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The RV Industry is Attempting to Amend the HUD Manufactured Housing Code

May 28th, 2014 No comments

The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is pushing a proposal through the U.S. Congress to change the definition of manufactured home in the National Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act.  The proposed change would specifically exclude certain “RV trailers,” including Park Model RVs, from the definition of a manufactured home in the federal HUD Code.

The stated purpose of the proposed change is to provide regulatory certainty to lenders, state or local taxation and land use officials that a Park Model RV is a recreational vehicle, not a manufactured home.

Their urgency for this change is that some lenders are apprehensive about making Park Model RV loans in light of the new Dodd-Frank Act requirements.

A concern with the language, as proposed, is that it may allow ANSI Park Model RVs to expand beyond the current 400 square foot size limitation. 

This would be harmful to the HUD-Code RV Park Model industry in states like Florida by encouraging the sale of ANSI Park Models that exceed 400 square feet.

The proposed amendment states, “a park model RV that has a gross area not greater than 400 square feet based on the exterior dimensions of the unit measured at the largest horizontal projections in the set-up mode, including all floor space that has a ceiling height of more than 5 feet” (emphasis added). 

The ceiling height language was inserted to codify a 1997 HUD interpretation that loft areas which are less than 5’0” in height are not considered in determining the size of the structure. The proposed language does not limit the ceiling height exclusion to loft areas, thus allowing for the possibility of “slide-out rooms” or “build-outs” less than 5 feet high.

RVIA is emphatic that the intent is not to increase the size of ANSI Park Model RVs.

According to RVIA, concerns about enlarging the size of Park Model RVs are unfounded because specific rules are in place to measure the size and calculate the square footage of Park Model RVs. Additionally, Park Model RVs are built to standards administered by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a national voluntary consensus body. The ANSI A119.5 standards would have to be amended to allow for larger structures.

While these safeguards are in place today, the statute will drive future requirements. If the federal law is ambiguous enough to assert that larger ANSI RV Park Models are allowed, then the rules will change to accommodate this view. 

The RVIA is working hard to get this amendment accomplished during the 2015 HUD appropriations process. RVIA is not looking for industry support, but rather seeks to quell any opposition.

MHI has taken a neutral position on the proposal, while MHARR is adamantly opposed to it.

This proposed change to the National Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act will have a negative impact on the HUD-Code Park Model industry in Florida. Most Park Models are permanently sited and larger ANSI Park Model RVs will encourage permanent, year round living. ANSI Park Model RVs are designed and intended for recreational use and seasonal living only and are not built to the more stringent HUD building code.

The Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA) has asked RVIA to consider amending its proposal to specify that the 5 foot ceiling height exemption applies to loft areas only. This will ensure that ANSI Park Model RVs are not built in excess of 400 square feet.

Reasserting the current size restriction in the proposed amendment will satisfy the RV industry’s objective of clarifying the differences between ANSI Park Model RVs and HUD manufactured homes for financing and land use purposes, while promoting ANSI Park Model RVs as a desirable option for recreational and seasonal accommodations. ##

james-ayotte-Florida-Manufactured-Housing-Association-posted-on-mhpronewsJames R. Ayotte, CAE
Executive Director
Florida Manufactured Housing Association
3606 Maclay Blvd. South – Suite 200
Tallahassee, FL 32312
Ph:(850) 907-9111
F:850) 907-9119
jayotte@fmha.org
www.fmha.org

When Eminent Domain Becomes Eminent Injustice

July 18th, 2012 2 comments

Jefferson Lilly MHProNewsSeizing private property through eminent domain for the gain of private individuals is clearly unconstitutional, yet given a recent Supreme Court decision and the newly-announced plans of a venture capital firm, you may one day have your property seized by a politically well-connected investor.

Let’s be clear, by 'unconstitutional' I mean what the Constitution actually says, not, unfortunately, what the current Supreme Court says it says. Today’s Supreme Court is running 5-4 against the constitution. I won't get into Obamacare. For those of you not familiar with it, consider reading up on the Court's 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelo_v._City_of_New_London

Please also consider reading up on last week’s announced plans by Mortgage Resolution Partners, a venture capital firm, to seize home mortgages through eminent domain.

http://realestate.msn.com/can-your-city-seize-your-mortgage?_p=16ff831b-8667-4491-80e7-c9b0250d12ed

Quick details on Kelo: The City of New London, CT seized a single mother's home (along with others) through eminent domain and sold them to a developer to build Pfizer's new corporate headquarters. The private property would not become part of an airport, bridge, dam, or other public *use* as the Fifth Amendment's eminent domain clause requires. The private property would become part of a for-profit corporation's investment portfolio.

The Supreme Court deemed this seizure to be a constitutional use of eminent domain because it agreed with the government's (the City of New London's) argument against the people that expanding government's revenues (higher taxes on improved land) was in the public interest.

The Fifth Amendment states the seized property must be put into public *use.* It does not say something vague, like the seizure must be in the public 'interest' regardless of what is done with the land, and it certainly does not say that enabling government to grow larger is necessarily in the public interest, nor that it is constitutional for one private citizen to use eminent domain vs. another citizen. Yet this is how the Court interpreted the Fifth Amendment.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

Given the unconstitutional tendencies of the Supreme Court, and given the disparity in lobbying power and financial resources of a well-connected real estate developer backed by a Fortune 500 Corporation vs. that of a single mom, it is perhaps not surprising how this decision turned out.

The Supreme Court has opened the door to ending private property rights in America. Anyone more politically connected than you can seize your home. The implications haven't 'trickled down' into society yet, but Mortgage Resolution Partners' bold and unconstitutional plan to ‘partner’ with government to seize mortgages for their own profit is a first step toward a plutocracy in which only the politically well-connected will own property.

Not surprisingly, Mortgage Resolution Partners' Chairman, Steven Gluckstern, is a well-heeled and well-connected fundraising bundler for the Democrats. But make no mistake, there is nothing to limit abuse of eminent domain to the Democrats.

Ms. Kelo’s property was a traditional site-built home. As such, it was a significant improvement to the land upon which it was built, and increased the City’s tax revenues. If such already-improved land was not generating enough money to satisfy the well-meaning bureaucrats of New London, CT, think now of how government will view mobile home parks. Most mobile homes are not permanently attached to land. As such, they are not considered improvements, and the underlying land is taxed as unimproved property. Perhaps some other well-meaning, politically-connected financier is hatching a plan right now to help government help themselves to your mobile home park next.

Final ironic note: Ms. Kelo's home and land were seized and sold to the developer. The home itself was moved with private funds to a nearby location to serve as a memorial to the injustice of the Supreme Court’s decision. The CT developer was ultimately unable to secure financing, and went broke. The land Ms. Kelo’s home once sat upon is now abandoned and unimproved. It generates less tax revenues for government than it did prior to government getting their hands on it.

My plea: Vote for pro-Constitution candidates. ##

Jefferson Lilly MHProNews IndustryvoicesJefferson Lilly is a private investor, manufactured home community (MHC) owner and MHC consultant. www.lillyandcompany.net That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.” – Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)