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About-Face! City Council Mh Prohibition Reverses Course

October 16th, 2015 No comments

Boy, it is nice when I get to share good news.  Wins for the industry and sharing good news are probably the two best parts of my job, and fortunately for me, those two things almost always go together.

Last night in Huntsville, Texas, the city council reversed course on what started out looking like another bad news day.  A couple of weeks ago the city council met and voted on first reading (they need two readings to make ordinance changes official) to prohibit all manufactured homes from being sited on a lot within the city limits.  Initially they had a small exception for homes going inside communities and for replacement of existing manufactured homes, which incidentally is state law that TMHA worked to get passed years ago.  But other than those two limited exceptions, no more manufactured homes.

The first reading vote was 5 – 2 in favor of the MH prohibition.

A local reporter covering the council wrote a story about the proposed prohibition, and Jenny Hodge with MHI emailed me alerting me about what the council was proposing.  We then pulled titling records and retailer selling records and started contacting retailers with a selling presence in Huntsville.  Thanks to Rob here at TMHA, we were also able to gather some telling data about manufactured housing in Huntsville.  Specifically, we learned that from 2011 to 2014 a total of 843 manufactured homes were sold with the city of Huntsville listed in their address.  MH presence aside the demographics were incredibly telling of a city in real need of more affordable housing, not less.  The median income of a household in Huntsville is $27,362 per year.  Of the existing housing in the city 16.6 percent is more than 45 years old.  Housing supply, specifically affordable housing supply, is clearly constrained because nearly two-thirds of Huntsville residents are renters and in this large renter category 61.8 percent spend more than 35 percent of their monthly income on their rent.  To consider further limitations on sources of affordable housing seems illogical.

But as we all know this isn’t a logic puzzle, it’s politics.  Because this was one of the more rare instances where we actually found out about a proposal before it was final we were able to inform our retailers who would be adversely impacted by the proposed prohibition.  From there those retailers and other citizens who turned up last night at the council meeting to testify against the proposed ordinance took over – and did all the heavy political lifting I might add.

We cannot thank Gary Adamek with Reliable Homes and Les Stone with Clayton Homes enough for the work they did, the time they spent, and the persuasive testimony they provided last night.  These retailers and the results they secured in a near complete reversal by the council (they voted unanimously to continue to allow MH within city limits) once again demonstrates the power of engaged, passionate, local advocacy.

Again, when it comes to local (city and county) politics it is imperative that local constituents and businesses are there to advocate for their industry.  When this happens in a timely manner the industry’s chances of securing a victory increase many fold.

I hope that Gary and Les’ success last night serves as an example to all those in our industry about the power of local political engagement.

Everyone has heard the term, “it takes a village,” and that applies to political advocacy.  The power of timely information coupled with individuals willing to engage locally on behalf of their interests, the interests of the industry, and the interests for consumers who want affordable housing options, can prevail when properly deployed.  I’m happy to report such a deployment occurred last night. ##

http://www.texasmha.com/news/featured/about-face-city-council-mh-prohibition-reverses-course

2 Great Interviews on Manufactured Home Community Operations and Investments

September 3rd, 2015 1 comment

Tony,

Great articles.  I enjoyed them both.  Both Frank Rolfe and Chris Parrish are good friends and good operators.  I’d invest in either. 

As for Frank, he takes heat for stating facts and truth publicly when others don’t.  He’s the Donald Trump of our industry.   There’s nothing mean or villainous about stating the truth.  In fact, most appreciate it when you do. 

And as for Chris, he’s an example of what can be done with perseverance and the ability to adapt.  When you see Parrish Manor, you might wonder who’s the lucky guy who owns that great park. After reading the article, you know luck had little to do with it.

kurt-kelley-posted-in-mhpronews

 

KURT D. KELLEY, J.D.

