Posts Tagged ‘Pressing’

Rising Star – U.S. Senator Tina Smith Pressing Manufactured Housing Regulatory, Legislative Issues

June 19th, 2019 Comments off



BuzzFeed News are among those in media that has described the freshmen U.S. Senator as a ‘rising star’ in her party.


That makes it all the more surprising that only the Daily Business News on MHProNews is essentially the only industry-focused trade media that has reported on the broader scope of issues that Senator Tina Smith (MN-D) has been involved with that directly relate to the manufactured housing industry.

Keep in mind that Smith’s state is one that has a bipartisan panel of legislators that have both agreed that manufactured homes are an important part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis.



There are good reasons to believe that Smith is serious about the broader use of manufactured homes, which is part of the aim of S. 1804, dubbed the HUD Manufactured Housing Modernization Act of 2019.” That said, as this MHProNews report and analysis will reflect, good intentions aside, there are warning flags that must be considered in the legislation she is supporting.


Senator Tina Smith, Manufactured Housing Regulations, Increased Use

As a reminder, or ICYMI, Smith was one of the Democratic Senate lawmakers who signed onto a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Kathy Kraninger. That letter fingered Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes and related lending, notably 21st Mortgage Corp and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance.  That report and the related letter from lawmakers is found in the linked text-image box below. As our report linked below reflects, that’s an important step. But why not ask DoJ to investigate Berkshire, Clayton, et al for allegations of market rigging?


Senate Democrats – Including 2020 Presidential Contenders – Ask CFPB Protect Consumers Against Predatory Lenders — Point Finger at Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Lending


Also, Senator Smith and other lawmakers is involved in efforts that they believe will promote manufactured homes. At this point in time, while acknowledging the potential for positive outcomes, in its current form, MHProNews is not on board with this legislation for a variety of reasons. 

That said, what follows is the full press release from Smith’s office. It includes two letters to the FHFA and other lawmakers as downloads.  All of those are important to be aware of, because Prosperity Now and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) are reportedly ‘in agreement’ on the changes made to this pending legislation. By contrast, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) per our sources, is not yet on board with this bill.

These elements will all be spotlighted in upcoming MHProNews reports, fact-checks, and analysis. With that tee up, here is the release from Senator Smith’s office.



U.S. Senators Smith, Cortez Masto, Scott, Cramer, Young Introduce Bipartisan Bill to
Promote Manufactured Housing as Part of Solution to Affordable Housing Crisis

Senators’ HUD Manufactured Housing Modernization Act Would Ensure HUD Supports State and Local Governments
Wishing to Include Manufactured Housing as Affordable Solution When Applying for Federal Resources

WASHINGTON, D.C. [06/12/2019]—Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith, (D-Minn.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.) introduced bipartisan legislation promoting manufactured housing as part of the solution to America’s affordable housing crisis.

The HUD Manufactured Housing Modernization Act of 2019 would require the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to issue guidelines for including manufactured housing in state and local governments’ Consolidated Plans, which outline their housing and community development priorities, when applying for HUD funding. This legislation will ensure that manufactured housing, a significant source of affordable housing, is considered when jurisdictions develop their housing plans.

“We need to support the affordable housing market and increase housing availability in urban, rural and tribal areas,” said Sen. Smith, a member of both the Senate Banking and Indian Affairs Committees. “Manufactured housing is a critical source of affordable housing all over Minnesota, and our bipartisan bill would make sure that more communities across the country think of manufactured housing as a possible solution to their housing needs.”

“We’re in the midst of an affordable housing crisis in Nevada, and in communities throughout America. Home prices are rising fast, and Americans are spending a greater share of their paychecks to keep a roof over their heads. It’s unacceptable, and we must take immediate action,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “This bipartisan legislation recognizes that manufactured housing can be part of the solution.”

“Manufactured housing is an affordable housing option for over 22 million Americans, including one out of every five families in South Carolina,” said Senator Scott. “Ensuring that we keep this important option open to families puts them in a safer position and a path to affordable home ownership.”

“Nearly 25,000 North Dakota families live in manufactured houses, built for a fraction of the cost of a single-family site-built home. The HUD Manufactured Housing Modernization Act makes it clear that communities should consider if and how manufactured housing could fit into their affordable housing plans,” said Senator Cramer.

“Solving the housing affordability crisis for Hoosiers of all income levels is going to require bold and innovative changes to our nation’s housing policies,” said Senator Young. “With over 2.5 million Hoosiers already living in manufactured homes — and with Hoosier workers leading the way in construction of manufactured housing — I know it’s time to put greater emphasis on manufactured housing as a housing affordability solution.” 

Manufactured housing is a significant source of un-subsidized affordable housing, with nearly 22 million Americans living in manufactured housing. Manufactured homes also cost as little as $45,000, while a new single-family site-built home can cost $323,000. The quality of manufactured homes has improved dramatically in recent years; manufactured homes can also be more energy efficient and save families costs on utilities in the long-term.

This bill is supported by Prosperity Now, National Low Income Housing Coalition, Manufactured Housing Institute, and the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners.

As Congress considers reforms to the nation’s housing finance system, last week Sen. Smith outlined her top priorities. In a letter to the nation’s top housing finance agency and leaders of the Senate Banking Committee—on which she serves—Sen. Smith pressed the officials to make sure any changes to the housing finance system support the affordable housing market and housing availability in rural areas, including on tribal lands. Following the Senate Banking Committee’s hearings on the housing finance system earlier this year and ongoing discussions about housing finance reform, Sen. Smith is fighting to preserve meaningful gains made in the housing finance system, especially those that support the housing market in low-income, rural, and Native areas. In her letters to leaders of the Senate Banking Committee and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria, Sen. Smith highlighted the importance of the federal requirement to serve underserved rural areas and low-income communities, and other initiatives currently in place that aim to alleviate the affordable housing crisis.




