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Bryan Resident Blast Officials “Travesty by Government” – Manufactured Home Ban, Limitations, Update

May 8th, 2019 Comments off

 

The Daily Business News on MHProNews has provided more coverage on the issue of Bryan, TX than any known trade media serving manufactured housing. As reports linked further below indicate, we’ve exclusively obtained and published locale letters to city officials, almost all of which opposed the ban that the majority of city leaders backed, contrary to the wishes of hundreds of the residents who live in the impacted zone.

 

 

There is nothing quite like the view of those on the ground.  With that in mind, on May 7th, the Eagle in Bryan, TX ran the following letter to the editor, submitted by Dan Kiniry.  It is shared below under fair use guidelines.

 

Bryan zoning change has been a travesty by government

The attempt to rid Bryan of the MU1 Zoning has been a travesty.

At the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, a large crowd showed up. Speakers from the crowd all were opposed to the zoning change, but after threatening to cancel the meeting if we misbehaved, calling us misinformed, and telling us that poor people just simply should buy more expensive homes instead of trailers. The P&Z Commission unanimously recommended the change.

At the city council meeting, a crowd came, mostly against the change, but most of councilmen still voted for the change, but there were two votes against. We again were told, fact-free, that the media was misleading us — although KBTX reported that the mobile or manufactured homes would be grandfathered in, and The Eagle reported that owners could replace them once. Some councilmen claimed that eliminating this more affordable housing would help end generational poverty — ignoring the many residents who described manufactured homes as all they can afford.

Residents of MU1 are well-informed, and we didn’t lie to them. A small minority of powerful wealthier people eliminating a form of affordable housing and raising the cost of living in poorer neighborhoods is hateful.

Mayor, P&Z Commission, councilmen: Humble yourselves and repent.

DAN KINIRY
Bryan

###

 

That’s one of several hundred who protested, signed petitions, and otherwise resisted the City of Bryan’s efforts to have this ordinance change shoved down their throat.

 

Perhaps the key issue here is that this arguably violates federal law.  The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) claims all sorts of clout.

GotClout-questionmark-GetItHere-MHI-ManufacturedHousingInstitute-postedMHProNews-com-

MHI’s fundraising and networking events, such as this week’s ‘Congress and Expo’ provided opportunities for big companies to interact with smaller companies, several of which later sell out to those larger MHI member brands.  Is that clout? 

 

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Since this spoof of MHI photo head fakes was posted, Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison has in fact announced his retirement.

 

They share photos with federal officials, including HUD Secretary Ben Carson, HUD’s Assistant Secretary Brian Montgomery, and Acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney. So what have they done to get the Trump Administration to enforce the law?

 

BCFPDirectorMickMulvaneyTalkingToManufacturedHousingInstituteAllAboutPoliticsMHProNews

Beyond the residents harmed, several MHI member companies are impacted by this move, as well as independents.  One of those MHI member retailers told MHProNews that they’d sold some 60 homes into that zone in recent years.  That’s real economic harm and spread that out over other retailers and the significance grows.  Consider the harm if this trend continues to spread, and one of the causes for the current 7-month downturn in new manufactured home shipments becomes more clear.

MHProNews has asked MHI staff and their elected leaders for their comments on why they have reportedly not intervened in this high-profile case?  Crickets. Silence.

Words are cheap.  Actions speak louder than words. Watch for updates on this issue.  See the related reports, further below.

That’s this Wednesday night edition from the #1 most-read “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © 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

“Economic Racism.” Angry Residents, Students, Civic Leaders Fight Plan to Ban Affordable Manufactured Homes, Industry Professionals Sound Off

Declining Manufactured Home Shipments More Serious Than Retailers, Communities Being Told

 

Gannett Media Exposés, MH Community Owner Moves Sparks Outrage – IEDs of Manufactured Housing

Manufactured Housing – White Hats, Black Hats, Investing, Consumers, MH Independents

Warren Buffett’s Profitable Lessons for Manufactured Housing

 

MHARR Calls on HUD Secretary to End Discriminatory And Exclusionary Zoning of HUD-Regulated Manufactured Homes

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

 

 

 

Eyes on Small Business Optimism Index In December, Update

January 16th, 2019 Comments off

 

EyesOnUSSmallBusinessOptimsmIndexDecember2018UPdateDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has released their Small Business Optimism index for December, 2018.