 

President

Mobile Insurance

25775 Oak Ridge Drive, Suite 110

The Woodland, TX 77380

281-367-9266-ext. 17,  fax 281-292-7429

www.mobileagency.com

(Editor’s Note:  The articles Kurt is referring to are linked below:

http://www.mhpronews.com/home/featured-articles/september-2015/138-general-manufactured-housing-industry-topics/10155-a-cup-of-coffee-withchris-parrish

http://www.mhpronews.com/home/featured-articles/september-2015/138-general-manufactured-housing-industry-topics/10162-controversial-media-reports-the-guardian-a-kvue-on-the-record-interview-with-frank-rolfe-of-mobile-home-university-mobilehomeparkstore-rv-horizons

Kurt Kelley is also the president of AIA, which is celebrating their 15th Anniversary serving manufactured housing communities, retailers, builders and others; click here for more details.)

Back To The Future: An Eerie Episode in Iowa

August 6th, 2015 1 comment

It was a thrill to be inducted on August 3rd into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana.  At the banquet, during my remarks, I noted that I wanted to tell a story, but three minutes were not enough to do the story justice.  It’s a story that is historically accurate, ironic, and ends with a “what if.”

The story is about a particular day in history, Friday, December 5, 1947.  The story relates to the founding of the Iowa Manufactured Housing Association, or the Iowa Trailer Coach Association, as it was known then.  Finally, the story is also about another event which happened on the same day in Des Moines, Iowa.

I’ve always imagined that a few of the industry leaders in Des Moines left their attorney’s office on December 5th, 1947 and headed to the Secretary of State’s office to file the articles of incorporation for the founding of the association. I’m thinking that because it seems people were a bit more formal in those days.  If you look at some of the photos of early association meetings, all the men wore suits.  The women wore their best outfits, and all wore hats, as did many of the men.  I don’t see these guys and gals just mailing in the articles of incorporation.  Founding an association is a big deal. It’s a serious commitment. You personally take those papers to the filing site. At least you would have in 1947.

What would our industry leaders have been talking about as they made their journey and waited around for the articles to be filed?  The big event that Friday night was the heavy weight boxing championship between Champion Joe Lewis and challenger Jersey Joe Walcott. How do I know it was a big event? Reading the Des Moines Register of December 6th, 1947, the story was on page one of the paper, not the sports section, but the main section of the paper, above the fold, in large type, the size you see when a war is declared.  Of course, there was additional coverage in the sports section as well.  As it turned out, Lewis retained his title in a 15 round split decision, even though Walcott put Lewis on the canvas in two different rounds.  The crowd in New York booed the decision. Sportswriter Grantland Rice called it the weirdest decision he’d seen in 40 years of covering boxing.

The Lewis-Walcott fight is the perfect metaphor for our industry.  We’ve always been the underdog!

What was going on in Des Moines, Iowa on December 5, 1947? Many things, but here’s the beginning of the irony.  A meeting of building officials and inspectors from around the state was occurring in Des Moines on that December 5th. The keynote speaker was Bernard A. Savage, a former building code director for New York City.  Savage had left to take a job with Celotex, a building materials company. But Savage had not lost interest in public policy. He was also serving as Executive Director of the Building Officials Foundation.

His speech was highly critical of building codes.  Savage called most codes obsolete and too costly. He said most local codes were too padded in favor of materials dealers and labor unions.

And here’s where the story gets really interesting, and the irony comes into clear focus.  Savage revealed that his Building Officials Foundation had drafted a basic building code: “It is based on performance qualifications for materials.  Most codes today are of a specification type.  The codes are outdated by new materials almost as soon as they are written.”  Savage went on to say that “prefab houses and new materials are outlawed because they do not meet specifications in the codes.”

Savage concluded his speech by recommending that performance codes be adopted all across America…drafted by a non-political body.

As we all know, the site built industry and local building code officials did not listen to Bernard A. Savage in 1947.  I’m sure he made the same speech many times across the country.

The ultimate irony is that Savage’s vision came to fruition 27 years later when Congress passed the law creating the HUD building code in 1974, and the code became effective in 1976.  The code was largely lifted from the American National Standards Institute Code (ANSI), a voluntary building code, which industry leaders, with the assistance of ANSI, had crafted earlier.

