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Will Costs Rise $6,000 per Home? DOE Energy Rule on Manufactured Housing Revived, MHARR Rattles Legal Saber

June 12th, 2018 Comments off

WillCostsRise$6000PerHomeDamagingDOEEnergyRuleRevivedMHARRrattlesLegalSaberManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

The revival of a previously “inactive” energy rule for manufactured homes by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) may trigger legal action by MHARR on behalf of smaller HUD Code industry businesses,” said MHARR in a release do the Daily Business News.

 

As MHARR reported on December 18, 2017, the baseless, contrived and excessively-costly DOE-proposed manufactured housing “energy” rule, developed as part of an illegitimate, so-called “negotiated rulemaking” process — urged by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and “energy” special interests, as shown by documents released by DOE to MHARR under the Freedom of Information Act — was designated an “inactive” rule by DOE in the Fall 2017 Federal Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda (SRA),” the Washington, D.C. based association’s statement said to the industry’s trade publication of record, MHProNews.

That proposed rule, however, possibly in response to pending litigation filed by the Sierra Club in December 2017 to force DOE to adopt a final manufactured housing rule, has now re-appeared in the Spring 2018 SRA, with a notation indicating that a “supplemental” Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is being targeted for publication by DOE by August 2018. (See copy attached),” MHARR said.

The reason the rule is important is because some analysis of the arguably flawed proposal reveal that a multi-sectional could spike $6,000 each.  As long-time Daily Business News readers recall, the National Association for Home Builders has calculated that for every $1,000 in price increase, some 200,000 potential buyers will be “priced out” of the market for that higher-priced home.  Rephrased, some 1.2 million customers using the NAHB “priced out” model would be knocked out, and some advantage over conventional housing could be lost in the process.

Here’s how MHARR put it. 

While there is no information available at present as to what the “supplemental” NPRM will propose — or may change from the initial NPRM published by the Obama Administration in June 2016 — MHARR (unlike MHI, which voted in favor of the proposed rule as part of the illegitimate “negotiated” rulemaking process) has consistently and strongly opposed this proposed rule, which would needlessly explode the purchase price of manufactured housing (by $6,000.00, or more, for a double-section home) and effectively force hundreds-of-thousands of potential lower and moderate-income HUD Code purchasers out of the manufactured housing market, based on research conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).” 

Moreover, even for consumers who are able to remain in the HUD Code market, the contrived DOE “cost-benefit” assessment for the 2016 proposed rule, purportedly showing “benefits” for such remaining consumers, has been completely decimated by subsequent actions of the Trump Administration, which: (1) disavowed and repealed the Obama Administration’s invalid “Social Cost of Carbon” (SCC) construct, which was used by DOE to inflate the alleged benefits of the 2016 proposed rule; and (2) withdrew the United States from the “Paris Climate Accord,” which formed part of the policy basis for the DOE proposed rule,” reasoned MHARR.

As MHProNews has previously reported, MHI pushed for this rule, and only later reversed course, under pressure from reports by MHARR, the SBA, George Washington University, and this publication.  The linked article below can be read for additional context and details.

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Shifts on DOE Regulatory Rule, Report, Analysis

 

What’s Next from MHARR?

Here’s an extended quote from the balance of the MHARR release, which will be follow by our 3 point summary/analysis.

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Consequently, unless the forthcoming “supplemental” NPRM substantially modifies and/or withdraws objectionable, unnecessary, and unnecessarily-costly elements of the initial DOE proposed rule, MHARR may have no alternative but to consider legal action to enjoin the enforcement of any resulting “final” rule. Prior to any such court action, however, MHARR (and the industry) will have a further opportunity to comment and take other administrative action, as warranted, with respect to the “supplemental” energy NPRM. 

MHARR, accordingly, will continue to monitor this matter very closely and will take further and additional steps as it deems appropriate.

In other matters reflected in the Spring 2018 SRA, HUD announced three regulatory actions affecting manufactured housing. 

First, HUD has withdrawn – effective April 4, 2018 – a pending “Third Set” of amended HUD Code standards, including recommended standards concerning “carbon monoxide detection, stairways, fire safety considerations for attached garages and duplexes.”  Presumably, this action was undertaken pursuant to HUD’s current “top-to-bottom” review of all existing and pending standards, and will be subject to further consideration and action as determined by that review. 

Meanwhile, HUD has reactivated – on a long-term basis — two other manufactured housing rulemaking proceedings that had previously been suspended under the Trump Administration’s January 2017 regulatory freeze order. These are: (1) an “interim final rule” to amend HUD’s formaldehyde emissions standards based on the new formaldehyde standards adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and (2) a final rule on amendments to the HUD Code’s regulatory exemption for recreational vehicles.

