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Focus on More Financing, HUD Program Reforms, Aimed at Increasing Manufactured Homes Sales, Meeting with Assistant Secretary–Federal Housing Commissioner, Brian Montgomery

July 27th, 2018 Comments off

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The Daily Business News has been advised of a meeting at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which took place on July 25, 2018.

 

The focus of that high-level meeting’s discussion?

It could be summarized with the following bullets. To:

obtain more personal property financing options for HUD Code manufactured homes,

simplify the often complex regulations and on-site inspections, in compliance with the law,

full enforcement of existing laws, notably in regards to the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA),

reinvigorate the state-federal partnership in the HUD Code program, via adequate funding,

insure that the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) fully represents industry interests, and is operated according to the law,

the status of the regulatory reform comments review mandated by President Trump’s executive orders,

address concerns over “40 years of de facto sole-source monitoring procurements,” per MHARR’s statement,

and to discuss who would replace Pam Danner as the administrator of the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs.

 

The meeting was held between

HUD Assistant Secretary–Federal Housing Commissioner, Brian Montgomery,

Teresa Payne, who is the acting interim head of the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs,

and senior leadership for the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). Specifically, “MHARR Chairman, James Shea, Jr., MHARR Immediate-Past Chairman, John Bostick, MHARR President Mark Weiss and MHARR Senior Advisor, Danny D. Ghorbani…”

In a release to the Daily Business News on MHProNews, MHARR provided the following meeting memo, which will be published verbatim, further below.

A few points worth emphasizing, via the following pull quotes from the MHARR report.

“…the MHARR delegation focused on harm to consumers and the industry resulting from unjustified, unwarranted, and/or misdirected HUD regulations (or pseudo-regulations),”

ManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformJOINMHARRbani-200x200

Call 202-783-4087, email mharrdg@aol.com or click the above to learn more.

The MHARR delegation also addressed the decline – under the former federal program administrator — in the federal-state partnership that lies at the core of the HUD program and its proper operation.”

“…the MHARR delegation encouraged Commissioner Montgomery, as Federal Housing Commissioner, to explore the re-vitalization and expansion of the FHA Title I manufactured housing program which, after being a significant source of consumer financing for HUD Code homes in the past, has declined drastically, to minimal activity levels in recent years.”

“…MHARR noted that the “10-10” net worth and reserve rule implemented by the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginne Mae) for FHA Title I financial institutions has severely and unjustifiably limited lender participation in the Title I program to just two approved lenders, both of which are finance subsidiaries of the industry’s largest corporate conglomerate.”

The later, of course, was a reference to Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes and their subsidiaries, 21st Mortgage Corp., and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF).

Specifically, MHARR pressed for reforms of FHA Title I – chattel, or personal property, “home only” loans – due to the lack of implementation by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) under their Duty to Serve mandate.

Such a revitalization and expansion in FHA Title I support for manufactured home financing is particularly crucial in light of the minimal and long-delayed “implementation” of the Duty to Serve Underserved Markets (DTS) by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and their federal regulator, FHFA, and their failure to establish – any time soon – market-significant levels of securitization and secondary market support for manufactured home chattel loans, which comprise upwards of 80% of all manufactured home consumer loans.”

The entire MHARR release to MHProNews is below. It will be followed by references to several other related reports that flesh-out related details of importance to:

manufactured home industry professionals,

affordable housing advocates,

investors,

public officials,

and others.

