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Secretary Carson Letter Lights Fuse for Explosive Change, Obliquely Addresses Manufactured Housing Action Concerns

April 29th, 2019 Comments off

 

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Last year at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Manufactured Housing Action (MHAction) in conjunction with other left-leaning groups, protested Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson’s address to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) at their annual “Congress and Expo” fundraising and networking event.

 

At that time, MHAction issued a press release, photos, and video footage of their efforts to disrupt the talk by Secretary Carson.  The picture above is one of those items, and it’s use or quoting MHAction herein are not to be construed as an endorsement of their views or tactics.

Ben Carson insulted and dismissed us while telling the corporate investors in attendance that they should keep profiting off the housing crisis. Ben Carson’s job is to help solve the housing crisis for people, not profiteers. We came to Las Vegas today to remind Secretary Carson to do his job,” said Patricia Norberg, a manufactured homeowner from Delaware and a grassroots leader with MHAction. “Corporate and private equity investors associated with MHI say ‘jump’ and Carson says ‘how high?’ We’ve had enough.”

MHAction said that low-income senior Jeliner Jordan asked Carson, “If you increase rents and cut the HUD budget, where will I live?” Carson responded by saying “This is a perfect example of what happens when the swamp gets ahold of people.”

 

DarkMoneyBasicsWikipediaOpenSecretsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

What perhaps was missing from a clear understanding of the above drama was the fact brought forth by twin reports on Manufactured Home Living News, the first of which documented that MHAction has had dark money funding from Warren Buffett through the NoVo Foundation and the Tides nonprofit.

 

 

The second and more recent report then applied that insight learned to the MHAction supported and inspired video by Last Week Tonight with John Oliver errantly dubbed “Mobile Homes.”   In an apparent head-fake to many resident groups and industry professionals alike, MHAction – in concert with others – published a white paper that was cited by Oliver in his report.

 

MHActionPrivateEquityGiantsConvergeManufacturedHomesLastWeekTonightJohnOliverMobileHomesVideoStillMHProNews

You build a case, by laying out the evidence, one fact at a time. To see the John Oliver errantly named “Mobile Homes” video and related fact-check, click here.

 

That MHAction co-branded white paper in turn was publicized by the Washington Post, others in media, and finally Oliver’s video.   But when one grasps how dark money operates in such matters, and steps back to look with that in mind, it is Buffett money that arguably helped fund an attack on a number of significant MHI members, including his own Clayton Homes and related lenders.

The rationale for Buffett doing so, in brief, is that like taxes or regulations, bigger companies can handle negative media better than smaller firms can.  Negative news for he and his allies is less harmful than it is for independents.  That in turn allows larger firms to gobble up smaller ones at reduced prices.  Here’s how retailer Alan Amy summed it up.

 

 

A View from NMHOA… 

TimSheahanPresidentPhotoNationalManufacturedHomeOwnersAssoclogoNMHOAlogoMHProNews

Separate the “wheat and chaff,” with all people, organizations, and ideas. One must separate the useful from what is not.

As a letter from the prior National Manufactured Home Owners Association (NMHOA) president Tim Sheahan quoted below in part reflects, when manufactured home communities were being developed, site fess or ‘lot rents’ were being held in check. Here is how he put it while he was still president of NMHOA, in his comments letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) last year.

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 Sheahan.

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,” stated Sheahan.  That last sentence is a telling and arguably correct point with the law of supply and demand in mind.

He then said, “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.” That point is largely correct, but it fails to note that it was the lack of new community development that de facto eliminated the option for someone to leave a community where they felt like they were being mistreated in favor of a newer one.”

 

Real World Lessons Learned

LATonyKovachMHanufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingProNewsConsultantIndustryExpertIn the Oklahoma City and Houston, Texas metro areas, I personally witnessed periods in manufactured housing history where land-lease community owners that were developing new sites, offered to move residents from other area communities in to their property at the property owners’ cost,” said publisher and industry consultant L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Rephrased, as long as there are reasonable alternatives to residents, then the temptation to ‘jack up’ site fees of ‘trapped’ residents is significantly reduced or even eliminated.

Imagine if apartment complexes were no longer being built in the U.S. What would happen? In a free market, as population grows and demand rises, rents would too.  The steady construction of new apartment buildings helps keep existing apartment owners from going too high on rental rates,” explained Kovach.

So, NMHOA’s Tim Sheahan isn’t wrong about the early history, but the solution now isn’t rent control, which Paul Bradley of ROC USA has himself said isn’t an answer,” Kovach said. “Rather, a longer-term solution is to provide more options for community residents, so that the temptation to do what certain MHI member companies have been accused of in recent years is eliminated.”

 

With that Backdrop, The Fuse for Meaningful Solutions is Lit with New Letter

At their annual meeting at the 2019 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show, members of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) voted to undertake a new initiative to address zoning and placement issues that in their view is not being successfully addressed by the MHI. That perspective is held by others in MHVille too, including a number of MHI members.  At the recent Bryan, TX effective ‘ban’ voted by their city council of even new manufactured housing in various cases, MHI – per MHI members in attendance – did not even send a staffer to protest the ban.