Both of these actions are slated for action by April 2019 and will be addressed further by MHARR on an administrative basis as warranted.   

MHARR will continue to keep you updated on all of these matters as further developments unfold,” said their release.

Once more at the heart of this issue is that consumers, per some analysis,

  • won’t be able to recoup their investment during the normal 7 year time frame that a home buyer lives in a home they purchase.
  • Also, manufactured housing professionals will see thousands of potential home buyers not be able to qualify, about 1.2 million, per the NAHB priced out model.
  • SBA, and George Washington University both agreed with MHARR’s analysis, while MHI pushed this rule for some time, prior to relenting.
  • What the Trump Administration will ultimately do will be worth watching, as some believe that this may be tied to a lawsuit from an environmental group.

The Arlington, VA based MHI position on this development will be interesting to watch, given their prior flip-flops.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © That’s MH “Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use.”  © ## (News, analysis, commentary.)

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Related Reports:

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

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Small Business Optimism Index Highest in 37 Years

January 16th, 2017 Comments off
SmallBusinessOptimismIndexHighestin37YearscreditBusinessFinancialServices-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Business Financial Services.

America’s small businesses are very optimistic.

Per Bloomberg, The National Federation of Independent Business’s (NFIB) index jumped 7.4 points last month to 105.8, the highest since the end of 2004, from 98.4.

The December numbers represent the largest rise in optimism since 1980 as expectations about the economy’s prospects improved dramatically in the aftermath of the presidential election.

Rising confidence adds to the economy’s upward momentum,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York.

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Juanita Duggan. Credit: NFIB.

The share of business owners who say now is a good time to expand is three times the average of the current expansion, according to data from the NFIB. More companies also said they plan to increase investment and keep hiring, which reflects optimism surrounding President-elect Donald Trump’s plans of spurring the economy through deregulation, tax reform and infrastructure spending.

We haven’t seen numbers like this in a long time,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “Small business is ready for a breakout, and that can only mean very good things for the U.S. economy. Business owners are feeling better about taking risks and making investments.

The report from the NFIB is based on a survey of 619 small business owners through December 28th. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small companies represent 99 percent of all U.S. Employers.

SmallBusinessOptimismIndexHighestin37YearscreditNFIB-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: NFIB.

Business owners who expect better business conditions accounted for 48 percent of the overall increase,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The December results confirm the sharp increase that we reported immediately after the election.

The Manufactured Housing Industry Speaks

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Voices from around the manufactured housing industry also expressed optimism in the wake of President-elect Trump’s November win.

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Jim Clayton, credit, MHProNews.

 “The economy, regulations, and politics need disruptingStay tuned,said Clayton Homes Founder Jim Clayton.

I have become increasingly pleased with the outcome, but tempered that with cautious optimism.

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D.J. Pendleton. Credit, MHProNews.

It’s the dawning of a new day. After the shock and elation or disappointment wash over us, and we all have taken a collective deep breath, we can begin looking to the future. And in that future I think it is safe to say that changes, well, they are a comin’ in,” said DJ Pendleton, Executive Directory of the Texas Manufactured Housing Association.

“For any who might not yet be aware, in addition to President-Elect Trump heading to the White House, both the House and Senate will now be controlled by a Republican majority. All three branches of government are in Republican control. What will this mean? It simply means that there is little in the way of the Republican policy agenda.

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MHARR president and CEO M. Mark Weiss. Credit: MHProNews.

With a personal background in business, rather than government, Mr. Trump, during the just-ended campaign, has been a consistent critic of innovation-stifling and job-killing overregulation and regulators who ignore or rationalize the far-reaching negative impacts of such regulations on the health of the economy, smaller businesses and consumers,” said MHARR President and CEO M. Mark Weiss.

For more from the manufactured housing industry on the election and the economy, click here. ##

(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.

SBA, George Washington University, Blast Proposed DOE Energy Rule for Manufactured Housing

September 26th, 2016 Comments off
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Logos and photo are the respective property of each organization as shown, and are used here under Fair Use Guidelines.

It does not appear that DOE grasps the unique challenges that small manufacturers encounter.”

— U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy

A controversial proposal by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for manufactured housing has drawn support as well as growing opposition.

An arm of the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) and a policy analyst at George Washington University have weighed in on the DOE proposal. Both organizations are expressing concerns that mirror and amplify those advanced by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

The Digital Journal is one of several hundred news and special interest sites that have carried word of how proposed energy efficiency standards could harm manufactured housing producers, businesses and consumers.

Reasoned Opposition Grows

Written comments to the DOE by both the SBA and George Washington University’s regulatory research program echo the vigorous objections of MHARR, which has led the opposition to the proposed rule.

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Image credits, Digital Journal.

