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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.”

 

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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.

 

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

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Supply, Demand, Manufactured Homes, and Land Lease Communities

September 11th, 2018 Comments off

SupplyDemandManufacturedHOmesLandLeaseCommunitiesBuyersResidentsDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

As you listen to this video about blueberries, think about manufactured home community sites, instead of blueberries.

 

With that understanding, this video is one way to explain to resident activist group members why a lack of new construction is one of the drivers of higher site fees.


But another factor that has to be considered by activists and there supporters is interest by home shoppers in manufactured homes themselves.

When headline grabbing activists make living in a manufactured home community sound less appealing, what that does is arguably harm the values of existing pre-HUD Code mobile homes and manufactured homes. Why? Because the demand is lower, the price will likely be lower.

As noted earlier today, these issues aren’t meant to be a put-down of well-intended followers of NMHOA, MHAction or other activist-leaders.

Rather, reports like this and the one below are meant to give a tool to those on staff who may interact with such residents.

Tim Sheahan, NMHOA President, Controversial Points of Agreement with Marty Lavin, George Allen on Communities

These provides a means to explain to those who may be well intended, but are logically being misled by the leadership of manufactured home activist residents. NMHOA and MHAction leaders are arguably harming the interests of member home owners on several levels.

Maybe that’s why those leaders don’t want to discuss or debate such issues in public?

We’ll plan reports like this on MHLivingNews, but until then, your front line staff need to get their arms around this.  We already have the related report below.

Washington Post – Protests of HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Manufactured Housing Institute, by MHAction, New York Communities for Change, CarsonWatch – An Inside Look

Because there are per sources, hundreds if not thousands in MHVille who don’t know how to explain such issues to residents and shoppers.

To learn more details, please see the related reports, linked above and below. Retailers, communities and others should make sure that your staffs are on top of these types of nuts-and-bolts issues.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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MH Communities, Owners, MH Independents Alert – NMHOA and MHAction Next Steps? – Part 1

 

Fresh Facts, Figures, Future of Affordable Housing -Comparisons- Conventional Site-Built v Mobile/Manufactured Home Industry Data

Tim Sheahan, NMHOA President, Controversial Points of Agreement with Marty Lavin, George Allen on Communities

September 11th, 2018 Comments off

 

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When it comes to doing relevant fact checks, analysis, and commentary, timing is everything.

 

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 Tim Sheahan, President of the National Manufactured Home Owners Association (NMHOA).

The comments were part of Sheahan’s much longer written comments to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which for the last 10 years has overseen the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs).

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.”

The above is a commentary that mobile/manufactured home professionals from that era, along with hundreds of thousands of mobile/manufactured home owners from that timeframe could agree upon.

Rephrased, those are statements that could be a possible starting point for common ground between communities and activist groups that are otherwise often at odds.

But what followed from Sheahan is where a significant degree of divergence – and hot controversies – arises.

Sheahan wrote, “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. Proactive homeowners organized and eventually achieved rent stabilization ordinances in over 100 cities or counties in California to combat the contagious greed of many MH community operators. These ordinances protected not only homeowners, they protected lenders, dealers, manufacturers as well, while providing a “just and reasonable” return on investment for community operators, a similar standard as used in regulating utility rates. Local rent ordinances also helped fuel local economies by keeping more dollars in the pockets of homeowners to spend on goods and services rather than being sent to out-of-town operators in the form of excessive rent.”

Sheahan’s use of the term “im-mobile homes” is intelligent and insightful.  He thoughtfully explained that the phrase came from a researcher’s paper some years ago. He’s quite right to say that it’s not easy, instead it is costly, to move a manufactured home. Thus, the phrase, “im-mobile home.”

But the cost of a move for “im-mobile” manufactured homes (MH) are hardly the only factor that causes rising site fees in some communities. The proof is simple. In many parts of the country where land-lease site fees are rising rapidly – regardless of the cost – where would you move that “im-mobile home” to? Where are the new land-lease communities being opened in California, or many other states, that would keep the law of supply and demand in balance?

ManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformJOINMHARRbani-200x200

Click here or the above to learn more, which is not connected to this report.