 

In a release to the Daily Business News on MHProNews, NFIB said, “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index remained basically unchanged in December, drifting down 0.4 points to 104.4…Unfilled jobs and the lack of qualified applicants continue to be a primary driver, with job openings setting a record high and job creation plans strengthening. Reports of higher worker compensation remained near record levels and inventory investment plans surged. Expected real sales growth and expected business conditions in the next six months, however, accounted for the modest decline in the Index.”

Optimism among small business owners continues to push record highs, but they need workers to generate more sales, provide services, and complete projects,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “Two of every three of these new jobs are historically created by the small business half of the economy, so it will be Main Street that will continue to drive economic growth.”

Given the volatility in the equities markets last month, this report is encouraging news.

NFIBSmallBusinessOptimismIndexDec2018DailyBusinessNEwsMHProNews

 

A recent historical perspective:

  • Actual hiring strengthened to the highest reading in six months, job openings are at a record high levels, and plans to create new jobs are down only three points from August’s record high.
  • The net percent of owners expecting better business conditions in six months and the percent viewing the current period as a good time to expand have both tapered off since the record high Index reading in August but still remain well above their historical averages.
  • Actual capital outlays are five percentage points higher than in August, although plans for outlays are eight points below the high for this expansion.
  • Plans to invest in inventories are only two points below August, the record high. Satisfaction with inventories is two points better.

 

NFIBSmallBusinessOptimismIndexDec2018ElementsDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNews

An early January NFIB Jobs Report noted that job creation remained solid with a net addition of 0.25 workers per firm.  That’s up from 0.19 in November and the best reading since July. A seasonally-adjusted net 23 percent plan to create new jobs, up one point from November’s reading.  Not seasonally adjusted, 23 percent plan to increase total employment at their firm (up one point), and five percent plan reductions (down two points).

 

A record 39 percent of small business owners reported job openings they could not fill in that current period. About sixty percent of owners reported hiring or trying to hire, but 90 percent of those reported few or no qualified applicants for the position.

That’s a concern often heard in manufactured housing, too.

Twenty-three percent of owners cited the difficulty in finding qualified workers as their “Single Most Important Business Problem.”

Recently, we’ve seen two themes promoted in the public discourse: first, the economy is going to overheat and cause inflation and second, the economy is slowing and the Federal Reserve should not raise interest rates,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “However, the NFIB surveys of the small business half of the economy have shown no signs of an inflation threat, and in real terms Main Street remains very strong, setting record levels of hiring along the way.”

The percentage of business owners reporting increased employee compensation continued at 45-year record high levels. In December 2018, a net 35 percent reported increasing compensation and a net 24 percent reported planned increases in the next few months.

Hundreds of manufactured housing industry companies are represented by the NFIB, per sources at that giant small business trade group.  But the representation is more general business, not industry specific.  Thus, their support for tax cuts, healthcare, and other reforms that appeal to a wide swath of different industries. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Food, Folks, Fantasy, Fun, and Flubs – Disney’s “Trailer” Slur Update

January 2nd, 2019 Comments off
FoodFolksFantasyFunFLubsDisneyTrailerSlurUpdateDailyBuisnessNewsManufacturedMOdularHousingIndustryMHProNews

Photos, text collage, by MHProNews.

Disney’s theme parks in the U.S are globally recognized attractions known for fun, fantasy, food, shopping and more.  They are also known for being family friendly, ‘inclusive’ places. 

 

But is Disney showing the tens of millions of residents who call a mobile, manufactured, or modular home dwelling respect and ‘inclusiveness’ when they inappropriately label such units as ‘trailers?’ Or what message does that misused term send to the tens of thousands of professionals who own businesses or work in our industry?  Or to those Disney team members who use that facility? 

On New Year’s Day, two-badge bearing, apparent Disney team members walking from one of the two modular offices spoke with MHProNews publisher L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach about the ongoing problem with the inappropriate use of the “Trailer” posted on signage on those structures at Disney Springs, in Orlando. 