Richard A. Mendlen, who became the first government official to be inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame on August 3rd, verified the importance of the ANSI code, estimating that the ANSI code and the National Fire Protection Association Code accounted for 75% of what became the initial HUD code.  The last 25% of the code didn’t come easily, taking almost two years to finish. Mendlen knows.  He was the HUD Deputy Secretary in charge of getting the HUD code written.  And, to complete the story, the manufactured housing code is the performance code that Savage so wanted the site built industry and all builders to use.  It would be interesting to know how the industry arrived at using a performance code when working with ANSI.

Finally, the “what if” to this story is what would have happened if the site built code had become the first performance code?  Would our industry have adopted the same code?  If so, would our homes have been accepted more readily by government officials?

The answer to this question cannot be known for sure.

What is certain is that this industry has been blessed by many innovative and visionary leaders who have been quick to meet most challenges. Savage’s vision is still to be realized for the full building industry. ##

joe-kelley-iowa-manufactured-housing-association-industry-voices-mhpronews-com-1Joe Kelly was recently inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame, read more about that event, here.

 

 

 

Using Music to Sell more Manufactured Homes?

August 5th, 2015 No comments

Music evokes emotion. It’s not always on our conscious minds, but music and sound have a tremendous impact on us daily. Music is the background of our lives. Music is a time machine, much better than the one Ole Doc Brown used by Marty in Back to the Future. You could be cruising the dials, or the Pandora channels more likely today, and come across a song that evokes such powerful emotions and connections that it transports you to a time in your past that you may not have thought about in umpteen years.

Your memories flood your mind, clarifying a picture of days gone by, taking you back to some significant point in your life. Your first kiss, your first love, that time you did that thing with that person, the euphoria of being a child and opening presents on Christmas morning and the list goes on.

Music is powerful. Most songs are an outward expression of an inner thought or emotion. The power of music is undeniable.

Having a background in audio engineering, I understand the power of music. This is truly understood in the film industry. Nearly 70% of what’s make a film standout is the background music. Next time you watch a film, pay attention to the fact that there is some sort of background music running the entire length of the film.  If there is no music, it is done quite intentionally. The Lord of the Rings movies wouldn’t be nearly as powerful without the incredible and haunting soundtrack that carries the film forward.

HomewardBoundPaulSimonDoingGoodMHInsideMHRoadShowMHLivingNews-com-1200x940-660x330

Album cover credit – CBS records, no endorsement by either party is expressed or implied.

I say all this after reading an article on Simon and Garfunkle’s song “Homeward Bound” on MHLivingNews.com. Tony’s thoughts on that song and the implications he lays out are masterful. The power of music in mixed media is something that we have done since the first radio jingle played over the air waves. What is a jingle anyway? It’s nothing more than a catchy tune tied to a product. Some are short; “Nobody does it like Sara Lee” or “The best part of waking up, is Folgers in your cup.”


While others took a bit longer and carried a bit more meaning: “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company…”

If the manufactured home industry could truly utilize the power of song to carry its message, to embed itself with emotions already tied to songs as Tony did in the article linked above, what a powerful tool that would be.

Imagine if you will, a song that already evokes warm feelings of being “home,” comfortable, safe, cozy; whatever it means to you, and cross threading it with your quality-built manufactured homes. Every time someone heard the song, it would bring them right back to your brand and our industry. Now that’s powerful. ##

victor-frost-fairfield-homes-land-texas-posted-inspiration-blog-mhpronews-com--150x150

 

Victor Frost, Fairfield Homes and Land.

Conventional Housing, not Manufactured Housing, caused the meltdown that gave us Dodd-Frank and the CFPB

July 24th, 2015 No comments

The situation that led to Dodd-Frank, the Safe Act and the CFPB had virtually nothing to do with manufactured housing. That meltdown in housing in 2008 that led to Dodd-Frank was caused by poor conventional ‘on-site’ house lending. Yet we in MH got dragged into it by a reactionary regulatory response by the government.

As a result, the most common method of selling our homes to consumers (as personal property) has been regulated so hard, that even local lenders, not just big U.S. Bank, have pulled out. It appears that the way the government has decided to “protect” consumers from so-called “predatory lending” is to make it impossible for them to get a loan.