Because it’s a combination of factors, including a lack of new construction of land-lease communities, that results in what Sheahan called “manufactured housing done extremely wrong,” when he, NMHOA or MHAction blast so-called ‘greedy’ property owners who aggressively hike a community’s site fees.

Sheahan’s own comments indirectly suggest as much, because it was during the MH community (MHC) building boom of the 1970s that MHC site fees were kept lower and in check.

So shouldn’t that be part of Sheahan and resident group’s arguments? That more communities need to be built, and more opportunities should be opened up for keeping site fees naturally in check?

The ‘two great laws’ could be one of those places where residents and manufactured home professionals – most notably, the small to mid sized independents – could find common ground.

Two Great Laws Already on the Books NOW,  Can Unlock Billion$ Annually for Manufactured Housing Industry Businesse$, Investor$

 

George Allen, Marty Lavin – Periodic De Facto Allies With Sheahan?

Sheahan is not without de facto defenders, at least in part, among the ranks of manufactured housing professionals who oppose heavy hikes in manufactured home site fees on residents. For example, former community owners George Allen on his blog and Marty Lavin, JD, in recent comments to MHProNews have publicly attacked manufactured home community owners who have aggressively hiked site fees.

Lavin admits in written comments that he once did the same as community owners that raised rents to the point that residents moved out and legislators with rent control on their minds wanted to move in.  Lavin said that he realized through that process the error of that way.

He now cautions community owners from adopting that practice.

As Lavin told the Daily Business News on MHProNews in commenting about recent media reports that proved to be another black eye to the industry, “Sure, like most LLC [land lease community] owners, I railed at rent control. Hated it. Rent control was wrong, an intrusion on my property rights, raising rents was perfectly safe to do, a good business move, and it should be prohibited to have rent control! Over time, as I saw the destructive results of heavy rent and fee increases in LLCs, my thoughts shifted. There was a heavy bludgeon to the face to bring me around.”

That noted, a demonstrable problem that contributes to the concerns Sheahan and Lavin have described are land use policies.

Restrictive land-use, coupled with NIMBY-driven reactions, has demonstrably kept more manufactured home communities from being developed.  Restrictive land-use, and failure to enforce the enhanced preemption that the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 established, have made it more difficult for those facing higher site fees.

With reduced options for tens of thousands of manufactured home owners in land-leases who’ve faced heavier site fee hikes, that can seem like what community owner Frank Rolfe referred to as customers being chained to the booth of a Waffle House restaurant.

But those comments by Rolfe and Lavin need to be taken in their context. Former community owner Allen, by comparison, simply leveled a blast at those who have done such heavy-handed practices, arguably as a way of dodging his relationships to those who generate problematic headlines. See a related report, linked below.

George Allen Blasts MHI, NCC Ignoring Own, Spencer Roane, SECO, COBA7, Tom Lackey Controversies

In roughly the last 2 decades, thousands of more communities have closed as opposed to opening. These are market forces that Sheahan, Weymouth, or others don’t normally address as factors that directly contribute to rising site fees. See those related reports, linked below

Hundreds of New Manufactured Home Communities Opened, But How Many Have Closed? Industry Research Result$

So it is a variety of market-based issues, some having nothing to do with ‘greed,’ that contribute to higher costs for community owners, which in turn are passed on to residents.

  • Mr. Sheahan, and
  • Rob Weymouth, writing columns supported by the DMHOA – affiliates of NMHOA and MHAction – have apparently failed to consider or mention those as serious reasons.
  • Furthermore – and here’s where the avoidable tragedioes occurs – when resident groups unjustly protest, they are arguably contributing to a troubled image that can make the cycle described herein demonstrably worse.
  • MHProNews has argued for years that there is a better way for residents and businesses alike. The goal should be mutual victories – win-win – or the outcome will be win-lose. Who is going to benefit from those win-lose battles?  If you read what Weymouth and Sheahan both say, it is often going to be the few, and they will tend to be the larger consolidators of independently owned communities.
  • The reason is the law of supply and demand.  The supply side must be addressed, or the rising demand will only make the current trends worse.