JULY 26, 2018

 

TO: MHARR MANUFACTURERS

MHARR STATE AFFILIATES

MHARR TECHNICAL REVIEW GROUP (TRG)

FROM: MARK WEISS

RE: MHARR MEETING WITH HUD ASSISTANT SECRETARY BRIAN MONTGOMERY_____________________________________________

A delegation of MHARR officials, including MHARR Chairman, James Shea, Jr., MHARR Immediate-Past Chairman, John Bostick, MHARR President Mark Weiss and MHARR Senior Advisor, Danny D. Ghorbani, met on July 25, 2018 with HUD Assistant Secretary–Federal Housing Commissioner, Brian Montgomery, the highest-ranking political appointee with direct oversight of the HUD manufactured housing program, to address issues concerning the both the program and the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Title I manufactured housing loan insurance program. Scheduled shortly after Commissioner Montgomery was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, the meeting represents a continuation of MHARR’s direct interaction with Trump Administration officials at HUD and others agencies concerning both the federal manufactured housing program and federal financing support for affordable manufactured homes, including meetings with HUD Secretary Ben Carson and HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary Dana Wade, and Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) director Melvin Watt, among others.

The main purpose of the meeting with Commissioner Montgomery who, while holding the same position in the Administration of President George W. Bush, was instrumental in establishing the statutory Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) and securing major achievements in the implementation of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, was to address key aspects of the ongoing manufactured housing program review and reform process initiated by President Trump and Secretary Carson, with a view toward putting the federal program back on track, in full compliance with all elements of the 2000 reform law.

Consequently, among other topics, the meeting addressed: (1) the status of the appointed manufactured housing program administrator mandated by the 2000 reform law; (2) the status of the pending “top-to-bottom” manufactured housing program regulatory review pursuant to Trump Administration Executive Orders (EOs) 13771 and 13777; (3) the status of the program monitoring contract, which is slated to expire in August 2018, the urgent need for a fully-competitive contracting process after more than 40 years of de facto sole-source monitoring procurements, and the selection of a new program “monitoring” contractor; (4) the necessity of retaining state participation in the HUD program and proper funding for State Administrative Agencies (SAAs); and (5) the restoration of collective industry representation on the MHCC. In addition, the MHARR delegation urged Commissioner Montgomery to consider reforms at the Federal Housing Administration and the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA), to expand the utilization of the FHA Title I manufactured housing program and the availability of insured manufactured home chattel loans under that program, particularly in light of the highly-restricted implementation of the “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets” with respect to manufactured home chattel loans by FHFA and the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In particular, the MHARR delegation focused on harm to consumers and the industry resulting from unjustified, unwarranted, and/or misdirected HUD regulations (or pseudo-regulations), citing, as an example, HUD’s excessively costly and needlessly burdensome 2016 “on-site” construction rule, which, rather than reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency of on-site work and related approvals, has instead led to a decline in on-site completions and features requiring on-site completion, which has unnecessarily harmed the HUD Code market and unnecessarily denied consumers various on-site features that they seek in HUD Code homes. The MHARR delegation thus urged Assistant Secretary Montgomery to continue with – and aggressively implement and advance – the EO 13771/13777 regulatory reform process within the federal program that was initially spearheaded by Deputy Assistant Secretary Wade. And, in fact, it appears from responses at the meeting, that aspects of the Department’s regulatory reform process will be presented to – and considered by – the MHCC at a meeting currently expected to be held (but not yet formally announced in the Federal Register) on September 11-13, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

The MHARR delegation also addressed the decline – under the former federal program administrator — in the federal-state partnership that lies at the core of the HUD program and its proper operation. Noting that state SAAs and state Primary Inspection Agencies (PIAs) had been tasked with numerous additional functions by HUD under its change to the “focus” of program inspections and monitoring, from the detection of specific standards violations to a new alleged emphasis on “quality control” and, worst of all, new unwarranted and baseless demands on long-standing and fully-compliant state installation programs – all without any corresponding rulemaking or regulatory process – MHARR pointed out that to date, there has been no corresponding increase in the compensation of such state agencies, leading some to either withdraw from the program or consider withdrawing. This, in turn, increases the power and influence of the entrenched monitoring contractor (and program installation contractor) – which assumes those expanded regulatory roles in “default” states, without the accountability, responsibility and responsiveness of the former state government entities. Meanwhile, a proposal to increase state SAA funding, recommended by the MHCC and published for notice and comment in 2016, needlessly remains in limbo, some two years after-the-fact. The MHARR delegation, accordingly, urged Commissioner Montgomery to address this matter as a priority issue for the program.