As part of a longer and more detailed statement, Al Kemp, a Canadian manufactured home communities owners trade group executive director, said last week that trailers are used to haul beer and cattle. Trailers are not a proper name for these kinds of code-compliant structures

Kemp was one of several industry leaders who spoke out publicly as well as directly with Disney guest and media relations.

ROC USA President Paul Bradley concurred that the terminology was both inappropriate and offensive to many of the estimated 22 million pre-HUD Code mobile and post June 15, 1976 HUD Code manufactured home owners. Recall that Bradley’s operation has well over 10,000 community home sites, so far more than that number of residents, plus their staff.  

Bradley was preceded in addressing the matter with Disney by Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). Weiss simply said: 

Disney Springs Media and Guest Relations:

Tony Kovach at MHProNews, as noted below, is correct, Disney’s use of the term “trailer” in this matter is problematic and offensive to many.  Please consider the corrective steps he suggested.

Thank you.

Mark Weiss 

Note for our growing audience of new professional readers, affordable housing advocates, and investors, MHProNews uses brown bold text for direct quotes.

On a similarly problematic terminology topic, Frank Rolfe of RV Horizons previously said the following.

 

WhenTrailerTrashIsntWhatYouThinkcreditMHProNews-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsFrankRolfe

See the entire article and other industry reactions, at this link here.

 

Talking to Disney Team Members 

Tony Kovach said to Disney’s team members ‘Denny’ and David A. Greenbaum that it had been a week since Disney officials had been contacted, and the errant and offensive-in-this-context terminology was still there on their two modular units. 

DisneyBusinessCardDavidAGreenbaumDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsDenny and David went back inside one of the modular offices. Greenbaum re-emerge, providing a direct phone number to Disney’s media relations that was hand written on a sticky note. Greenbauam also provided his business card, with the Disney Mickey Mouse image on it.  

While stressing he could not speak for Disney, Greenbaum, said that he would speak to Disney media relations and management. He gave his assurances that Disney would respond. 

Publisher L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach told Greenbaum that if someone had put up a racial or other slur on the side of a Disney building, Disney would have it removed in under 24 hours. So why was a misused term – deemed in this context to be a slur by many manufactured home owners and professionals – still up week after it had been brought to the Disney theme park’s attention? 

After that brief explanation, and with Kovach showing Greenbaum that the provider of the structure itself had the word “modular” on it, Greenbaum said that while he could not speak for Disney, he understood the concerns over the terminology. 

Besides providing his own Disney business card, Greenbaum assured MHProNews that he would personally contact Disney media relations to brief them, and again assured Tony Kovach that Disney would respond. 

 MobileModularOfficeUnitsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Food, Folks, Fantasy, and Fun for Millions… 

The Daily Business News on MHProNews noted with Greenbaum that much like millions of others, our family’s personal time at Disney was routinely enjoyable.

DisneyMaryPoppinsSoheylaKovachTamasKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Perhaps like many of the thousands of daily professional readers here on MHProNews, the Kovach family enjoys their theme park. That noted, once Disney was advised of the matter, it should have been promptly resolved.

So the issue in question is narrowly focused, as outlined above and from linked prior related reports below the byline and notices. Those linked reports have photos and more details, including the full ROCUSA, and Canadian trade association leader Kemp’s statements, and other salient points that frame the issue.

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The terminology matters because
the terminology determines the
construction standards a home was
built to,” Steve Duke, LMHA.

An update will be provided to industry professionals as warranted. 

UPDATE 12:15 PM ET:

L Hartsfield, from Disney’s public relations called and also emailed late this morning.  The email said in part,

Dear Tony,
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me this morning
.

It means a great deal to us that you care so much for our Resort that you wanted to share your feedback. As we discussed, your thoughts have been forwarded to our appropriate internal partners. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, I am unable to provide any sort of timeline in regards to your specific comments…”

We have contacted the other industry leaders who have sounded off on this matter, for their feedback. We’ll continue to update industry members as it seems appropriate.

We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News , analysis, and commentary.)