Our homes were already the most regulated form of housing in the history of mankind largely, because policy makers just don’t understand our product or its benefits to millions of consumers.

S 682 will allow the consumers that need the affordability offered by our homes reasonable access to financing that fits the needs of their family. It will save them over rent. We see this reality in our business, at the ground level, rather than some non-profit group’s office that claims to speak for consumers. ##

onManufacturedHomeRetailerTX-IndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-Jody Anderson
MH Retailer, Texas

 

 

(Editor’s Note: This is one of several posted comments that have doubled in the last 12 hours on The Hill’s Congressional blog.  It is reprinted with permission.  Please see Ross Kinzler’s blog post, and then comment yourself on the post linked here.)

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/248665-regulations-for-manufactured-home-loans

As an FYI to those ‘tracking’ the comments, please scroll to the bottom of the comment section every time.  The Hill’s comment section has no discernable pattern on where the comments are posted, unless they are a reply.  The most recent comment is not always ‘at the top’ of the other comments.  MHProNews wants to thank and commend all of those who’ve already take 5 to sound off on this highly read Washington DC blog for their pro-MH financing efforts.)

EZ! Virtually Charging “The Hill” for more Manufactured Home Lending

July 24th, 2015 No comments

The Hill is a newspaper and blog read extensively on Capitol Hill.  This week L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach was invited to post an article about manufactured housing.  He laid down a great defense of the industry and its lending practices in response to all of the consumer group complaints.

We invite you to read the blog and post your own reply.  The more industry members add to this article the better.

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/248665-regulations-for-manufactured-home-loans

##

 

RossKinzlerWisconsinHousingAllianceExecutiveDirector-IndustryVoicesblogManufacturedHousingProfessionalnews-MHProNews-comRoss Kinzler
Executive Director
Wisconsin Housing Alliance

 

(Editor’s Note – Ross is a leader who first takes his own advice.  Mr. Kinzler has posted a fine comment on the topic, and others in MH have followed suit.  Be it a short or longer comment, make your voice heard on this issue, please.  If you want more MH lending, if you want to help those MH owners harmed by the CFPB’s regulations, sound off where the DC media, Congress, staff and policy advocates read.

Then, forward the link above via email to your Senators and Congressman, with a thank you for their support)

 

Specialized Attorneys – Necessary Part of Manufactured Home Community Management Today

July 14th, 2015 No comments

joe-kelley-iowa-manufactured-housing-association-industry-voices-mhpronews-com-1Even if you’re a so called “Mom and Pop” MH Community operation, it’s becoming increasingly dangerous to skip the management decision to hire a specialized attorney to review your written documents and review the possible impacts of your decisions.  We’ve all been guilty of thinking about laws as having specific and lasting meanings. In some cases, that judgment can be accurate.  In other cases, laws can take on meanings we never anticipated. Here are two examples to consider.

The first example deals with a government agency. 

One would think that government agencies, having access to attorneys, would have an easier time of it. By now you’ve probably heard about the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 13-1371It’s the case where the use of “disparate impact” charges in the Fair Housing Law was upheld for the first time by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

As a matter of fact, the Obama administration did not want the issue of disparate impact to go before the Supreme Court, fearing that that the practice would not be approved.  Yet, it was approved on a 5-4 decision.  

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the agency that oversees the federal housing tax credits in Texas, basically lost the case because there were too many tax credits awarded to developers for use in lower income neighborhoods.  Some would see the past practice as beneficial because low income people were receiving housing at vastly reduced rental rates.  When the disparate impact theory comes in, the result is seen as further segregating minorities from the rest of society.  Developers and state agencies around the country will have to take heed.  Developers will need to hire counsel, both familiar with laws and the vision to determine whether disparate impacts will be created.

The second example deals with a trend happening in Iowa.

On the general topic of unforeseen legal implications, Iowa landlords need to be especially concerned about provisions in their leases for residents. In an Iowa Court of Appeals decision from last year, Staley v Barkalow, the court made two decisions. 