In addition, the MHARR delegation encouraged Commissioner Montgomery, as Federal Housing Commissioner, to explore the re-vitalization and expansion of the FHA Title I manufactured housing program which, after being a significant source of consumer financing for HUD Code homes in the past, has declined drastically, to minimal activity levels in recent years. Such a revitalization and expansion in FHA Title I support for manufactured home financing is particularly crucial in light of the minimal and long-delayed “implementation” of the Duty to Serve Underserved Markets (DTS) by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and their federal regulator, FHFA, and their failure to establish – any time soon – market-significant levels of securitization and secondary market support for manufactured home chattel loans, which comprise upwards of 80% of all manufactured home consumer loans.

In particular, MHARR noted that the “10-10” net worth and reserve rule implemented by the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginne Mae) for FHA Title I financial institutions has severely and unjustifiably limited lender participation in the Title I program to just two approved lenders, both of which are finance subsidiaries of the industry’s largest corporate conglomerate. As a result, for far too many Americans, the inherently affordable home ownership offered by today’s manufactured homes, is simply not available – contrary to HUD and FHA’s fundamental mission — due to the lack of available, accessible, competitive financing. Consequently, as MHARR stressed, in addition to the reform of its regulatory activities, HUD should also re-examine and reform its financing-related programs for manufactured housing.

MHARR, as it has since the inauguration of President Trump – in all forms of direct and formal interaction with relevant officials — will continue to press the case for HUD Code manufactured housing, for increased governmental support for manufactured home consumer financing, in full accordance with all applicable laws, and for fundamental regulatory reform within the federal manufactured housing program in full compliance with the 2000 reform law, including proper program leadership in the person of an administrator appointed in accordance with the 2000 reform law.

cc: Other Interested HUD Code Industry Members

 

About MHARR

MHARR 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 commentary.)

(Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.) See Related Reports, linked further below.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Related Reports:

“Take the MH Advantage Challenge – Can You Tell the Difference?” Fisk of Sarah Edelman, Director of Duty to Serve, Single-Family Mortgage Business for Fannie Mae

Manufactured Housing Program Review Addressed by HUD Secretary Carson during Oversight Hearing

 

Update on Fannie Mae Lobbying, and Manufactured Housing Controversy

 

Realtor University, Journal for the Center of Real Estate Studies, Makes Corrections– “The Market for Manufactured Homes,” by Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton, CBE

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

 

‘Tip of Iceberg’ – Rick Rand; Marty Lavin, Communities have ‘No Confidence’ in Manufactured Housing Institute, New National Trade Group Announced

Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?

 

Who will replace Pam Danner at HUD’s Office of Manufactured Housing Programs?

May 17th, 2018 Comments off
GeorgeAllenPamDannerHUDCodeOfficeManufacturedHousingProgramsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Photo credits are as shown, plus Vic DeRose photo from his law firm, Teresa Payne photo from Manufactured Home Living News, with Payne’s hands above and below the red HUD label on a manufactured home.

The Daily Business News can report that there are multiple candidates for the position vacated by the removal of Pam Danner at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP).

 

According to the HUD website, the Mission of “The Office of Manufactured Housing Programs executes responsible regulation and solutions-oriented oversight and monitoring to protect consumers and preserve and promote the affordability, quality, durability, and safety of manufactured homes.  This office also provides technical assistance to Federal Housing Administration programs.”

The one candidate we are able to publicly name at this time is Vic DeRose.

At one point prior to Danner’s selection, DeRose was the “consensus candidate” openly advocated for by both national associations: the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

MHARR still supports DeRose, while MHI is characteristically mum on the topic, at least in public.

VictorAnthonyDeRoseDeRoseLawFirmVicDeRosePhotoDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

As an attorney with a deep background in manufactured housing, DeRose would bring several useful experiences to the table at HUD. He is liked and respected, per industry sources.