 

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

 

Related Reports:

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MHARR, ROC USA, Canadian Association Weigh-In On Disney “Trailers” Controversy

 

Disney Utilizes Inaccurate, Prejudicial Terminology “Trailer” Offensive to Factory-Builders, Homeowners

“Insulting” – Local News Report on “Mobile Home” Fire Underscores Why Terminology Matters

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: Appeals Court Ruling in MHC Case

May 12th, 2017 Comments off

In a follow up to a story the Daily Business News originally covered in December, a Minnesota State Appeals Court ruled in favor of the new owners of the Lowry Grove Mobile Home Park in St. Anthony, in an ongoing dispute over the site’s future.

The story began back in September, when a group of Lowry Grove residents sued to block the sale of the property, testing a state law that said residents had 45 days to match an offer made on the property.

Homeowners partnered with Aeon Management, a Minneapolis based non-profit management company, to make a matching $6 million offer on June 10, the day of the deadline.

The offer was rejected; the residents sued, and Judge Joseph R. Klein ruled against the residents, writing in part that the statute “…does not grant them an unfettered ability to purchase the park [sic]. They were not deprived on that right because it was never, in fact, granted to them.

According to MPR News, while the appeals court rejected the claim, it did say said the community residents may be entitled to more money beyond the cost of their homes.

Residents did receive news in December that the deadline for closing the community has been pushed from March 15 to June 30, 2017, to allow children in the community to finish out the school year.

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The ruling is a win that provides finality for all parties,” said Traci Tomas, Vice President of The Village, LLC, the new owners of the community.

Interestingly, Alan Arthur, CEO of Aeon, also sees good in the ruling.

The court said residents may be entitled to more compensation,” said Arthur.

Alan Arthur. Credit: MPR News.

Residents will use the compensation process to keep pushing for a purchase and a Minnesota Supreme Court appeal is a possibility. We have options that we will be weighing with the residents and with our attorneys.”

The original story on the Lowry Grove community is linked here.

For more on residents working to purchase their communities, including the Dover Point Cooperative in New Hampshire coming together to buy the Polly Ann Park community, click here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

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

April 26th, 2017 Comments off
UPDATEMHCFutureinDoubttheOtherSideofRentControlcreditWesternInvestment-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Resident Lothar Netzel having a garage sale. Credit: Western Investor.

In an update to the story that the Daily Business News originally covered here, residents at the Thetis Lake Campground community in View Royal, British Columbia, Canada, are facing an imminent threat.

According to Western Investor, assessments on the community are threatening the viability of the most affordable housing option in the province, and options are limited.

 

Manufactured homes on rented pads cost about one-tenth of what an average detached house in B.C. costs, and provide thousands of seniors and others with the lowest-cost homes in the province,” said Al Kemp, executive director of the Manufactured Home Park Owners Alliance of BC.

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Al Kemp. Credit: LinkedIn

And the security of low cost is in doubt because park owners are under annual rental restrictions while assessed values, and subsequent property taxes, are increasing dramatically.”

Kemp says that owners are being squeezed, as assessment values on manufactured home communities have skyrocketed over the past year, but community owners can only increase site rents by 3.7 percent this year under the Residential Tenancy Act.

BC Assessment doesn’t have a clue how to value manufactured home parks [sic], which are a hybrid of commercial and residential real estate,” said Kemp.

The land-value sale of one park [sic], for example, will raise the assessed value of neighboring parks [sic] that may not have the same development potential.”

A community owner in Vancouver reached out to Kemp for help after receiving their 2016 assessment.

We will be out of business soon as our low rent-controlled increases never allow us to catch up,” said the owner.

MHCResidentsFaceUncertainFuturecreditMobileHomesVictoria-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnewsMHCResidentsFaceUncertainFuturecreditMobileHomesVictoria-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

A home at Thetis Lake Campground. Credit: Mobile Homes Victoria.

This has community owners beginning to scramble to sell, which means residents are scrambling to find a new place to live. And that’s the case with Thetis Lake – the community’s assessment jumped more than $400,000 in the past year, to $2.98 million.

The owner is now in the process of selling to a developer who wants to build 45 single-family homes and 14 townhouses on the property. And residents are facing eviction next fall.

