Archive

Posts Tagged ‘HUD Code’

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

November 30th, 2017 No comments

The McCrory lawsuit is a significant victory against zoning discrimination that many working families in Arkansas face from cities and towns when they attempt to place a factory-built dwelling unit in a territorial jurisdiction governed by municipal ordinances and regulations.

Although federal regulation preempts cities from out-and-out discrimination against units built in compliance with the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards – the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has been hesitant to enforce the ‘enhanced preemption’ granted in the MHIA of 2000 – –  or even the Department’s own ‘preemption policy’ or statement of ‘internal guidance’ on local zoning matters.

And, even though state law in Arkansas prohibits cities from totally banning manufactured/modular home placements; restricting them only to rented lots in ‘parks’; or setting conditions/restrictions that are dissimilar to those for ‘site-built units’ – a number of cities still attempt to unduly restrict MH placements due to unsubstantiated fears of plummeting property values and ‘undesirables’ that their decisions-makers fear will inhabit such domiciles.

ZoningDiscriminationAgainstManufaturedHomeJDHarperExecuitveDirectorArkansasManufacturedHousingAssociationAMHAlogoIndustryVoicesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

We hope this decision will cause city leaders to consider other, non-arbitrary factors when making decisions about home placement within their towns.

When our organization is allowed to provide advice to cities on how to address the placement of factory-built units within their boundaries – we always caution against arbitrary restrictions (i.e. home value, age, etc.) that would determine if a home would be allowed.

Several tiny cities around McCrory had enacted similar restrictions, and have made changes to their ordinances in response to this lawsuit.

HUD-CodeEnhancedPreemptionManufacturedHousingImprovementAct2000IndustryVoicesJDHarperAMAADailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The McCrory settlement was obtained by  Equal Justice Under Law,  a civil rights organization. The case will be the subject of a Daily Business News report. The headline and these graphics were provided by MHProNews, as is customary in trade media and other forms of journalism. The text comments were sent by JD Harper to MHProNews for publication. Other perspectives, comments, and news tips are welcomed. Send to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com with a bold subject line that says NEWS TIP or LETTER TO EDITOR, thank you.

If decision-makers in cities [particularly smaller towns] would take a look at today’s manufactured housing – instead of relying on outdated images, preconceived notions, and the myths, misconceptions and stereotypes that seem to be inextricably linked to this product – I believe they would find it relatively simple to develop ordinances and regulations that would allow the regulated placement of factory-built structures on individual lots and in multi-site developments in a manner that would encourage affordable housing growth.

The McCrory settlement is just another arrow in the quiver to use when city leaders attempt to discriminate against people who might not make as much money as the members of the planning commission or city council – or at least don’t want to spend more for a site-built home. ##

JDHarperExecutiveDirectorArkansasManufacturedHousingAssocPostedMHProNews

By JD Harper
AMHA

About the 41st Anniversary of the Start of Manufactured Housing

June 15th, 2017 No comments

MMarkWeissCEO-MHARR-ManufacturedHousingAssociationforRegulatoryReform-posted-IndustryVoices-MHProNewsThe establishment of the HUD Code was — and is — an important milestone for both the industry and consumers.  The industry itself sought out federal regulation under a preemptive, performance-based, uniform code of federal standards that balances the key factors of safety and cost, along with uniform enforcement within a federal-state partnership.

This type of federal regulation — so long as it is reasonable — allows the industry to pass-along the efficiencies of factory-construction to home buyers, in the form of unparalleled affordability and quality.

By every objective measure available, today’s manufactured homes have achieved the level of quality, durability, and safety that Congress envisioned when it passed the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.

Now, it is time for HUD to take real measures to support and expand the availability and acceptance of those HUD Code homes as Congress directed in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.  To do that, however, will require a major shake-up of the HUD program by the Trump Administration.

Mark Weiss
President & CEO
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)
1331 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Suite 512
Washington, D.C. 20004
Phone: 202/783-4087
Fax: 202/783-4075
Email: MHARRDG@AOL.COM

Jay Hamilton on Dr. Ben Carson’s being named for Appointment as HUD Secretary

December 5th, 2016 No comments
 Dr. Ben Carson grew up in Public Housing. He  spent many years working as a Neurological Surgeon in an Urban Hospital Environment. So he witnessed the effect of substandard housing on health.

But even still, a number may see this as an illogical choice. I fully expected Dr. Carson to be named Surgeon General or Health & Human Services Secretary.

President-elect Trump has made it clear that he will place people that are loyal to himself and to conservative values.

ben_carson_nominated_for_secretary_of_hudcreditabc7-vxyz-postedindustryvoicesmanufacturedhousingindustrycommenatry-mhpronews

For more insights on this controversy, see the Daily Business News story – “Is Ben Carson the Right Choice for HUD Secretary? Depends On Who You Ask.” As on all industry voices topics, other persepctives are welcome, and the views are those of the writer.