A prior ‘deeper dive’ report on MHI and their related surrogate’s posturing on this issue is linked below.


Dueling Statements, NAMHCO, MHI, MHARR, Weigh In On Controversial MH Bill, “George Allen Pawn Gambit”


It’s laudatory that this legislation has bipartisan backing, which is practically necessary in a divided federal government.  However, this bill ought to beg several questions.

·        Why isn’t a robust application of HUD’s authority under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000’s Enhanced Preemption provision being demanded by these lawmakers?

·        Why aren’t lawmakers demanding the FHFA to fully and properly implement the Duty to Serve provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008, as it relates to manufactured home lending?

The intent behind this bill, and its House counterpart, seems to be authentically pro-industry and pro-consumer. That said, as the MHIA and DTS reveal, passing a bill doesn’t mean that it will be properly implemented. Furthermore, as Dodd-Frank revealed, good intention doesn’t always end up with the desired outcome.

In order to properly frame such a bill, Congressional lawmakers should hold hearings on:

·        Duty to Serve (DTS), and its lack of properly implementation in 11 years.

·        The MHIA 2000, with a specific focus on why Enhanced Preemption has not been fully implemented.

·        Clayton Homes and MHI, to see if they are involved in collusion to rig the marketplace in a fashion that leads to increasing consolidation of the industry’s independents.

Clayton, their related lenders – as the report linked further above and here reflects – and MHI are clearly on the radar of several Democratic lawmakers.  Rightly so. More GOP lawmakers need to scrutinize these issues. So too should more federal agencies.

As independents who are pro-industry and pro-consumer, we believe that rushing this bill in its current form could lead to several future problems. The goal may be positive, but the industry’s independents, homeowners, and renters who could be potential homeowners have been battered too many times by good intentions that remained practically unfulfilled.


The comment above was said with respect to another recent topic, but relates to this issue too.

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Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) Pressing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to Fully Engage on Duty To Serve (DTS)

May 30th, 2018 Comments off

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) in written comments filed on May 30, 2018, has called on the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) — the federal regulator of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — to significantly revise and amend the final rule that it issued on December 29, 2016 to implement the Duty to Serve Underserved Markets (DTS) mandate incorporated by Congress in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) and related FHFA “guidance” for evaluating the Government Sponsored Enterprises’ supposed DTS compliance plans that became effective on January 1, 2018,” the Washington, D.C. based trade group told the Daily Business News via a news release.


MHARR’s comments were submitted to FHFA pursuant to a “Notice of Regulatory Review” published in the Federal Register on April 5, 2018, seeking comments on FHFA regulations that “should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed to make [FHFA’s] regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving its objectives” in accordance with a 2012 Regulatory Review Plan developed under Executive Order 13579 (“Regulation and Independent Regulatory Agencies,” issued July 11, 2011),” with emphasis added, per the MHARR release.

Based on this request – and in order to bring both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into full compliance with DTS — MHARR’s comments call for substantial amendments to: (1) FHFA’s final DTS implementation rule; (2) FHFA’s DTS plan “Evaluation Guidance;” and (3) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s DTS implementation plans themselves, given the patent failure and inability of these regulatory actions to effectively implement the DTS mandate in a market-significant and timely manner,” per MHARR.

In part, MHARR’s comments stress that a supposed “lack of information” regarding the performance of manufactured home chattel loans – which comprise upwards of 80% of the HUD Code market) – more than a decade after the enactment of DTS is both disingenuous and evidence of the type of continuing bias against manufactured housing and manufactured homebuyers at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that DTS was meant to remedy in the first place,” according to their statement.

There is no similar known effort being made by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), which sources say has postured a push for DTS, but whose prior chairman, Tim Williams, has said in published comments was a “waste of time.”

MHARR has previously noted that every day that DTS isn’t fully implemented is a “gift” to the Berkshire Hathaway lenders.

Industry veteran and MHI award-winner, Marty Lavin, JD, has recently told MHProNews that MHI works forthe big boys,” and only works for smaller companies when that aligns with the interests of larger firms.


Further,” said MHARR, “the comments note that the supposed chattel loan “pilot programs” included in the Enterprises’ DTS “implementation” plans, are little more than token efforts that would serve slightly more than 1% of the manufactured housing market with no assurance whatsoever of expanded secondary market or securitization support for manufactured housing chattel loans at any time in the foreseeable future. As such, the supposed DTS compliance plans – and the final DTS rule and Evaluation Guidance that they are based on – are wholly inadequate to “effectively” implement DTS and must be revised in accordance with FHFA’s 2012 Regulatory Review process.”


In Washington, D.C. MHARR President and CEO Mark Weiss said: “The continuing failure of FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – more than a decade after the enactment of DTS — to take concrete and market-significant steps to increase the availability of chattel loans for lower and moderate-income manufactured homebuyers is inexcusable and in defiance of the law and the will of Congress.

Weiss elaborated.

 Using the alleged lack of chattel loan “data” as a risible excuse, FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are standing in the way of greater competition in the manufactured housing finance market and lower,” he said, “more competitive interest rates for consumers that would allow many more Americans to purchase a truly affordable home of their own. Conversely, the failure to implement DTS as written and intended by Congress, will have the negative consequence of driving more consumers into the arms of the current industry-dominant lenders and their higher-cost loans. DTS is far too important to allow it to be emasculated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their enablers within and outside the industry.”



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. ## (News, analysis, and expert commentary.)

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