Although MHARR is an independent production association, which compared to MHI claims to be both a producers and post-production association, they’ve taken another step into post-production territory, with their recent vote.

As careful and regular MHProNews readers know, MHARR recently asked HUD to initiate a study of the problems related to placement and zoning issues, tied into the legal concept of enhanced preemption.

In a light-the-fuse letter obtained by MHProNews to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, the next step in that process is being taken.

MarkWeissJDPresidentCEOManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHARR’s President and CEO, Mark Weiss said to Secretary Carson and several key Washington, D.C. figures as follows, under the subject: Discriminatory and Exclusionary Zoning of HUD-Regulated Manufactured Homes.

One of the principal challenges faced by the manufactured housing industry and particularly its smaller businesses in providing inherently affordable, non-subsidized housing and homeownership for lower and moderate-income Americans, is the discriminatory exclusion of HUD Code manufactured housing from large areas of the United States under the guise of local zoning regulation.”

Such exclusionary and, in fact, discriminatory zoning mandates, affect not only single-home manufactured housing placements, but also the development and/or expansion of manufactured housing communities which provide much-needed land-lease (i.e., rental) space for manufactured homes.”

Weiss’ letter than reminds Secretary Carson that he himself made a similar point last year.

In a 2018 speech to the Policy Advisory Board of the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies, you specifically identified and recognized the harmful impact of exclusionary zoning on the availability of affordable housing and homeownership for all Americans, stating that HUD would act “to identify and incentivize the tearing-down of local regulations that serve as impediments to the developing [of] affordable housing stock. Out-of-date building codes, time consuming approval processes, restrictive or exclusionary zoning ordinances, unnecessary fees or taxes, and excessive land development standards can all contribute to higher housing costs and production delays.” (Emphasis added).”

Weiss followed that up by agreeing in this highly specific fashion, “…indeed, in the case of HUD-regulated manufactured housing, the law provides HUD with powerful tools and authority to override local zoning actions that discriminatorily exclude or severely limit the placement and utilization of HUD Code homes. Specifically, in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, Congress gave HUD the express authority to federally preempt state and local “requirements” of any kind that impair “federal superintendence of the manufactured housing industry” and the accomplishment of the Act’s congressionally-mandated federal purposes, including “facilitat[ing] the availability of affordable manufactured homes.” Indeed, in a November 13, 2003 letter to then-HUD Secretary Mel Martinez (copy attached), key congressional proponents of the 2000 reform law stated that enhancements to the scope of federal preemption set forth in that law “have given HUD the legal authority to preempt local requirements or restrictions which discriminate against the siting of manufactured homes (compared to other single family housing) simply because they are HUD-code homes.”

Rephrased, Weiss stressed the merits of using “Enhanced Preemption” – a point that MHARR, MHLivingNews, and MHProNews have stressed for years as an existing legal remedy to prompt local zoning “NIMBYites” to relent under federal supremacy.

While there are examples of HUD flexing its supremacy since the 2000 law, those cases are scant.  One such letter from HUD to a local jurisdiction is linked here.

Thus, Weiss pressed on by saying, “Despite this enhanced preemption authority, however, HUD has failed to take action to stop the baseless – and expanding – exclusion of safe, decent and affordable HUD-regulated manufactured homes from numerous jurisdictions around the United States.”

“…MHARR met with officials of HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) on April 4, 2019 and requested that HUD, as a first step, utilize its resources to research, study and analyze such discriminatory and exclusionary zoning and its local and national impact(s) on the availability of affordable housing and homeownership in light of relevant national housing policies. Such research and analysis could then serve as a roadmap for further HUD action going forward.  Accordingly, we ask that you authorize and advance such a study within the Department,” wrote Weiss.

MHARR’s CEO added, “Quite simply, in order for manufactured housing to reach its full potential as an inherently affordable, non-subsidized housing resource for millions of lower and moderate-income Americans, it cannot, should not, and must not be unfairly and illegitimately excluded from significant areas of the country. In order to stop and reverse this phenomenon, leadership from HUD and by you, personally, as HUD Secretary, is essential and, indeed, indispensable.”

Among those cc’d were:

Hon. Mike Crapo
Hon. Maxine Waters
Hon. Mick Mulvaney

The letter and attachment are linked here.

As important as that letter is in tipping a domino toward more action, were the attachments.  One was a powerful letter dated in 2003, signed by Maxine Waters and others in Congress calling on HUD then to exercise their rights under “enhanced preemption” given to HUD by Congress under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA).

That letter from congress is a legally significant document, because it reflected in that time-frame the legislative intent that Congress had.

All of this begs an important question.  Why hasn’t MHI done this years ago?