Stating one or more names of others who are seeking the job of administrator over OMHP, or who are being promoted for the position by various interests, would de facto tend to reveal the source(s) for the information.

That said, it is fair to say that there is significant weight that could be thrown behind an alternative candidate to De Rose.

MHProNews know De Rose by reputation, including his deep family ties to the industry.

Industry sources tell MHProNews that De Rose comes highly recommended by those who know him.

 

The Word From HUD

The word heard from the halls at HUD is that no quick decision is going to be made to replace Danner.

As has been previously reported, Teresa Payne is temporarily in charge of the program there. HUD is still officially reviewing the input from public comments to HUD about the MH Program, requested earlier this year.

OfficeofManufacturedHousingProgramsTeresaPayneIshbelDIckensPamelaBeckDannerHUD-ManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

While De Rose, per our sources, would be a far better leader for the program – especially when compared to what was widely seen by industry professionals as the disastrous years under Danner – sources say it is far from certain that he will get the nod.

What is sure is that the Danner years – which Secretary Carson may have had in mind when he called some of the regulations over manufactured housing “ridiculous” – should serve as a reminder to the industry of just how problematic it is to have the wrong person in that critical role.

MHProNews will continue to monitor the developing situation. Some related back stories regarding Danner are found or linked in the report below. ##  (News, analysis and commentary.)

(Third party images and citations are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports:

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

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

 

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To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.

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

 

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

December 21st, 2017 Comments off

HUDCodeManufacturedHomeProgramShakeupDrainTheHUDSwampManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews525

America is in a well-documented affordable housing crisis.

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

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

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

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

MultipleReasonsExpectManufacturedHousingDoBetterThanSiteBuiltHousingEricBelskyEecDirJointCenterHousingStudiesHarvardUnivDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

So what happened?

Why did that Harvard prediction not come to pass?

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

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

Rephrasing, Stating the Obvious Benefits:

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

 

Executive Summary: Major HUD Code MH Office Shakeup

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

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

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

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

OfficeManufacturedHousingDirecotry201712-21-0541ETDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

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

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

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

Why the HUD Shakeup Matters, “Inside MH” 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ManufacturedHomeNotMotorHomeNotTrailerOftenCalledMobileHomeNotThatEitherNFPAFireAnalysisManufacturedHousingIndustryResearchDataDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

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

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

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

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

ItsAsWrongtoUseNWordToDescribeBlackAsUseTWordTodescribeManufacturedHomeRevDonaldTyeJr.ManufacturedHousingNotT-railerNotNword

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

 

 

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

RedHUDCodeMetalLabel=ManufacturedHomeNOTMobileHomeNOTTinyHouseNOTrv-CreditsManufactruredHomeLivingNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

RedHUDLabelHUDCodeManufacturedHomeDataPlateManufacturedHomeLivingNews

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

YouAreEntitledtoYourOwnOpinions.ButYouAreNotEntitledToYourOwnFactsDanielPatrickMoynihanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

FactoryHousingEvolution101TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHome

 

HUD is the Primary Federal Regulator of a Federally Preemptive Code

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

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

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

 

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

Because Regulatory Enforcement, or Overreach Matters,

The Danner/Starkey Shakeup at HUD Matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Regulatory Impacts in the National News

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

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

 

CostRegulation4TrillionYear12KPerPersonManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews779

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

That in turn impacts job retention/creation.

 

Segue – Trade Media vs. Mainstream Media

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

How so?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Federal Regulators, HUD, and Manufactured Housing

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

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

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

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

The Pam Danner, Lois Starkey Controversies

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

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

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

Does that work?

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

 

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

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

Instead, MHI attempts to dazzle their members with

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

 

Mighty MHARR? Meek MHI?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is that MHI’s meaning of “Got Clout?”

Avoidable Fumbles, Missteps, and Failures

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

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

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

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

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

What Was Starkey Doing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SamZellManufacturedHousingIndustryManufacturedHomeCommunitiesMastheadIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

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

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

The Bottom Lines?