Comments filed on August 16th from the SBA’s Office of Advocacy note the DOE proposal does not comply with federal requirements than an agency quantify or describe the economic impact that its proposed regulation might have on small businesses.”

A separate public comment letter submitted the same day from Sofie E. Miller, a senior policy analyst at George Washington University’s Regulatory Studies Center, note that the DOE’s calculations overestimate the benefits of its proposed rule in several key respects.

Miller particularly notes the adverse impact on prospective low-income purchasers.

“…mandatory, across-the-board increases in efficiency will price many low-income consumers
out of the market for manufactured homes entirely.”

— The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center

As MHProNews has previously reported, MHARR has been highly critical of the proposal.

Highlighting serious – and in MHARR’s view, “fatal” defects in the rule and the rulemaking process – which the Washington-based association says has been troubled by leaks, discrepancies and a lack of transparency.

The MH industry organization has called the DOE’s cost-benefit analysis a sham,” they say is driven by special interests.

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MHARR logo, used here under Fair Use guidelines.

The George Washington University (GWU) analysis, stated the Digital Journal, “citing MHARR materials published in the industry trade journal, MHProNews – echoes serious concerns over anti-competitive effects resulting from the DOE proposal.

Executive Order, Third Party Research

MHARR says that of particular interest is an Executive Order issued by the President on April 15, 2016, in which the Center calls on DOE to pay particular attention to the prospective effects of its proposed rule on competition within the MH market.” 

According to recommendations from the GWU Center, “The DOE should commit to retrospectively reviewing its standard to ensure there is no conflict or overlap with existing HUD regulations and to evaluate the rule’s effects on competition within the MH market and the availability of affordable housing.”

In its comments, the SBA’s Office of Advocacy also focused on the proposal’s adverse impacts on competition, noting that the rule would have significantly disproportionate economic impacts on small manufactured home manufacturers if finalized.”

The comments called on DOE to adopt a regulatory alternative to the proposed standard that will minimize the economic impact to small manufacturers.”

MHARR commended these highly respected, independent organizations for filing comments on the proposed MH energy rule.

The cost-benefit analysis for the rule is skewed to the point of being arbitrary at best and deceitful at worst.”

— Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)

There are rumors that the Daily Business News is aware of that suggest that if the DOE continues on its proposed course of action without correction, “other legal measures” may be taken beyond written and verbal protest.

For the complete MHARR briefing on this issue, including the reports cited above, click here. ##

(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, MHProNews.

FEMA Grants California Control over Distribution of Emergency Manufactured Homes

August 10th, 2016 Comments off

Calif._Erskine_Fire_rubble_usatoday_credit postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsUpdating a story MHProNews last posted Aug. 1, 2016 regarding the use of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) manufactured homes for people whose homes were destroyed in the Erskine Fire in California, the Kern County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pursue a county-state partnership for recovery from the disaster.

An important portion of the partnership involves the 71 manufactured homes FEMA had stored near Sacramento in anticipation of floods that may occur after the wildfires that periodically ravage the state, according to bakersfieldnow.

The MHUs (manufactured housing units) had previously been scheduled to be returned eastward, but the partnership with the state resulted in Cal OIS (California Office of Information Security) requesting FEMA to designate the homes as “surplus,” which allows the state to hold the MH and distribute the units as needed.

Kern County Fire Department Chief Brian Marshall said, “This is an exciting project that will help our residents in the Kern River Valley that were devastated by the Erskine Fire get back to some sort of normalcy,” Marshall said. “Even though the Erskine Fire was out within two weeks, the long-term recovery is going to be years.”

Since the county did not get a federal declaration of disaster, which would have allowed the use of the FEMA housing units, the state contacted FEMA directly and asked that the homes be declared surplus, which allows the partnership to use them as needed. The plan to distribute the MHUs is currently in process.

Other resources include free debris removal and low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA), in addition to a number of nonprofits and volunteer groups assisting in the rebuild of the Kern River Valley. ##

(Photo credit: usatoday–rubble from the Erskine Fire in California)

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

Wildfires Open Door to Flooding and Mudslides—if California does Get Rain

November 23rd, 2015 Comments off

butte_county__fire_dept_Sept_9_2015__butteconty__creditUpdating the story last reported Nov. 4, 2015 that MHProNews has been following concerning the clean-up and rebuild going on in the wake of the Valley and Butte wildfires in California, the new threat to the area, with all the underbrush and vegetation gone, is the possibility of flooding within the Butte Fire footprint. As a result, sand and bags are available to all Calaveras County residents, according to mymotherlode, but you must show proof of residency.

MHProNews knows from wikipedia the fire consumed 70,868 acres. To date, as regards the Butte fire, 100 properties have been cleared of burn debris with over 700 more that need work. Twenty-six debris removal crews are at work. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is bringing in temporary manufactured homes for many of the displaced survivors.