It is MHI that claims to represent “all segments of factory-built housing,” while MHARR has historically stated plainly that they represent the interests of independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes.

While there are several ways that HUD can respond, there is now a formal series of steps being taken by MHARR to prompt action.  Given that the Trump Administration has said that they are in the “enforce the law” and “promise keeping” business, it will be interesting to see how Secretary Carson and senior HUD leadership responds to these efforts. To learn more, see the link below, “Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way.”

 

A New Paradigm Ahead?

Consider the opening quotes from MHAction, NMHOA, and Secretary Carson at the top. Then ponder how independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes, and residents of manufactured homes, could both begin pushing for implementation of existing federal law.  The common opponent, it would seem, are the big corporate interests that MHAction claims to rail against, but is in fact supported by.  But that point doesn’t seem to be a logical hinderance for the good that could flow to existing residents, independent businesses, new investors, and new housing seekers. MHARR’s effort is timely, and in hindsight, it can be seen as a significant one.

Time will tell, but the stage is being set.  The proverbial fuse has been lit…

That’s this morning’s edition of “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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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.

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Bryan Manufactured Homes Ban Passed, But Petition Count, Other Legal Moves May Stop Texas City

“Lead, Follow … Or Get Out of The Way”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HUD Study on Manufactured Housing Discriminatory Zoning, Placement by Local Cities, Counties Requested

April 8th, 2019 Comments off

 

HUDStudyManufacturedHousingDiscriminatoryZoningPlacementCitiesCountiesRequestedMHARRvsMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

It will be recalled for the sake of new readers that the Daily Business News on MHProNews has been documenting cases of manufactured homes being limited, excluded, and/or discriminated against in zoning and placement practices by local jurisdictions for several years.

 

That is so, despite the wide body of evidence that has been amassed that debunks concerns that NIMBYites, special interests, and others use to exert such discriminatory efforts against federally regulated HUD Code manufactured homes.

It will also be noted that recently, after years of purported failures on the part of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) to robustly and successfully address this growing threat, that the production-focused Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) voted in Tunica on March 27, 2018 to take up this cause themselves. See that, at this link here.

In an exclusive report, MHARR has notified MHProNews that they are directly addressing this matter with HUD and others.  Among their first steps?  They’ve met with officials in Washington, D.C. to obtain HUD sponsored research into this growing and troubling pattern of exclusionary zoning and placement challenges that foil the meaning of the legal phrase “enhanced preemption.”

You can read the full report at the MHARR website, linked above, via that text-image box.

 

 

The contest for growth vs. more manufactured housing industry stagnation is already on.

 

New Manufactured Home Production, Shipment Data-February 2019

 

It will be recalled that it was MHARR, not MHI, that caused the removal of Pam Danner from her perch at HUD.  Who said? The Washington Post, in their report, learn more at the report linked from the text image box below.  MHI and others might duck, posture, and hide, but they can’t do so forever, so long as industry professionals hold them accountable for their purportedly routine failure to perform their duty in their own problematic claim to represent “all segments of factory-built housing.”

 

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

 

It’s Monday, Monday. The industry’s opportunities are legion.  The nation needs what we do, as the first linked report below the byline and notices reflects. That’s this morning’s Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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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.

 

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Democrats, Republicans Agree – “Manufactured Homes Can Play a Vital Role in Easing” the Affordable Housing Shortage

Celebrities, Millionaires, Billionaires and Their Appealing Manufactured Homes

Debunking the Trailer Trash Stigma for Affordable, Modern Manufactured Housing for Residents, Home Shoppers

Cui Bono? “Killing Me Softly,” Manufactured Housing’s New Theme Song?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Fight Like Hell” for Independence, Says Trustee – Manufactured Housing Inspiration?

April 3rd, 2019 Comments off

 

FightLikeHellForIndependenceSaysTrusteeManufacturedHousingInspirationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

The story from the Boston Globe has nothing on the surface to do with housing, much less factory-built housing. But it had much to do with independence, and the willingness to fight in an arguably increasingly monopolistic, manipulated or ‘rigged system’ society.  Who says? The New York Times, see the column, linked here.

 

A snapshot from outside of our manufactured home industry is worthy of a few moments consideration to gird you or others as to the nature of the struggle – and the inspiration needed – to the good fight for independence.  Because manipulation and ‘rigged systems’ are not only found in our industry, they are increasingly evident elsewhere too.

Here’s what the left-of-center Boston Globe sent to the Daily Business News on MHProNews yesterday, and we’ll then look at what this tale should inspire in our industry’s professionals, investors, and others keen on affordable housing for millions of Americans.

 

BostonGlobeTwoTrusteesQuitDiscordHampshireCollegeFutureDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Two Hampshire College trustees have resigned in recent weeks, a result of the increasing acrimony enveloping the board as it charts an uncertain future for the liberal arts school.