See that column by Weymouth, and comments from his supporters, at the related report, linked below. As an FYI to those who’ve read that report, this is the promised “Part 2” follow up to it.

MH Communities, Owners, MH Independents Alert – NMHOA and MHAction Next Steps? – Part 1

In a free market, the solution that ought to be encouraged is the construction of more manufactured home communities.  Sheahan’s own comments above demonstrated that it was during that phase of the industry’s history that site fees were kept in check. Of course, because there was competition.

Competition for manufactured home owners kept site fees in check.

But land-use, local NIMBYism – arguably made worse by protests and legal battles – have eroded the climate that made the creation of thousands of manufactured home communities by small to mid sized businesses a norm in years gone by.

How to reverse the vexing trends of recent decades?

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has argued that it can be accomplished in part by making make more home sites available through a robust application by HUD of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 with local public officials.

There are fundamentally two paths.

  • The right combination of well informed and motivated residents combined with ethical businesses working together, which could lead to mutual victories through a savvy use of the free market.
  • Or by contrast, failure to act in win-win ways punishes the thousands of community owners who don’t do what Sheahan, Weymouth, Allen, and Lavin all say is wrong.  Who suffers?  Residents and small-to-mid sized businesses.  Larger businesses have historically proven to benefit vis a viz their smaller brethren in business when heavier regulations, including rent control or other factors, are in play.

 

Putting Facts in Perspective

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) statistics, their “data,” and claims are often wrong, as the Daily Business News on MHProNews has periodically pointed out.  MHI claims are unreliable often enough where they merit this type of disclaimer.

That said, MHI claims that site fees at manufactured home communities nationally average about 3 percent annually, similar to increases at apartments, but much lower than what property tax rates hikes are in markets from coast-to-coast.

CNBC reports that property values have doubled in the last 5 years, per ATTOM, and that some housing markets are seeing year over year (YoY) increases from 38 percent to 75 percent. RentCafe said 2017 increases in apartments were 2.5 percent over the prior year.

As WalletHub pointed out this year, “And though property taxes might appear to be a non-issue for the 37 percent of renter households, that couldn’t be further from the truth. We all pay property taxes, whether directly or indirectly, as they impact the rent we pay as well as the finances of state and local governments.”

WalletHubRealEstatePropertyTaxesByState2018DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The rent-control that Weymouth, DMHOA, NMHOA, MHAction and others promote will arguably only make the problem worse.  It is worth noting that not one official from NMHOA or MHAction would accept the offer of MHProNews publisher L. A. “Tony” Kovach to publicly discuss or debate the issues that led Weymouth to call on more Democrats to be elected.  Yet Weymouth himself admits that the rent control law his state’s legislature passed was “useless.”

In a Canadian province, their rent control law has likewise witnessed a shrinkage in home sites, as manufactured home communities close.  The result?  Similar to places, such as California, where when a community closes, it becomes difficult – as well as costly – to find another manufactured home community to move into.

The pattern described in the article below will arguably continue, so long as directives and roadblocks remain for the construction of new communities.  The other side of rent control is that fewer communities are being built.  However well intended Weymouth and Sheahan may be, good intentions can still have unintended and problematic consequences. The very things that Sheahan, Weymouth and others rails against are conditions created by heavy regulations, such as rent control.

UPDATE: MHC Future in Doubt, the Other Side of Rent Control

 

Avoidable Tragedies for MH Owners and Businesses Alike?

Sheahan and others affiliated with NMHOA or MHAction cite specific community owners as their examples for aggressive hikes in site fees.

MHI award winner Lavin says:

  • the MH lending fiasco in the late 1990s and early 2000s,
  • plus those in the community sector that do aggressive hikes that residents like Sheahan have protested,

have harmed the entire manufactured home industry’s image among regulators, lenders, investors, and the public.

If so, then is there an analogy – a parallel – in the MH industry and community sector to what Daily Business News readers discovered from the Poverty, Inc video report?

IfYouReallyWanttoHelpPovertyThenthepovertyIndustryAsWeKnowitHastoGoPovertyIncQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Well intentioned programs have proven to hurt the very people they are supposed to help. That’s the contention of the highly acclaimed video documentary, “Poverty, Inc.” See clips and Learn more at the link below.