We don’t want to leave. It’s basically cheap living, close to a park and we’re comfortable here,” said resident Lothar Netzel.

With the average price of a detached house in View Royal at $645,000, a townhouse at $502,000, and a vacancy rate less than one percent, affordable housing for community residents is far from certain.

The sale of the community is hinging on the development being approved for rezoning by the Town of View Royal. If it goes through, the owner of the community has offered each homeowner $10,000 as compensation.

And that has not set well with residents.

What can we do with $10,000?” asked Netzel. “Look at the steep house prices and a tight rental market throughout the capital region.”

The impact of rent control has been felt in other parts of Canada as well, including the case in the video above with a community in Manitoba.

David Screech, Mayor of View Royal says that while he sympathizes with the owners, View Royal does not have any manufactured home bylaws.

In my opinion, they have been given a generous offer, more than what’s required by law,” said Screech.

 

Is Rent Control Necessary? MH Industry Experts Speak 

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Sam Landy, UMH President and CEO.

UMH would not buy a rent controlled community and believes all community owners should work with residents to avoid rent control,” said Sam Landy, President and CEO of UMH Properties, Inc.

The fact is if we raise our rents too high we will have no sales and no occupancy. No reasonable landlord would do such a thing. Our rents have to make economic sense or we have no business. Therefore, in the long term, there is never a need for rent control.” 

Sam Landy’s full commentary on rent control is linked here.

RentControlManufacturedHomeCommunitiesPaulBradleyROCUSA_postedIndustryVoices-ManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews--e1474054729300

Graphic credit, MHProNews, statement by Paul Bradley,
ROC USA, in a longer post, found at this link here.

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C. William “Bill” Dahlin.

The entire objective of rent control is to distort the market and have a government agency decide what rent is appropriate,” said C. William Dahlin, JD of Hart | King Law.

Such governmental controls never lead to more housing or better housing.” 

 

For more opinions on the impacts of rent control in the U.S., click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews

UPDATE: New Manufactured Home Community Laws Take Effect

April 13th, 2017 Comments off
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The ordinance is discussed. Credit: Daily Iberian.

In Iberia Parish, Louisiana, an area the Daily Business News has covered prior, new laws are going into effect for manufactured home communities related to trash collection.

And some residents and owners are not pleased.

According to KATC, the Iberia Parish city council approved ordinances last month, making manufactured home communities commercial property, and requiring owners to hire their own trash collection services.

While Parish President Larry Richard signed the two ordinances into law after the council approved them, he’s now asking the council to revise and clarify some of the language.

We are not trying to get rid of mobile homes [sic] in Iberia Parish. We welcome mobile homes [sic]. We recognize we have a problem with it,” said Richard.

I hope these new laws will fix those problems,” said Council Chair Natalie Broussard.

The first of the laws now classifies communities with three or more manufactured homes commercial property.

The second one requires owners of both new and existing communities to provide their own trash services beginning October 1st.

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Credit: Google.

For Broussard, she wondered exactly what all of this means.

Are these really commercial enterprises? Should they be treated like the other commercial enterprise and the developers or owners of these parks [sic] pay for their own trash disposal just like every other commercial enterprise in Iberia Parish?” asked Broussard.

She’s not alone.

If you have three or more trailers [sic], you’re now a trailer park [sic]. So, if I owned a trailer [sic] and I had two kids that wanted to live on the same property, we would be required as a trailer park [sic] to assume our own trash pickup,” said Councilman Warren Gachassin at a community meeting last month.

That’s one of our big failures in this ordinance is that we did not set up a way that anybody can apply for a variance,” said Broussard.

We need to offer some variance of making it commercial when it is truly family members living on the same piece of property and nobody is paying rent.”

Broussard also said that this is one of the areas that the council should review, in addition to the list of language that Richard has asked the council to clarify.

We can always amend an ordinance, so it’s very simple. Let’s let it go into effect now that he signed it,” said Broussard.

Let’s see how it works, and then we can start tweaking it. Nobody is opposed to making some necessary changes.”

(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.