Does that mean that this HUD role is what Dr. Carson requested?  Or was this the only Agency left over that was large enough to reward Dr. Carson for his help and support?

At the end of the day, everyone will serve at the new president’s pleasure, regardless of who we deem “best qualified.”

But unless Dr. Carson or members of President-elect Trump’s team have someone reading MHProNews or MHLivingNews, odds are that neither may realize that manufactured home regulation falls under HUD’s jurisdiction. ##

jay-hamiltong-executive-director-georgia-manufactured-housing-association-gmha-posted-mhpronews-com
Jay Hamilton, GMHA.

HUD Code Manufactured Housing, “The Discrimination Code”

August 25th, 2016 No comments

Tony, you are so right on the HUD Code has become a deadly “discrimination code,” especially as it applies to manufactured home financing.

But it doesn’t end there.

Recent stories here and elsewhere have chronicled the inability to site a manufactured home in certain areas, where MODs pass, but HUDs fail, in spite of the fact the exterior and interior may be indistinguishable.

MartyLavinHUDCodeDeadlyDiscriminationCode-IndustryVoicesMHProNews

Methinks we may have to face how much we want to continue to allow the “Scarlet Code” to continue to damage our brand. ##

(Editor’s note: Marty’s comments are in reference to a Daily Business News article on zoning and connected challenges, linked here, and related commentary, linked here. For an indepth video interview with award-winning MH finance pro and community owner, Marty Lavin, click here.)

marty-lavin-posted-on-mhpronewsMARTIN (Marty) LAVIN
att’y, consultant, expert witness
350 Main Street
BURLINGTON, VT 05401
802.238.7777
only in factory built housing

The Manufactured Home Windstorm Story Not Told ~ Lives saved with Proper Installation

January 7th, 2015 No comments

Jasper County Mississippi was one of three counties targeted by one or more EF2 tornadoes over the weekend of January 3rd. Thirty-Three homes were destroyed in these weather events. This is certainly tragic, and news. Of course the media outlets focused on the “mobile home community” where six of the homes were destroyed. These six homes were all reported by local media as “mobile homes.”

First, why did the news media focus on the 6 ‘mobile homes,’ vs. the dozens of conventional houses that were destroyed. Is that media bias?

tornado-southern-plains-houses-damaged-nbc-news=credit-posted-industry-voices-mhpronews-

The NBC news report on this previous southern tornado incident – shown in the photo above- includes these comments:

For three days this week, dozens of twisters raked across the South and Plains, killing 38 people and destroying hundreds of homes.”

So why didn’t the Mississippi news media in this recent incident focus on the dozens of conventional houses destroyed? Why did their coverage focus instead on ‘mobile homes’ destroyed?

conventional-house-left-roof-flies-off-mh-right-hurricane-wind-test-manufactured-home-livingnews-credit=nbcnews-today-show-(2)

Manufactured Home on right was the least expensive home in that market area,
while the conventional house on the left that loses its roof and suffers major damage
cost about 4-5 times as much as the MH.
Still photos credit: NBC News/IBHS Hurricane Wind Test video.

To be fair, it is entirely possible that all six of these older factory built houses reported by the MS media were in fact “mobile homes;” meaning pre-June 15, 1976 houses built in a factory. There have been no mobile homes built in the U.S. since June 15, 1976!

The likelihood that all 6 of those MH’s were ‘mobile homes’ is limited. Perhaps 20%-25% of the factory-built houses in use in the U.S. today are truly “mobile homes,” meaning built pre-1976 federal construction standards. Those national safety and construction standards are proven to make modern manufactured homes (MH) as safe or safer than conventional construction, so long as they are properly installed.

Those federal standards, commonly called the HUD Code for manufactured homes, upgraded the homes and turned pre-code ‘mobile houses’ legally into ‘manufactured homes.’

Manufactured homes” isn’t just a nicer, fancier or newer name for a mobile home. The new name reflects an improved way of building the homes to make them stronger, safer and better! That’s good for consumers and for the MH industry too.

tornado-OK-5-20-2013-manufactured-home-posted-mhpronews-com

Why is one house crushed and the neighboring one damaged but structurally
intact? Many times the answer is proper MH installation.
Moore, OK May 5, 2013. that destroyed hundreds of conventional houses,
as well as dozens of mobile and manufactured homes.

But even a good product has to be properly used. A good manufactured home has to be properly installed. In some areas, manufactured homes didn’t have state or federal standards installation until the last decade or so.