Gaye Hill, the board chairwoman, resigned this week, saying she had become a lightning rod. Another trustee, Mingda Zhao, also stepped down, saying he was forced out.

Zhao’s resignation letter offers a hint about what’s next for the private Amherst college. It says board leaders seem to be pushing for the school to close and be acquired by another institution. But he said it is also possible to “fight like hell” to keep the school open and independent,” said the Boston Globe, in an article linked here.

MingdaZhaoHampshireCollegeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

What Zhao is describing, per the Boston Globe, is what could be called a backstab of the college by various people with ‘special interests,’ including other members of its own board of directors. Stop and think. How is that different than the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) being accused of betraying the interests of the independents in the manufactured housing industry?

 

Yesterday two different reports came into MHProNews from two different sources that represent different parts of the manufactured housing industry.  One came in from NAHMCO, the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners. Another came in and had already been published from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).  ICYMI, see the linked text-image box below for that report.

 

Historic Manufactured Housing Industry Decisions Were Made Here on 3.27.2019

 

While entirely different, each one reflects a vote of no-confidence by their respective associations and members in the so-called leadership of Arlington, VA based MHI.

Washington, D.C. based MHARR cites post-production issues that the see MHI as having not only failed at, but arguably having manipulated against the interests of the majority of firms in the manufactured home industry.  Among the points they made was diversion of Duty to Serve (DTS) financing by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) away from the majority of manufactured homes into an untested program promoted by industry giant Clayton Homes. Clayton, a Berkshire Hathaway brand along with others in the manufactured home industry, is widely seen as dominating MHI, along with other ‘big boy’ companies, as MHI award winner Marty Lavin, JD, has put it.

NAMHCO also cited DTS yesterday and the need to obtain more market rate financing. The NAMHCO statement bears some clarifying, which MHProNews plans to do in the days ahead before publishing their full document.  But it is noteworthy that NAMHCO – still in its infancy – and MHARR, decades established, de facto or explicitly take a viewpoint contrary to the happy talk fed by MHI to their members and state association affiliates.

 

Why Is There a Need to Fight to Implement Existing Laws?

That existing laws have to be fought to get them properly implemented is itself an outrage. Manufactured housing enjoys some of the finest federal laws that consumers or the industry’s honorable professionals could want.

The reality is that those laws are not being implemented. Cities and local jurisdictions are increasingly limiting or banning manufactured housing. And when one pulls back the veil on why those laws are not being implemented, time and again, there is evidence that a Berkshire brand or other MHI connected firm is benefiting at the expense of independents.

Barbara Hames of Hames Homes in Iowa may or may not have thought much about the fact that Havenpark Capital is an MHI member. She may or may not have thought much about how the apparent collusion between 21st and Clayton Homes, with no warnings from MHI, arguably harmed the interests of the communities she has now sold. Would Hames have sold at all, in the absence of the market manipulation by 21st, Clayton Homes, and Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway documented at the link here?

 

Where Was The Buffett Mantra in Tunica Last Week?

What independent industry professionals and others must consider is this question. When Warren Buffett preaches the importance of protecting a firm’s reputation, why did Clayton, 21st and MHI all decline to attend the meeting of independents? Those independents wanted to hear first-hand what the counter argument might be to the documents and video linked above and here. Those independents wanted to hear that directly from the horses mouth.

Why did Clayton, 21st, MHI, Fannie Mae, et al stay silent?

Those manufactured home industry independents – including representatives from MHARR and NAMHCO.  They and those in attendance reflected the interests of some 200 industry locations.  They were there to begin the process that NAMHCO started some 2 years ago, or that MHARR began decades ago.

Like Zhao urged those that want to save their college from a takeover, the independents of manufactured housing must “fight like hell” if they want to stay independent.  How else will they survive the purported market manipulations and failures to act that the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies stand credibly accused of, and failed to respond to once more in Tunica last week. Their trade media surrogates likewise opted not to attend, is it any surprise?

Susan Brenton told the independents there at Tunica that she saw value to their doing what NAMHCO has already started. It is worth noting that NAMHCO, as a post-production association, has a D.C. lobbyist, but not Washington metro office at this time.  That’s a reminder that a post-production trade group has no specific need for a costly D.C. metro office.

While there are obvious expenses to forging a new non-producers trade body, it is modest compared to the potential upside. The ‘Axis’ in manufactured housing obviously hopes it is never formed, as former MHI chair Nathan Smith quickly slammed NAMHCO in a written statement a few months ago, as the article linked further below the byline and notices reminds readers.

Affordable housing isn’t a partisan issue. It matters not if the person fighting for affordable manufactured homes is a Democrat, Republican, or an Independent. That is underscored in another article linked below.

Democrats, Republicans Agree – “Manufactured Homes Can Play a Vital Role in Easing” the Affordable Housing Shortage

The fear tactics, restraint of trade, manipulation of access to financing and other methods arguably being employed by specific Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington connected brands have arguably cost the industry’s professionals tens of billions of dollars since Warren Buffett made the move in 2003 to buy Clayton and it’s affiliated lenders, and control other organizations.