UPDATE: OMHA Fires Back in Manufactured Housing Commission Battle

April 4th, 2017 Comments off
UPDATEOMHAFiresBackinMHCommissionBattlecreditOfficialPhotosOMHAOMHCEPADigitalImagingReporter-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credits: Official Photos, OMHA, OMHC, Digital Imaging Reports, Ohio EPA.

In a story that the Daily Business News originally covered here, the battle between the office of Ohio Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Manufactured Housing Commission (OMHC) has heated up yet again.

And, the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association (OMHA) is firing back.

According to the Dayton Daily News, Governor Kasich is calling for the OMHC to be disbanded, and its responsibilities delegated to the Ohio Department of Commerce. The call is part of the governor’s budget proposal pending before the Ohio General Assembly.

At the core of the campaign against the Commission are the claims from Ohio fire and environmental officials who say the board doesn’t do enough to prevent manufactured home fires and ensure clean drinking water in the MH communities.

But industry professionals, including OMHA Executive Director Tim Williams, are backed with facts, and say that there’s more to the story.

The administration is spreading false information and misleading information because the commission is pushing back against Kasich’s proposal,” said Williams.

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Tim Williams, OMHA Executive Director.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, we have pointed out the facts versus myths surrounding manufactured homes and fires, noting that homes built under post-1976 federal regulations have the same rates in this area as traditional homes, and Williams pointed to similar data.

Local or state fire officials have no authority to inspect or educate or require different fire codes for manufactured homes,” said Williams.

Association of Manufactured Home Residents in Ohio President Frank Pojman says that in many cases, manufactured homes are actually safer.

When these houses are built, they are inspected at the factory,” said Pojman.

When they leave the factory, it has a tag that says it meets federal safety standards. You don’t get that in a stick built home.”

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Credit: Stoveguard, MHLivingNews.

For one industry professional, who is also involved with the commission, the need for it is obvious.

I believe wholeheartedly, whether I sit on the commission or not, it’s one of the best things that’s happened to the manufactured home community in Ohio,” said Evan Atkinson, general manager of Clayton Homes in Frazeyburg and a commissioner on the board.

Since the commission was created, the number of complaints about mobile home installation has plummeted from hundreds to a number you can count on one hand. What’s proposed now is to fragment it and stick it back out into deep bureaucracy.”

Atkinson says that the commission currently requires inspection of every single home installed in Ohio, and points out that it’s a commitment the Department of Commerce has not made.

I believe there’s a probably a good likeliness that homes may not be installed as well as they are currently being installed,” said Atkinson. He also noted that after establishing new rules for licensing and inspections, the commission has heard one complaint in the last three years, as opposed to the more than 500 complaints every year from consumers about mobile home installation before the commission was created in response to federal rules in 2003.

I think the Manufactured Homes Commission has proven they do the right thing by consumers in Ohio, and that’s very much proven by the number of dispute resolution cases there used to be and the number of dispute resolution cases today,” said Atkinson.

 

From Fire to Water

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Credit: OMHA.

In addition to the onslaught from Ohio fire officials, the Ohio EPA told the Dayton Daily News that its efforts to “force Ohio mobile home parks [sic] to provide their residents safe drinking water have been slowed by inaction on the part of the commission.”

In a statement, the Ohio EPA says that it shares oversight with OMHC over the state’s 250 manufactured home communities that operate their own water systems.

This includes Pineview Estates in Miamisburg, where about 400 residents routinely lost running water; and Catalpa Grove Mobile Home Park in Dayton, where the owner failed to test the system for contaminants such as lead, copper and bacteria,” the EPA said in the statement.

In both cases, the Manufactured Homes Commission denied any appreciable assistance to the Ohio EPA in taking action on the park’s [sic] license, instead forcing the EPA to pursue the issue through lengthy court battles. The manufactured homes commission rarely – if ever – bothers to use its full regulatory authority to enforce safe water rules.”

According to OMHC director Janet Williams dealing with the EPA caused more confusion than progress.

We have never had clear authority to take action against a mobile home park [sic] owner’s license for water quality issues since we began licensing mobile home parks [sic] in December 2012,” said Williams.

We want to work with them in the process of whatever legal avenue we have to help them enforce the water rules they have in manufactured home parks [sic].”

