some points Baker and Wagner are trying to make. Many individuals, couples or households have life events that can lead to a default on a house, manufactured or site-built: divorce, job loss, ill health and death. The interest rate wasn’t the key factor, based upon the information in their own video.

Another point their dark, somber and one-sided video avoids entirely is that no manufactured home lender wants to pick up a multi-sectional home, save as a last resort.  The losses on a repossession like the one described can be so great, lenders would much rather work it out with the borrower if that is possible. Without question, there are lots unsaid in this Seattle Times video report.

Additionally, the couple’s home was in a remote location, as they stated, which could mean there may not have had comps around to support a land/home kind of loan at that time.

The Seattle Times video and related articles are, Kovach and others assert, created to provide an entirely unbalanced view of manufactured home living and lending, as quality affordable lifestyles.  The evidence for this in their own video, because there is no opposing or balancing viewpoint shared.

Yet the Government Accounting Office’s 2014 report on manufactured housing graphic below dramatically demonstrates that even with a higher financing rate than conventional lending – which is caused in part by no access to secondary markets, and no federal backing of the loans – the monthly payments for a manufactured home are lower than other forms of housing, because of the dramatically lower cost of the homes.

monthly-housing-cost-2011-manufactured-homes-vs-other-housing.

Graphic credit, GAO report on manufactured housing.  The entire GAO report, along with examples of why the reforms sought by the MH industry of CFPB regulations are indeed a consumer benefit, can be found at the link here.

The Other Side of MH Living Baker and Wagner Avoid

A very different image of manufactured home living emerges from videos that Inside MH has produced, which spotlight home owners, professionals, and experts discussing the appeal and value of manufactured home living. Two of many examples are below.  The first is from a couple living in a land-lease, the second is with a realtor who has sold hundreds of manufactured homes and who’s husband is a custom builder. 

Advocacy Journalism?

Behind-the-scenes of the Seattle Times/BuzzFeed, PBS NewsHour or related stories are efforts by non-profit groups to derail Preserving Access. An in-depth video interview with Marty Lavin, JD – an award winning MH lending expert – about facts relating to the legislation is linked here.

Informed sources tell the Daily Business News/MHProNews  that another installment of the Baker/Wagner duo is expected soon. ##

(Image credit: Seattle Times logo, which is their property, used here under fair use guidelines. Halloween “Their Back…” lettering, by MHProNews.)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Another NC County Funded to Demolish Abandoned Manufactured Homes

September 21st, 2015 Comments off

abandoned homes demolishing program in north carolina  times dash news  sam roberts  creditFollowing an article MHProNews posted May 27, 2015 concerning a grant the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) awarded Alamance County to demolish abandoned manufactured homes (MH), nearby Rockingham County has been awarded $26,500 to discard abandoned single-section MH.

As myfox8 reports, Rockingham County Code Enforcement Officer Kelly Howell states they are a danger to children and an eyesore to the community. A home owner can get up to $1,500 to remove an abandoned home, which should be enough, according to Howell.

While the county has picked out homes they want to see removed, they are taking applications from anyone who has an MH they want demolished. The homes must be privately owned and vacant to be eligible, and the owners must agree to have the home removed.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce determines how much each county receives towards the program. ##

(Photo credit: northcarolinanews-times/Sam Roberts-demolishing abandoned homes in North Carolina)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Housing Industry Edges Up

July 30th, 2012 Comments off

According to SFGate, Federal Reserve data indicates owners’ equity in household real estate fell from the end of 2005 through the last quarter of 2011 by seven trillion dollars, about half of its value. However, it increased by $400 billion in the first quarter 2012, the quickest rate of growth in 60 years. U.S. Department of Commerce data indicate construction has been adding to gross domestic product (GDP) growth since Q2 2011. But according to David Dwyer of Bloomberg Industries, new home starts are below half of what is needed to replace decrepit and obsolete homes, as well as to accommodate young families starting out on their own. MHProNews has learned if the economy continues to falter, the current slow rebound in the housing industry will stall as well.

(Image credit: Wikipedia Commons)

Housing Market Rebounding this Year?

June 25th, 2012 Comments off

While some analysts predict the housing market will not turn around until later next year, Seeking Alpha‘s Mike Kapsch lists several reasons it may return yet this year: More building permits were applied for in May than in the past 3 1/2 years, and the U.S. Department of Commerce upwardly revised April’s housing starts from 717,000 to 744,000; new home inventories are at record lows, which eases the pressure on home prices to continue falling, and led to average home prices actually rising slightly the last two months; the unemployment rate has dropped from 9.1% last August to 8.2% as employers have added one million new jobs this year; and mortgage rates are at their lowest point since long-term mortgages were first offered in the 1950’s, making it cheaper to buy than to rent in some areas. MHProNews has learned that in an election year, if the incumbent administration is seeking another term, job creation often happens, which is key to a stronger economy. Stay tuned.

(Image credit: Fotosearch Clip Art)