12MSdamage-weather-com-industry-voices-mhpronews-

Photo above from recent MS tornadoes. Notice that the home, even though it rolled,
someone could have survived inside it. Do you see any anchor straps on this house?
In fact, even without straps, there were no deaths in this incident. Credit – Weather Channel.

anchoring-manufactured-home-credit-miami-herald-posted-industry-voices-mhpronews-

What is likely is that these six homes in the MS incident had improper or no tie down installations. Why do I say that? Simple! Because the community owner’s manufactured home was clearly unmoved in that same tornado, as the same news video footage revealed.

The home that survived that MS tornado had relatively minor damage and was reported as still very much livable. It was apparently ‘tied down.’ So what about the others right next to that properly installed home?

Here are the most reasonable scenarios on the 6 “mobile” or manufactured homes that were destroyed:

  • The mobile or manufactured homes had improper installation and/or no anchors/strapping. Anything not anchored to the ground is likely to go flying – or in the case of a house that weighs as much as 30,000 pounds for a single section – may roll or get badly damaged.
  • The houses had improper additions attached to the mobile or manufactured home. Hurricane wind studies reported by IBHS and NBC News indicate that 80% of all MHs lost in hurricanes are not the failure of the home itself, but rather are damaged by faulty add-ons that in turn cause a part of the home to open up to severe winds that then further damage or destroy the home. Wouldn’t that principle also apply to tornadoes?
  • As an interesting side note, a town in FL is considering a law requiring outside Air Conditioners on conventional houses to be properly installed, because those ACs that aren’t tied down are often picked up by high winds – and when they go flying – are dangerous!
  • High winds and tornadoes aren’t a manufactured home issue, it is a proper installation issue!

The second bullet applies the same to conventional housing as site built housing.

Notice that this hurricane wind test was performed in a special facility by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).   The house on the right is ‘fortified,’ the one on the left is regular site build construction. The same sort of thing can happen with a tornado. Who says? This video of a conventional house in Iowa capture by a bank ATM camera! It shows a conventional house swept away in seconds by the tornado winds once contact is made.

When we look at the video of the 6 destroyed MHs and the one that survived provided by the news outlet, you can faintly see the strapping under the home still standing. By contrast, we can’t see ANY strapping or evidence of anchors from the video on the 6 destroyed homes.

site-built-houses-moor-ok-ef5-tornado-did-worse-than-manufactured-home-credit-ok4-posted-cutting-edge-blogmhpronews-com-

This tragic MS story could have been educational, not just sensational. The media could have said, the lesson here is that a manufactured home that is properly installed is no more vulnerable to a tornado than a conventional house.

Then, the media could have said, if you own a mobile or manufactured home, why not use this tragedy as a reminder that it is pretty low cost to anchor your home properly, vs. the terrible loss that could take place if your home has no anchors.

Today and for many years, manufactured homes have to have proper installation as mandated by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000). The media and public officials should note that the MH industry WANTED these standards, the industry asked for this law! Which means, as an industry we want our home owners to be safe and have the most possible peace of mind!

Perhaps good reporters need to learn a bit more about current best practices and that the HUD Code for manufactured homes now nationally blankets the manufactured home industry coast to coast. Maybe the media and their news directors need to read the reports and watch the testing videos that show the strength of properly installed manufactured homes in high winds.

Maybe, just maybe, the media needs to quit focusing on events that shine an implied bad light on a large section of the housing industry and instead re-focus on how more families are becoming home owners with quality built manufactured homes, at a fraction of the cost of “site built” homes.

No house above ground is completely safe in a tornado. But there are plenty of examples of manufactured homes that survive right next door to some that don’t. The difference? In many cases, the answer is clearly the quality of the home’s anchoring/installation.

An improperly installed manufactured home won’t stand up to a tornado of any real magnitude, then again, neither will “site built” homes.

The media should make sure of their facts before they report and should always use the proper terminology. The report as it stands leaves more questions than answers. The media shouldn’t target manufactured homes, when site built houses are just as vulnerable, and at times, more so.

One bit of good news they got right in the report is that there were no serious injuries or fatalities, and when it comes down to it, that is the most important news information that we can get. ##

victor-frost-fairfield-homes-land-texas-posted-inspiration-blog-mhpronews-com--150x150Victor Frost

Fairfield Homes and Land.

Manufactured Housing: Underutilized and Misunderstood

December 10th, 2014 No comments

What will it take for manufactured housing, the principal source of unsubsidized, affordable homes in the United States, to reach its potential?