Strong words from the Ohio EPA came as a surprise to Tim Williams.

The EPA showed little interest in increasing oversight of manufactured home communities in the past.”

Jim Demitrus, who was on the commission board from 2006 through 2015, pointed out that pulling a manufactured home community’s license over water issues would lead to serious and potentially severe consequences for residents.

If they pull the license, everybody in that community has to move out,” said Demitrus.

I would like to see somebody in state government do that. Pull the license, and you have to move 100 families.”

The Daily Business News will continue to follow this story closely and provide updates. ##

 

(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.

MHARR: Update on Key Manufactured Housing Administrator

April 4th, 2017 Comments off
InsideInformationTheRaceforthePowerPositionatHUDDeputySecretarycredithousingwirehud-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credits: HousingWire and HUD.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) tells MHProNews that Henry Czauski, former administrator of the federal manufactured housing program at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has retired from the organization, effective April 1st.

During my 37-year career at HUD, including 31 years in the Office of General Counsel as a Staff Attorney, Senior Attorney, Chief Counsel, Regional Counsel, Departmental Enforcement Center (DEC) Director, and six years as a Senior Advisor in the HUD Office of Housing, I had the good fortune to do interesting work … with some great people,” said Czauski.

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Henry Cazuski. Credit: MHProNews.

During Czauski’s time at the HUD manufactured housing program, he was instrumental in staying focused on the rule of law, especially around the intent of the critical reforms mandated by Congress in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.

M.Mark.WeissJDPresidentCEOMHARRManufacturedHousingAssociationforRegulatorReform-creditManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsHenry Czauski’s leadership of the HUD manufactured housing program represented an oasis of reasonableness, fairness and equilibrium within a program that has too often been characterized by turmoil and disregard for plainly applicable legal requirements,” said MHARR President and CEO Mark Weiss.

His consistent respect for the law and for program stakeholders and their representatives – even when sometimes disagreeing on matters of policy – was a welcome departure from the norm both before and since. He has been – and will be – sorely missed, and on behalf of MHARR, we wish him the best in all his future endeavors.

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Danny Ghorbani, photo credit, the Journal.

Having represented the industry since the inception of the HUD manufactured housing program and having had the opportunity to work with program leaders over the course of five decades, Henry Czauski brought an integrity to the HUD manufactured housing program that was highly valued and should stand as an example to all who serve in that position. I wish him all the best for the future,” said MHARR Senior Advisor and former CEO Danny Ghorbani.

The full release from MHARR is linked 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.

Update: Manufactured Home Community Eviction

March 28th, 2017 Comments off
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A home at East End Mobile Home Park. Credit: Inside Nova.

In an update to a story the Daily Business News has covered over the last few months, residents at the East End Mobile Home Park in Manassas, Virginia, have been given a reprieve from eviction, which was due to take place at the end of the month.

According to Inside Nova, families in the community will now get to stay in their homes until at least mid-June, giving a nonprofit who has an interest in buying the property more time to structure a deal with its owner.

The city is currently set to purchase East End for $1.86 million from a trust controlled by Helen Loretta Clarke, who residents claim has neglected the community’s sewage system to the point that unless residents took action themselves, sewage came up into their yards.

After the residents received a reprieve in early February to hold off the evictions, Jon Francis, the attorney representing the residents, was scheduled to square off with Clarke’s attorneys in court on March 24 in a hearing to determine if Clarke is responsible for the property’s condition.

Both sides asked for a delay of that proceeding, and retired District Court Judge Peter Steketee granted that request.

We’ve managed to hammer out the framework of a settlement agreement with the owner’s attorneys,said Francis.

On June 16th, we’ll reconvene for a status hearing on the case.”

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East End Residents attend a Manassas city meeting. Credit: Potomac Local.

What Francis and many residents are hoping for is a lifeline in the timeframe from Catholics for Housing, a Dumfries nonprofit.

The organization is working to reach a formal agreement to buy the property with Clarke and her trustee, Timothy Cope.

The nonprofit submitted a bid on the community earlier this month, and if it can hammer out a deal with Cope, they can ask the Manassas City Council to take a vote on backing away from the sale.