Fortunately, Berkshire has the deep pockets to pay those billions. Instead of proposing problematic or unconstitutional wealth taxes, and other floated notions by 2020 candidates, why don’t they focus their energy and talents on something that is doable, legal and useful?

 

Who Will Act? Will Senator Elizabeth Warren, and/or the Trump Administration Act to Restore Open Markets, Thereby Supporting Affordable Manufactured Homes?

 

Why not break up Berkshire, do whatever the law allows with MHI, and fine them billions as the EU has Google for violations of antitrust and other laws?  Why not make an example of them, so that others won’t be tempted to so manipulate this industry or any other ever again?

As independents begin the process of organizing, the time is now.  Like Zhao suggested in his scenario, one must fight like hell, for a heavenly cause.

That’s this morning’s first look at “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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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.

 

 

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DTS Manufactured Home Lending Committee Member Says MHI in “Unholy Alliance” to Divert Needed GSE Support Away from Manufactured Housing

White Collar Shakedown, Fear, Hobbs Act, and Manufactured Housing Independents Struggles

 

State Level Shipment Data Continues to Flash Warning Signals for New HUD Code Manufactured Housing Sales

“Mobile Home Militia,” Retail/Production Sources, Sound Alarm Against Clayton Homes, CMH, New “Anti-Competitive Practices” Allegation

Examining Derek Thompson’s Atlantic Report on ‘Mobile Home’ Retail Market as Fastest Dying Business In America

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MHI’s Growth Agenda? Rick Robinson, JD, SVP Manufactured Housing Institute, Preemption Evidence, Writ of Mandamus, and Addressing HUD Code Manufactured Home Shipment Woes

 

Sun Tzu – Ultimate Manufactured Home Freedom Alliance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historic Manufactured Housing Industry Decisions Were Made Here on 3.27.2019

April 2nd, 2019 Comments off

 

HistoricManufacturedHousingIndustryDecisionsWereMadeHereon3.27.2019DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

In a statement today to recapping what they are calling Bold New Initiatives,” the Washington, D.C. based Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) is taking aim at issues to get to some underlying challenges facing manufactured housing going that arise from post-production scenarios.

 

MHARR and its members have kept these items under close wraps, as the Daily Business News on MHProNews learned about these core details through this release.

Here was the full MHARR statement today.

 

MHARRNEWSheaderDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

MHARR BOARD HOLDS HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE

MEETING — ADOPTS BOLD NEW INITIATIVES

 

Washington, D.C., April 2, 2019 – Despite producing its best homes ever, at a price point that is inherently affordable for virtually every American family, in a market environment featuring an ever-growing need for affordable homeownership and housing resources, the production and market-share of the federally-regulated manufactured housing industry continues to lag well behind not only the single-family housing market as a whole, but also the twenty and thirty-year historical production norms for the HUD Code industry itself.  Confronting, as it does, a myriad of factors and challenges in the post-production arena that have combined to stunt the growth and expansion of the industry to levels far below what would otherwise be expected given an expanding population, job growth, and a prospering economy, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), at its March 27, 2019 Board of Directors meeting, adopted a bold plan of action to begin addressing key issues that the broader industry has failed to resolve, which have paralyzed the HUD Code market after the industry’s outstanding homes leave the factory. In addition, to lead this aggressive agenda, MHARR members elected an experienced slate of Association officers, to be led by John Bostick, President and CEO of Sunshine Homes, Inc., who will return as MHARR Chairman.

MHARR members, at their bi-annual Board of Directors meeting, identified, in particular, three post-production-related matters that, both short and long-term, have vexed the industry and American consumers of affordable housing, and the ability of the industry as a whole to fully serve the housing needs of vast numbers of Americans, contrary to both the letter of federal law and the will and intent of Congress, as set out quite plainly in both the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 with regard to production and consumer protection, and the “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets” (DTS) provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) with regard to affordable and competitive consumer financing. These matters, which will now become the major focus of MHARR activity to take the lead within the industry to fully and completely implement both such existing laws, include:

(1) exclusionary/discriminatory zoning mandates;

(2) other placement restrictions or exclusions (principally affecting the development of manufactured housing communities); and

(3) the availability of consumer financing.

Discriminatory zoning – zoning restrictions or exclusions targeted at manufactured housing and manufactured housing consumers over large areas of the United States, and the failure of the broader industry to effectively fight and address those mandates – is a crucial aspect of the industry’s inability to expand and better serve the housing and homeownership needs of large numbers of Americans. To begin addressing this issue with the urgency that it deserves and warrants, MHARR will work cooperatively with state-level industry associations to target a sample set of localities with major and/or obvious discriminatory prohibitions against HUD Code manufactured homes, and, following appropriate fact-finding, will mount an aggressive campaign against those prohibitions, including litigation, if necessary, to the highest level that may be needed.