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

MobileManufacturedHomeAnnualShipments1959-2012CalculatedRisk-DailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryResearchReportsMHProNews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caution

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

Now You Will Hear — the Rest of the Story

Thousands of industry professionals will cheer this shakeup at HUD.

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

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

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

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DeRose Declines, but MHARR and MHI Cooperate?

July 7th, 2011 Comments off

Sources tell MHMSM.com that MHI and MHARR quietly prepared a joint approach to HUD in favor of appointing attorney Victor A DeRose to a vacancy in that federal agency’s manufactured housing program.  DeRose, who has years of manufactured housing industry experience, declined interest in the role.  Recently announced moves of Teresa Payne to the new Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Elizabeth Cocke transfer to HUD’s Affordable Housing and Technology Research Division in the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) creates vacancies in HUD’s Office of Manufactured Housing Programs.  William Matchneer’s and Teresa Payne’s transfers from HUD are said to be based upon their experience with RESPA, Interstate Land Sales, and SAFE, all of which are transferring to CFPB.

HUD Announces Personnel Changes

June 20th, 2011 Comments off

HUD logoThe Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s ManuFACTured Housing News Letter announces changes in personnel.  Teresa Payne, the Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary (ADAS) for Regulatory Affairs has been with HUD for 15 years in various capacities with the Manufactured Housing Program.  She worked on HUD’s administration of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), Interstate Land Sales (ILS), and the SAFE Act.  She will be joining the new the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  Elizabeth Cocke, Deputy Administrator of the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs and former Director of the Manufactured Housing Programs, will be moving to a different HUD position, the Affordable Housing and Technology Research Division in the office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R).  Henry Czauski will become the Acting Deputy Administrator for the Manufactured Housing Program, moving over from his role as Senior Advisor in the office of Risk Management and Regulatory Affairs.  He has served as Deputy Director of the Departmental Enforcement Center and as counsel in a variety of regional offices.

HUD Policies to Be Examined by Congressional Committee

March 6th, 2011 Comments off

According to a report from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), an exchange of letters between MHARR and HUD, following President Obama’s Executive Order (EO) #13563, in which the president called for an examination of regulations that guide federal agencies, produced a standoff.  Ms. Teresa Payne, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regulatory Affairs and Manufactured Housing (on behalf of HUD Assistant Secretary David Stevens), says HUD is a neutral party in enforcing regulations through its inspection agencies and auditors in protecting consumers, and that it includes the industry in its decision-making process.  MHARR President Danny Ghorbani says HUD enforcement unduly burdens small business, stems job growth, and makes decisions behind closed doors, despite the EO’s insistence on transparency.  Now, MHARR has succeeded in convincing the Oversight Plan of the House Financial Services Committee to examine HUD’s Manufactured Housing Program in this session of Congress.  Details will be discussed at the MHARR meeting in Tunica, Mississippi.

Teresa Payne of HUD Gives Exclusive Interview to MHMSM.com

January 9th, 2011 Comments off

Teresa Payne is Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development. The popular interview format of “A Cup of Coffee with…”, in which Industry In Focus Reporter Eric Miller asks the questions, is the means Ms. Payne has chosen for sharing Industry information with the readers of MHMSM.com about herself, her role at HUD and her views on the manufactured housing industry. The interview is available Monday – click here .

“A Cup of Coffee with…” Teresa Payne

December 22nd, 2010 Comments off

Coming after the New Year, MHMSM.com will provide an exclusive interview with Teresa Payne, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary at HUD’s Office of Regulatory Affairs. In the popular format of “A Cup of Coffee with…” interview, Payne discusses the uncertain economic climate impacting the manufactured housing industry and the role of manufactured housing in HUD’s efforts to provide affordable housing as well as some of her personal insights into the industry. Stay tuned for this exclusive opportunity to have a direct line from HUD.