Today, Nov 23, 2015 is the last day to sign up for FEMA assistance, as well as for loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA). ##

(Photo credit: buttecounty–Butte wildfire, Sept. 2015)

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

FEMA adds to Expense Ticket in Valley Fire Loss

October 14th, 2015 Comments off

Calif_fires_9_2015__kgo_tv_creditA story MHProNews last published Oct. 8, 2015 details the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief efforts for victims of the Butte and Valley fires in northern California. At that time they had disbursed over $4.5 million, and now that number has jumped to $7.49 million, according to record-bee, and that includes 95% of the registrations documenting loss.

2,268 Lake County residents had registered as of Oct. 13 for grant-based funds provided by FEMA, which will help with repair or replacement of homes, including temporary housing and personal needs. FEMA is determining how many manufactured homes will be brought in as part of the relief effort. “There’s no official word on how many, but that is part of the recovery tool box and something we’re looking at doing,” said Steven Solomon, FEMA External Affairs Specialist.

FEMA moved quickly to complete the 2,310 inspections, and is now networking with community and faith-based groups to consider long-term solutions. The agency is also scoping out sites for the MH.

Additionally the SBA (Small Business Administration) announced that low-interest federal disaster loans are now available to certain private nonprofit (PNP) organizations, providing they are deemed a critical need in times of a disaster. The loans can be up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. SBA can also make loans that could prevent a future disaster from occurring. ##

(Photo credit: kgo-tv–Valley Fire destruction in California)

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

Flood Survivors Still Live in Manufactured Homes

March 26th, 2014 Comments off

Updating a story MHProNews.com last posted Feb. 12, 2014 regarding recovery and rebuilding efforts from the disastrous flooding in Colorado in September, 2013, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) tab has risen from $267 million to $304 million, according to kwgn2.com. These funds have included FEMA disaster grants, flood insurance payments and Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loans. FEMA continues to provide manufactured housing for 40 families, down from 44 families a month ago. ##

(Photo credit: John Wark/Associated Press–South Platte River near Greeley, Colorado)

Manufactured Housing for Hurricane Survivors

January 30th, 2013 Comments off

The Asbury Park Press reports the federal government has sent $780 million in grants and loans to New Jersey for Hurricane Sandy relief. The figure includes over $300 million in housing assistance for 52,000 people and $338 million in loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) for individuals and businesses. In addition to homeowners being helped with low-interest disaster loans, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is installing 84 manufactured homes in commercial MHCs. MHProNews has learned a total of 115 apartments at Fort Monmouth are being rehabbed for survivors.

(Photo credit: The Westerly Sun–Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath)

GSHS, QuikTrip Center, Tulsa, OK March 1-4

February 28th, 2012 Comments off

The Great Southwest Home Show, billed as the World’s Largest Indoor Manufactured Home Show, is packing a wallop of seminars, forums, and workshops in addition to all the vendors and homes from the nation’s foremost manufacturers. March 1 and 2 will be Industry Days with workshops ranging from new financing options to attorney Kurt Kelly’s presentation on MHC management, billed tongue-in-cheek, as “Here’s How Me, Daryl, and My Other Brother Daryl Ran Our Park and Why We Got Sued So Many Times,” and his Top Ten dumb management ideas. MHProNews publisher L.A. Tony Kovach will disclose proven strategies to attract more customers to retail and to communities, and Dick Ernst will moderate a panel of the top seven MH lenders, each of whom will give their best shot. The government will get in on the act with a Small Business Administration (SBA) official presenting a revised floorplan lending program, and Sherrie Clevenger will give tips and insights on getting the most out of your appraisal. March 3 and 4 will be Public Days. For more information go to www.mhao.org

Long Island Builder Moves to Modular

January 9th, 2012 Comments off

Before the housing bubble burst, builder Howard Kipnes would buy land speculatively and then build the home upon receiving a contract. That ended with the housing bust. Newsdays tells MHProNews.com that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, permits for single-family homes on Long Island, New York, fell to 90 in November, 2011, compared to 160 four years earlier. In New York, 421 modular homes were shipped in the third quarter of 2011 as opposed to 338 in the same period 2010. Kipnes began selling modulars because they require half the time as a site-built dwelling, and their price tag is 5-10 percent less. Westchester Modular Homes in Wingdale, NY manufactures the custom-built modular homes that he then assembles on clients’ property. Now completing his fifth modular home, he received a $480,000 Small Business Administration loan to remodel an 8,000 square foot space (he shares some of the space) and showcase his new product, including a large flat-panel monitor customers can use to design their home. He says buyers are still cautious about factory-built homes, but the inquiries have increased in the past year. He currently is working on 30 proposals.

(Photo credit: Ed Betz/Newsday)