Similarly, in the related area of placement and placement restrictions/prohibitions that limit or preclude the development of new manufactured home communities and/or the expansion of existing communities – both of which are essential to ensuring the availability of inherently affordable manufactured homes for every American who wants one, and the economic expansion of the industry – MHARR will likewise work cooperatively with state-level industry associations to seek out egregious examples of discrimination against the industry and its consumers, and will take aggressive action to address those mandates as well.

Rounding-out MHARR’s three major post-production focus areas, is the matter of consumer financing and the full, market-significant implementation of the “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets” mandate by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Despite targeted marketing to industry members, the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) – more than a decade after the enactment of DTS – have done little or nothing to even begin serving the largest segment of HUD Code industry consumer financing, represented by home-only personal property (or “chattel”) loans, which comprise nearly 80% of the entire manufactured housing market.  Despite years of promises (including decades of promises before the adoption of DTS), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have not only failed to deliver – but have been allowed to fail to deliver — anything in the way of market-significant support for the vast bulk of the manufactured housing market and instead – supported by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) — have diverted much of their focus to a “new class” of manufactured homes at a price point that is significantly higher than mainstream manufactured housing. This diversion of DTS benefits to the industry’s largest entities and higher-cost market-dominant lenders, rather than attracting new lenders and promoting the type of market competition that would result in lower interest rates and greater affordability for consumers.

To address these matters, MHARR will take aggressive action, both in Congress and within the Administration (including the Office of Management and Budget, the Treasury Department and HUD) to press for full GSE/FHFA compliance with DTS – and expanded manufactured home consumer lending support from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Ginnie Mae – to expand the availability of consumer financing for the mainstream HUD Code market and promote greater competition and affordability for consumers.

In addition to these matters centered within the post-production arena, MHARR members also directed the Association to: (1) continue to aggressively oppose (including via litigation, if necessary and appropriate) discriminatory manufactured housing energy regulation by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as is still being sought and promoted by energy special interests; (2) press for the conclusion and effective implementation of HUD’s regulatory reform activities pursuant to Trump Administration Executive Orders 13771 and 13777; and (3) take action to ensure full and fair competition (as required by federal law) for the next HUD monitoring contract.  In this regard, MHARR has already had a dialogue with senior-level HUD contracting personnel to stress the need for fair and open competition and a new contractor after more than 40-years of de facto sole-source contract procurements and awards.

Lastly, MHARR members had an opportunity to speak with representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who gave a comprehensive presentation to MHARR manufacturers and answered questions regarding the next FEMA procurement of manufactured homes for use in emergencies.  The productive dialogue was extremely useful for the independent manufacturers which comprise MHARR and reflects a laudable commitment by FEMA to include smaller, independent HUD Code producers in the procurement process to provide essential housing assistance to victims of natural disasters going forward.

 

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.

— 30 —

 

The same release on MHARR’s website is found at the link below.

 

MHARR Board Holds Highly Productive Meeting — Adopts Bold New Initiatives

 

That’s tonight’s installment of manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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MHARR Urges Congress to Preserve DTS In GSE Reform Legislation DBN

HUD Secretary Carson HUDdle Conference Features Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform Engagement on Zoning, Placement, and Financing

MHARR Analysis Exposes HUD PD&R Energy Costs “Whitewash”

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Persists – Time For Action Not Excuses

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HUD Secretary Carson “HUDdle Conference” Draws Manufactured Housing Issues Engagement

March 21st, 2019 Comments off

HUDSecretaryBenCarsonHUDdleCOnferenceDrawsManufacturedHousingIssuesEngagementDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The Daily Business News on MHProNews learned that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, M.D., kicked off their latest ‘HUDle’ meeting at their Washington, D.C. office building.

 

In a statement to MHProNews, here is what the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) said today.

MarkWeissJDPresidentCEOManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe Department of Housing and Urban Development, on March 20, 2019, held the latest in a series of “HUDdle” conferences with invited HUD-program stakeholders.  The conferences, which are an initiative of — and hosted by — HUD Secretary Ben Carson, focus on emerging issues at the Department, including, but not limited to, aspects of its ongoing regulatory reform process,” MHARR said.

Among the manufactured home industry professionals present was Mark Weiss, JD.  Weiss is the president and CEO of MHARR.

MHARR’s president emphasized the urgent need for HUD to address and resolve two key issues that continue to suppress the availability of inherently affordable manufactured housing for millions of American consumers, and the economic growth of the industry,” per their statement, which added, “Those two issues are, first, discriminatory zoning laws that exclude or severely restrict the placement of manufactured homes in large areas of the country.  The second is the critical need for reform at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration (under the “Duty to Serve” and beyond), to substantially increase the availability of manufactured home consumer financing (and especially personal property or ‘chattel’ financing) to market-significant levels.”

 

MHARR stated that they will be following-up soon with relevant HUD officials to further pursue these key policy objectives.