First, the decision has set a pattern of making class action lawsuits by tenants easier.  The Court of Appeals overruled a Johnson County District Court decision which had rejected the request for a class action.  

Second, the court ruled that merely having illegal provisions in a lease is actionable, even if the landlord never acted on the provisions. The debatable point was what does the word “use” mean in Iowa Code 562A.11(2): “If a landlord willfully uses a rental agreement containing provisions known by the landlord to be prohibited, a tenant may recover actual damages sustained by the tenant and not more than three months’ periodic rent and reasonable attorney fees.” 

Actual damages, three months’ rent, and attorney fees for the tenant, as well as  your own attorney fees, can be expensive for one resident’s case.  However, when you add up all the residents who had the same illegal lease provisions, going back over a  number of years, you’re talking about some serious cash.  That’s the impact of the class action ruling.  Assisting Brooke Staley and the class is an organization called “The Tenants’ Project,” which is managed by Iowa City attorney, Christopher Warnock.

         

gavel___cnnmoney__credit-mhpronews-industry-voices

Image included by MHProNews, image credit CNNMoney.

The defendants’ attorneys argued that “to use” a lease provision means that you had to enforce or attempt to enforce a provision, even if the provision was illegal.  The new theory in Iowa now is that inclusion of an illegal lease provision is “a use” if the landlord willfully and knowingly included it in the lease.  

It’s not particularly difficult to prove that a landlord should have known about the provisions of the landlord/tenant law, or knew what was in the lease and what it means.  Judges generally operate under the assumption that landlords know the landlord/tenant law and that tenants do not.  This assumption is part of the underlying theme of the Barkalow decision: landlords use illegal provisions as a business strategy because tenants assume landlords know the law and that tenants don’t often challenge landlords who refuse to return security deposits or who make illegal charges to tenants.

The Tenants’ Project now has three other class action cases in Iowa City, including one against the largest landlord in the city, the Clark family, doing business as Apartments Downtown, Inc.  This landlord specializes in rentals to University of Iowa students. The class action captures all who signed a lease from 2010 through 2014, literally thousands of tenants. Christopher Warnock, the plaintiffs’ attorney, estimates “the total amount of illegal charges on tenants and possible punitive damages could total several million dollars.”

scales-credit-imgbuddy-posted-industry-voices-mhpronews-com-

Image credit- imgbuddy.

As attorneys in Iowa learn that class action lawsuits are easier propositions, we can expect more of them, especially since all you have to do is to find landlords with illegal provisions in their leases, whether they acted on these provisions or not.  Many attorneys had probably stayed away from suing landlords, especially representing individual tenants.  That job was usually the province of the Legal Aid attorneys who could only handle a fraction of possible cases.

Landlords need to have their leases reviewed by competent counsel. Too many landlords have borrowed leases from others, not knowing whether the original document was written by or vetted by an attorney.  In the opening sentence of this piece, the phrase specialized attorney was used.

You can’t just hire any attorney for the job.  It needs to be an attorney with experience in landlord/tenant issues.  You can call your state or region’s manufactured housing association office, or call other manufactured home community operators for referrals to good counsel.  If you call enough people in the industry, the same attorney names will likely crop up.

Those are your candidates: attorneys with knowledge and experience in the field of property management, and hopefully, manufactured home community (MHC) property management.  

If you select just a regular attorney, particularly in a small firm where no one does our kind of MHC legal work, you’ll get the privilege of paying extra money for the attorney to try to get up to speed on the issues. 

With regard to lease provisions, there is no excuse to put in illegal provisions.  The best defense is to know the law and to present a lease that is both legal and fair to residents. ##

joe-kelley-iowa-manufactured-housing-association-industry-voices-mhpronews-com-1By Joe Kelly, Iowa Manufactured Housing Association Executive Director.

Editor’s Note: Joe Kelly is one of the inductees in the upcoming Class of 2015 for the RV MH Hall of Fame. You can learn more about this highly respected state association executive in this interview we did with him previously, A Cup of Coffee with…Joe Kelly.