City officials have stressed that anyone interested in buying East End will need to have the funds to repair the park sewer system. That process alone could cost up to $1.5 million.

Catholics for Housing could get financial assistance on that front through the legal process,” said Francis.

While nothing is final yet, part of the settlement with the property owner’s attorneys could include an agreement to send some of the money held in escrow to Catholics for Housing to assist with repairs to the park [sic].”

It would be up to the judge, but it also depends on whether they want that money or not,” said Francis.

Catholics for Housing has not commented on their interest level in the community so far, outside of a letter to the city council earlier this month reiterating that it’s still investigating the situation.

The Daily Business News will continue to follow this story and provide updates. ##

 

(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.

Update: Manufacturers Must Turn Over Documents in FEMA Case

March 23rd, 2017 Comments off
UpdateManufacturersMustTurnOverDocumentsinFEMACasecreditTheAdvocate-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

FEMA Units in Leo’s Manufactured Home Community, where Everett Wilson died. Credit: The Advocate.

In a follow up to a story the Daily Business News originally covered last month, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (HOGR), led by chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), has ordered two home manufacturers to turn over documents related to the Louisiana floods, as it investigates the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) response to the disaster.

According to The Advocate, Chaffetz said that the two companies — Lexington Homes Inc. and Scotbilt Homes, Inc. — provided many of the FEMA units after the floods, and had especially high rates of maintenance complaints.

A key component in the investigation is the death of 84-year-old Baton Rouge resident Everett Wilson, who died in his temporary FEMA home on October 25th from overheating.

When authorities inspected the (unit), they discovered temperatures over 137.5 degrees Fahrenheit with the air conditioning and heating control unit reading 50 degrees Fahrenheit,” wrote Chaffetz in his February letter.

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Official Photo.

In addition to the death of Wilson, the letter also points out other issues, including FEMA sending a housing unit to a dead person’s address, delivery of a housing unit to the wrong address, and temporary housing units that were unused and cost as much as $340,000.

The cap for assistance under federal law is $33,000.

FEMA failed to fix many of the problems discussed at a September, 2016, HOGR hearing, such as the agency’s poor communication and failure to properly distribute assistance funds to survivors,” wrote Chaffetz.

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Garret Graves. Credit: Google.

Congressman Garret Graves has also been an outspoken critic of the FEMA responses to the floods, citing slow and sloppy deployment of FEMA units.

It’s amazing the number of calls we still get every day — seven months after the flood — from people still in need of a trailer [sic] or looking for answers about why it’s taking so long for theirs to get delivered or wired,” said Graves.

Many of these people have homes that have literally been condemned, but FEMA won’t or ‘can’t’ authorize a trailer [sic] it’s ridiculous. The soup to nuts cost of the (manufactured housing unit) operation is exorbitant, and taxpayers aren’t getting their money’s worth.

Dale Gilliland, General Manager of ScotBilt, defended the company in its actions.

Ours were not connected to Wilson’s death, and we had not heard about any complaints until we received Rep. Chaffetz’s letter Tuesday,” said Gilliland.

We contacted FEMA and we were told the agency hasn’t yet fully investigated the complaints or possible defects with mobile homes [sic].”

In an interesting twist, Gilliland said that FEMA told him “the thought that ScotBilt’s quality is sub-par compared to other vendors is (an) unfair and possibly inaccurate assumption at this point.

FEMA would neither confirm nor deny this quote.

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A family looks at the remains of their home after the Louisiana floods. Credit: NOLA.

FEMA is complying with the oversight committee’s document requests,” said FEMA Deputy Director Eileen Lainez.

When asked if FEMA has made any changes to its programs in light of the floods, Lainez provided this response:

FEMA is always evaluating the effectiveness of our programs and taking steps to continuously improve coordination, to ensure that survivors affected by disasters are returned to homes that are safe, secure, and functional, as soon as possible,” said Lainez.

For Graves, disappointment in FEMA is still front and center.

These inefficiencies are more than frustrating — they’re wrong. They add insult to injury and re-victimize honest people whose lives have already been flipped upside down,” said Graves.

For more on FEMA, including former director Craig Fugate’s comments on what the next FEMA leader will need, 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.