 

The issues come in the wake of fact-checks and related exposes by MHProNews, which included specific examples of the post-production Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) was routinely failing to address specific cases spot-checked by MHProNews. Here accessible via the linked text-image box is but one example. Others follow below the byline, disclaimers, and notices.

 

MHI’s Growth Agenda? Rick Robinson, JD, SVP Manufactured Housing Institute, Preemption Evidence, Writ of Mandamus, and Addressing HUD Code Manufactured Home Shipment Woes

 

Placement and financing are post-production, not production related issue, so they fall into MHI’s self-proclaimed bucket of representing “all segments of factory-built housing.”  Topics like this and others will be among the issues addressed at the rapidly approaching “Fix the MH Industry Trick$” meeting a week from today Thursday afternoon at the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show.

That’s this afternoon’s manufactured housing industry “News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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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.

 

 

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Manufactured Homes – HUD Called to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Remove Zoning, Placement and Consumer Financing Barriers to Manufactured Housing

October 11th, 2018 Comments off

 ManufacturedHomeHUDCalledtoAffirmativelyFurtherFairHousingRemoveZoningPlacementFinanciangBarriersManufacturedHousingMHProNews

The date for public comments requested by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding amending regulations for Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) is rapidly approaching.

 

 

Court Ruling for HUD on Amending Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Opens Door for More HomeSites for Manufactured Housing

 

HUD provided the notice and due date, provided to industry readers by the Daily Business News on MHProNews, at the report linked below.

 

HUD Publishes Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Affirmative Furthering Fair Housing Rule

 

Against that backdrop, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) published on their website, and released to MHProNews.  Their statement, along with a copy of their official comments letter, is shown below.

MHProNews plans to file comments next week, and suggests that industry readers consider incorporating points from MHARR into their comments letter.

Regulations.gov says that letters are more effective when they are phrased in your own words, rather than “Astroturfed” wholesale copies of someone else’s work.

AstroturfingWikipediaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNEws

Comments can be submitted electronically at this link below.

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/08/16/2018-17671/affirmatively-furthering-fair-housing-streamlining-and-enhancements#open-comment

What follows is the MHARR release.

  MHARRNEWSheaderDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

 

MHARR CALLS ON HUD TO REMOVE ZONING, PLACEMENT

AND CONSUMER FINANCING BARRIERS TO MANUFACTURED HOMES

 

Washington, D.C., October 11, 2018 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), in written comments filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on October 11, 2018 (see, copy attached) has called on HUD to promote zoning and placement parity for federally-regulated manufactured homes as part of the Department’s plan to amend its regulations for Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH).

Noting that Secretary Carson and HUD itself have recently cited restrictive local zoning measures – including zoning mandates that discriminatorily exclude or restrict the placement of HUD-regulated manufactured homes – as a significant root cause underlying the lack of affordable housing in many areas of the United States, MHARR’s comments seek amendments to the AFFH regulations that would: (1) identify the discriminatory exclusion of HUD Code manufactured homes and/or manufactured home communities (or the discriminatory limitation of manufactured home placements in compatible residential areas) as an obstacle to fair housing that program participants must address as part of their AFFH compliance efforts; and (2) “encourage actions that increase housing choice,” by promoting changes to local zoning and land-use ordinances that would permit the siting of HUD Code manufactured homes in all compatible residential areas, as well as the development of new and/or expanded HUD Code manufactured housing communities in such compatible residential areas.

To ensure compliance with these amendments, MHARR urges HUD to expressly and specifically condition the receipt of grant (or other) funds on the elimination of discriminatory restrictions on the placement of HUD Code manufactured homes or — absent voluntary compliance by local jurisdictions — to federally preempt such discriminatory measures pursuant to the enhanced statutory preemption authority provided by Congress in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.

Strong and effective action by HUD is absolutely essential to ensure that all Americans have access to the inherently affordable, non-subsidized homeownership offered by today’s federally-regulated manufactured homes.  Although these homes are the best that the industry has ever produced, and represent an outstanding value that is intrinsically affordable for all Americans, including lower and moderate-income families, access to manufactured housing is being needlessly – and unlawfully – restricted by discriminatory zoning and placement restrictions that the industry’s post-production sector has been unable to effectively counter. Given Congress’ specific grant of authority to HUD to override such discriminatory zoning measures, HUD’s amendments to AFFH should ensure full access to manufactured housing by every American everywhere in the United States.

In addition to removing such discriminatory local barriers to affordable, non-subsidized manufactured housing, MHARR has also called on HUD – in meetings with Secretary Carson and Assistant Secretary Brian Montgomery – to take concrete steps to place manufactured home consumer financing, and most especially federal support for the 80% of the manufactured housing consumer financing market represented by personal property or “chattel” loans on par with other types of consumer home lending.  MHARR has thus urged HUD to support and encourage market-significant securitization and secondary market support by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for manufactured homes under the “Duty to Serve” provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) and has also urged HUD leadership to revive and expand manufactured home chattel loan support under the existing Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Title I manufactured housing program.