Manufactured Homes? Mobile Homes? Housing? Factory-Built Homes? What Should We Call our Homes?

July 13th, 2015 No comments

Hollywood,

For forty plus years, the MH industry has tried to change the mobile home perception and sophisticate the MH product by changing the name.  When business was sooo good, newbie MBA’s came in and screwed  things up as that was their job which was to make changes and expose what is wrong.

The new group along with industry insiders claimed that the name “mobile home” was not proper.  They said the name is disgraceful and trashy like “trailer.” Industry vets went along with new culture hires and agreed to the name change. The purchasers or those who live in the MH didn’t care at the time and still don’t. 

We changed the name to manufactured housing and after decades of pounding manufactured housing into the public’s mind, most new MH purchasers and MH dwellers still used the term mobile home, so then we decided to change the name to just housing and that did not work as there was no identity to our product, so then some geniuses said to change to factory built homes and so on and so on – so many names.

Its-EvolutionaryTrailerHouse-MobileHome-ManufacturedHome-modular-manufacturedhomelivingnews-comWB-660x330

The image above was not part of Barry Cole’s Letter to the Editor, but the graphic  is linked to an article which is related to this topic. Barry’s article also follows others on the subject from our June Issue Featured Articles.

Still after 4 decades, the public still relates to the mobile home name and per all data, mobile home is used on the internet as much or more than manufactured housing.  Thus, we should never down grade the mobile home name of past which did so much good during a very special time in our industry and especially with so many MH customers still living in them.

So what do we do?  You and I have had numerous conversations as to industry concepts and image and that is why we both have always used the name MH.

You are correct in using MH for the industry’s product name in all of your writings.  It is much easier to say, write and change to.

The recreational vehicle changed to RV and everyone knows the RV name.  The same should be used with MH.

Keep up the good work by using MH in your publications and you will realize more and more using MH.

Barry

barry-cole-rv-mh-hall-of-fame-manufactured-home-insurance-services-mhisBarry Cole

Manufactured Housing Insurance Services (MHIS)

RV/MH Hall of Fame Inductee – Class of 2014.

CMHI’s “Jack E. Wells Memorial Award” for distinguished service to the manufactured home industry.

Past Chairman RV/MH Hall of Fame

(Editor’s Note: this message to L. A. “Tony” Kovach (whom Barry and some other industry pros like to refer to as “Hollywood”) is an on-the-record commentary  by Barry on the article, linked below. Numerous other ‘off the record’ comments have come in as well. As always, your comments – on or off the record – are encouraged.)

http://ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com/cancer-cures-and-todays-mh/

A Cup of Coffee with…Barry Cole, is linked here.

Magazines and Birthdays

June 12th, 2015 No comments

I think around 2005 or so I was at the Wisconsin Association giving my latest Doom and Gloom prognosis for the future of our industry. (Actually my gloom was less than the future industry doom.) Amongst the many in the crowd was Tony Kovach (LATony to me), who took some exception to my pronouncements. He thought me wrong.

Tony was and is an industry booster of the first water, endlessly positive about the industry, the homes we build, the people in the industry, and its bright future. He could envision no malady of the type I forecast. To him the industry was just too needed for American housing to drop to the 49,000+ homes it ultimately did. And while I thought it would be bad, very bad, I did not believe shipments would drop as low as they did.

Tony recounted for me the same positive industry facts every time we spoke. I accused him of being a cheerleader and he always accused me as a half-empty glass kind of guy. Never mind that in 1998 my company originated $188 million of MH refinance loans. Surely that keeps a full glass outlook on one.

But 1998 was followed by 1999 which brought the first Hai-Karate face slap that things were in decline. What we didn’t recognize at the time was how much things had truly changed. This was not one of the frequent industry episodes so common to me since 1972, that you knew would come, make you drop your knickers, and then resolve itself, the industry regaining its footing at profitable levels. Not this time.

It took some time during this episode but by 2003 it was obvious to me, if not to everyone, we were in uncharted territory, with challenges ahead of the type unknown in the industry since its founding.