Acclaimed Poverty Inc. Video, MHVille – Why Left & Right Should Listen, Learn From Each Other

Is there a need to rethink the true root causes of the issues that face residents along with the honorable professionals in the industry?  Is there a need for more than good will?  A combination of the heart and the head working together?  That’s what Poverty, Inc. advocates.

It remains to be seen if some of the leadership of resident groups would enter into a serious discussion/debate over what would really work long-term for all involved.

What seems clear at this point is that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) leadership has arguably rejected the possible courses of action that would be good for residents and small-to-mid-sized businesses alike. As Lavin has said, they operate on behalf of the big boys.

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustry'sMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNews

MHProNews looks at the facts, considers the sources, and follows the evidence. MHI earlier last year, and for years before, MHI routinely replied promptly to all inquiries. But since we’ve spotlighted the problems and concerns associated with MHI, they’ve gone silent. Why? If the facts are on their side, why not make offer a cogent explanation?

The industry’s most recent results suggest that by year’s end, something like 100,000 (+/-) new manufactured homes could be built.  But it should and could be more like 1 million (+/-) new homes annually that are needed to close the gap in affordable housing. Consider what the National Association of Realtors™ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun had to say about supply, demand and its impact on price hikes.

LawrenceYunNARShort8.3MillionHousingUnitsRisingRentsHousingPricesCuredOnlyByMoreBuilding

Collage by MHProNews.

Those same principles outlined by Yun need to be generously applied to manufactured housing.

There are many contributing causes that explain the gap between how manufactured housing as an industry is performing, how it worked in the past, and how it could or should be.  The evidence reviewed in numerous reports on MHProNews reveals the gap and its causes.  See the linked related reports, found further below.  But this next Lavin-ism is worth mentioning.

YouGetMoreOfWhatYouEncourageLessofWhatYouDiscourageMartyLavin

The logic of this statement can be applied to a variety of cases.

What is certain is that how homeowner groups – or associations such as MHI, MHARR, NFIB or others – behave publicly in ways that contribute to the cure or the cause of that gap.

MHARR and NFIB are demonstrably acting in ways that are improving the business climate.  By contrast, MHI is continuing to behave much as they have since Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway entered into manufactured housing in 2003, and began the takeover of MHI.  MHI acts in favor of their largest members, is what Lavin and others have said.

Getting headlines may create a thrill for some among resident-activists, but isn’t the bottom line result the more important metric?

The evidence suggests that NMHOA, MHAction – however well intended their members may be – are being led down a problematic path that has never produced the outcome they desired.

As the midterms approach, there are broadly speaking, two choices for resident and other groups.

  • Which political party is advocating for failed approaches, such as rent control?
  • Which party has done better in recent years for elevating the incomes and opportunities for workers?
  • Which party in recent years has done more for creating the kind of investor/capital environment that has lead to more business and job growth?
  • Which party is working toward more housing options, including more manufactured homes and communities?

Before you cast your ballots, get informed. Because the right vote can accelerate the real progress being made for manufactured housing during the still young Trump Administration. The wrong vote can slow or even reverse that progress.

Former President Barack Obama had eight years in the Oval Office. His first two of those eight years his party had control of the House, and Senate.  We should ask Mr. Weymouth and Mr. Sheahan:

  • Exactly what did Democrats do on a practical level that lifted up residents of manufactured housing?
  • Didn’t the rate of home ownership decline during the last Democratic Administration?
  • Didn’t the super-rich billionaire class – people like Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos Bill Gates, and other supporters of Mr. Obama – grow richer?
  • Meanwhile, didn’t the working and middle class tread water or lose ground?
  • Didn’t small business suffer during the Obama years, while the giants and their lobbyists thrived?

YouAreEntitledtoYourOwnOpinions.ButYouAreNotEntitledToYourOwnFactsDanielPatrickMoynihanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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“Thou Shall Not Steal,” $2 Trillion Annually Lost to Lack of Affordable Homes, Making the Manufactured Home Case

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“Shadows of Liberty” Movie Introduction, Affordable Housing, and You

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