In Washington, D.C., MHARR President and CEO, Mark Weiss, stated: “Once again, the leadership of President Trump and Secretary Carson is offering significant new opportunities for both consumers and producers of HUD Code manufactured housing.  As the federal government agency responsible for housing-related matters for the nation, HUD should use all of the tools that are available to it – through grant funding mechanisms and through mandatory federal preemption, if necessary – to ensure zoning, placement and consumer financing parity for inherently affordable manufactured homes and the mostly lower and moderate-income American families who rely on those homes to achieve the American Dream of homeownership. Baseless NIMBY-ism is no excuse for denying the benefits of homeownership to every American in every community.”

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.

— 30 –

You can also see the above on the MHARR website, at the link below.

MHARR Calls on HUD To Remove Zoning, Placement and Consumer Financing Barriers to Manufactured Homes

Comments are due 10/15/2018 at 11:59 PM EDT.

FR6123–A–01RIN 2529AA97Affirmatively Furthering Fair HousingStreamlining and Enhancements.  

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/08/16/2018-17671/affirmatively-furthering-fair-housing-streamlining-and-enhancements#open-comment.

The MHARR letter to HUD is linked here as a download. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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MBI Exec Tom Hardiman on Modular Placement Hassle

September 28th, 2017 Comments off

ModularBuildingInstituteLogoTomHardimanCAEPlacementIssueDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsGreen Living Homes modular builder, Frank Dertzbaugh, brought his concerns about a modular home placement problem to the attention of the Modular Building Institute’s (MBI) Tom Hardiman.

Dertzbaugh, a Daily Business News on MHProNews reader, cited the article linked below, as he explained to Hardiman – the executive director of MBI – about how the purchasers’ of a modular home was meeting local zoning resistance.

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/high-school-training-students-for-construction-of-modular-homes/

Frederick County, Maryland Career and Technology Center built this two-section modular last winter in their shop and displayed it at the annual Frederick County Building Industry Association Home Show in March,” said Dertzbaugh.

Dertzbaugh stated that the home buyers. “are having some Zoning issues with County Officials.”

FrankDerzbaughGreenLivingModularHomesLinkedInDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsHardiman provided some questions and tips to the Maryland-based modular home builder.

GreenLivingModularHomesFrankDertzbaughMDModularBuilderDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

In response to follow up questions from MHProNews, the MBI executive explained that he hears a few times a year about a modular home placement issue.

In an on-the-record exchange, Hardiman stated, “Tony, I’m not sure how often it happens, but it [local placement] gets brought to our attention probably 3-4 times a year for zoning related issues.”

MBI’s Hardiman said it was, “Mostly due to poorly written local ordinances that date back decades and put limitations on “manufactured and modular homes” or put size and aesthetic requirements just on a modular home, leaving the door wide open for someone to build a hideous looking site built home.”

TomHardimanCAEModularBuildingInstituteMBILogoMarketsServedCommercialResdientialBuildingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

We also deal with some local officials not wanting to accept a modular unit that has already been inspected and bears a state insignia probably 2-3 times a year as well,” Hardiman said. “In those cases, we usually get the state modular administrator to reach out to the local code official and explain the program.”

As to what MBI’s position on such issues, he said, “From the association standpoint if a “discriminatory” process happens at the state level, we want to be involved in resolving it.  We can’t always address every local issue, but certainly will try.” ## (News.)

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Murrieta proposes new restrictions for Manufactured Homes

September 6th, 2011 Comments off

California_state_flagMurerietaPatch reports the Murrieta City Council is set to vote Tuesday on amending its regulations for manufactured and pre-HUD Code mobile homes.  “The City now desires to limit the age of a manufactured or mobile home…to promote and ensure the aesthetic quality of neighborhoods, to minimize the devaluation of communities due to upkeep and repair, and to maintain safe building standards for occupancy of manufactured homes,” states the amended development code. If ratified, permits will not be granted for manufactured homes if greater than 10 years has passed between the date of manufacture and the date of permit application for installation.  No members of the public spoke during a hearing held July 27 when city staff took the matter to the Planning Commission, which voted 5-0 to recommend the change. No members of the public spoke during the City Council’s initial review of the change on Aug. 16. If approved, the amended ordinance takes effect in 30 days and applies to new permit requests. It will not apply to legally permitted manufactured homes converting from a pier foundation to a permanent foundation. The California Legislature prohibited exclusion of manufactured homes on single-family properties in 1980.  California law allows municipalities to apply the 10-years or newer standard.

(Editor’s note: This is the type of zoning issue that bears scrutiny under the enhanced pre-emption provided by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000) is supposed to prevent.  Contact MHARR in Washington, DC for details on the MHIA 2000).

(Graphic credit: CA flag, Wikimedia Commons)