Since I first met Tony, much has happened. He and his family have become my good friends, I communicate with him frequently, and occasionally write or speak a piece for his publications, MHProNews and MHLivingNews. Spare no concern, the Lavin skepticism for the industry’s future has not infected LATony, he is an irrepressible industry booster.

He is the first to the battlements protecting the industry from unfounded and undeserved outside attack. He defends the industry from the regulatory overreach which unnecessarily hinders the industry, but more importantly, does harm to our client base, reducing their housing choices at a time when too few housing choices abound. That is tragic for all involved.

Tony has been quick to respond to these grievous conditions, leading the industry defense, in compliment at times with association(s) support and at times seemingly more effectively than the association(s). (Today the associations seem to have narrowed views, not necessarily spanning the interests of all its constituents.)

Ours is a small industry. It was far larger 20 years ago, but even then it was not large. At points during that time there were 3 or 4 industry publications covering industry matters. In my eyes the Manufactured Home Merchandiser was the pick of the litter, probably because both Tony and I were correspondents providing occasional pieces from us to further some industry topic we felt important.

With regrets, the Merchandiser  went the way of the dinosaurs, industry activity so low that the magazine ownership finally tired of subsidizing its printing and mailing. Regrettably, Herb Tieder, the publisher, could not be talked into going with an internet e-magazine, and the end came, at which point the Merchandiser had become a brochure, no longer a magazine.

Interestingly, Tony decided that there was a gaping niche to be filled with an MH e-magazine and brought his considerable energies to bear in forming the aforementioned e-publications. Like all new ventures, it took huge effort, trial and error, and serious dedication to get these ezines off the ground. At the same time he was expanding his consulting business, keeping Tunica going and bringing the Louisville show back from the coffin. All very good stuff.

Let’s face it gang, without Tony’s industry magazines we are pretty short of an industry-wide vehicle for thoughts, alerts, discussions, interviews and news. Tony also is fearless in taking on matters which offend, interest or challenge him.

Further, he solicits a wide range of views on many topics from many sources. Don’t agree with Tony on a certain subject, which can happen? No way he withholds his pages from your thoughts. Tony and I frequently diverge on viewpoints. That has never been a problem. He solicits my views though he knows like two paths in the woods, we diverge.

Tony is a young man, his magazines just coming into maturity, with enormous promise as industry news and education vehicles. He is to be highly complimented for his industry leadership with his e-magazines. But more importantly, as I age along to oblivion, I feel fulfilled that my prized Merchandiser has a worthy successor. Most satisfying.

This Sunday, June 14, Tony reaches his 39th birthday. Assuming a long, healthy working life, we have many years to look forward to his innovative and interesting magazines. Thank you, Tony, from me and I think from many others in the industry. Well done!

P.S. For you low information types, this year is also the 39th birthday of the HUDCode. Happy Birthday to the two of you. ##

marty-lavin-50-posted-mhpronews-com-industry-voices-blogMarty Lavin, JD.

 

(Editor’s note:  Tony Kovach passed 39 years some years ago, so that part is vintage Lavin humor, but the 14th of June – Flag Day – is indeed his birthday. And June 15th is indeed the 39th anniversary of the date that the first HUD Code manufactured home began on the MH production lines.)

An Important Contribution to Understanding Manufactured Housing Finance

May 19th, 2015 No comments

Tony,
This special report is very effective in explaining the complex topic of chattel financing and the negative impacts of Dodd-Frank.  Using a real life story, and the final, more costly financial option that the consumer had to turn to shows the devastating irony of Dodd-Frank’s causing more harm than good to the goal of affordable housing.

Congratulations on this important contribution to the understanding of the MH financial world.

Joe

Dodd-Frank and Manufactured Home Financing: The Place Where Good Intentions and Unintended Consequences Collide

joe-kelley-iowa-manufactured-housing-association-industry-voices-mhpronews-com-1Joe Kelly

Iowa Manufactured Housing Association

(Editor’s Note: a number of MH Pros have praised award winning journalist Jan Hollingsworth work in the story above. Associations and corporate leaders are among those who have sent or called kudos for her story).