Limited and expensive financing options make life even more difficult for the financially vulnerable residents who live in manufactured housing DHS_post_MontanaHome_11.03_.25_nhi=credit-posted-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-(MH) communities. The continuing consolidation of ownership is taking a toll, and the industry just can’t seem to shake the outdated, negative stereotype of a rusted, flimsy structure with a dog chained to the front porch.

Manufactured homes, frequently mischaracterized as mobile homes or trailers—even though once placed, they're rarely moved—house over 18 million Americans. Most are just getting by; the median annual household income of residents is $30,000. The homes are much less expensive to rent or own because they’re built in factories, so they cost less than half the estimated $94-per-square-foot national average for new site-built homes.

Not only is manufactured housing misunderstood, it’s underutilized. “We don’t have enough public housing to fulfill our needs,” says MH industry expert Lisa Tyler of Paris, Tennessee. “Manufactured housing presents a solution. It’s inexpensive, energy efficient, and a great value. There’s a lot of opportunity for growth in the industry, but a lot of obstacles, too.”

One such roadblock is the way most MH is legally classified as personal property rather than real estate, according to a recent report on manufactured housing from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. That means MH homebuyers pay higher loan rates, 6.79 percent on average, and have fewer consumer protections than owners of site-built homes, who paid 3.6 to 4.2 percent in 2012 for a conventional mortgage with a 30-year fixed rate.

And then there’s the persistent image problem. Industry insiders are dismayed that manufactured housing continues to be stigmatized, despite the fact that factory built homes constructed after 1976 must adhere to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) code that provides guidelines and oversight relating to quality, safety, and durability.

“Today, manufactured homes are often built with higher quality, more energy efficient and sustainable materials than site built homes, and many are set in lovely, tree-lined communities with responsible, hard-working residents," says Tyler. “The mainstream media tells us that people who live in manufactured homes are 'trailer trash,' drug dealers, or wife beaters. Sadly, many people still have trouble getting past that horribly unfair stereotype.”

Mom and Pop: Unsung Heroes

Residents and owners of manufactured housing communities are also grappling with a wave of consolidation that began in the 1990’s, and continues unabated. Sun Communities Inc., for example, just announced it bought seven MH communities in the Orlando area for $257 million. So far, investors are mostly targeting larger communities, says L.A. “Tony” Kovach, publisher of leading trade publications MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com. “But we’re going to see things evolve over the next five years, as investors come knocking and begin targeting smaller sites, those with 150 units or less,” says Kovach, who's based in Lakeland, Florida.

These sites are traditionally the territory of small, local owners and operators, informally called Mom and Pop’s.

“The majority of parks were created by private owners, who manage this valuable resource for low and moderate income people who want a home of their own,” says Paul Bradley, the founding president of ROC USA, a nonprofit based in Concord, New Hampshire that promotes resident-owned communities (ROCs). “But they don’t get credit for it. These stewards of affordable home ownership are unsung heroes.” While smaller owner-operators have their flaws, “most of them are truly decent people who’ve managed their communities respectfully,” adds Bradley.

Meanwhile, many of these MH owner-operators are looking to retire, or get out of the business due to economic pressures and shifts in the industry. As fewer of their adult children want to take over the family business, more Mom and Pop’s are selling to larger operations, which, in turn, sell to investors. That’s when the fortunes of residents can change quickly.

“The difference between how a consolidator runs a business and how we did is one of values, frankly,” says Marc S. Seigle, a retired attorney and former owner, along with his family, of a MH community in Elbridge, NY. Seigle says they raised rents on tenants from $190 to about $300 over 25 years—just enough to cover inflation, taxes and insurance costs.

“There’s always a great deal of talk about the importance of quality affordable housing, but it’s pretty much eyewash—just talk,” says Seigle. “I saw an article in The New York Timesabout Wall Street investors making their fortunes in this industry. I thought, they suddenly discovered they could do what the rest of the world does with folks who don’t have much clout—gouge them. I’m saddened but not surprised to see it.”

A Better Way

Owner-operators of MH communities who're ready to exit the industry don’t have to sell to consolidators. There’s a better option, says Bradley. Residents can collectively buy the land, and create a ROC. Bradley’s organization, ROC USA, has helped secure community ownership for over 150 resident corporations to preserve and improve affordable communities, and help residents build their individual assets. Impressively, none of ROC USA’s communities have gone bankrupt, into foreclosure, or been resold.

Seigle’s family was the first to partner with ROC-USA, back in 2008. He says they received their asking price, and there was no downside to the deal. “I spoke with a consolidator, and it was quite clear to me they’d jack up the rents if we sold to them,” says Seigle. “The fact I was able to sell to my former customers, so they would have some control and I knew it would be well maintained—made it even a sweeter deal.”

Former MH community owner George Everett was also pleased with his ROC USA transaction. He sold the 32-unit Green Acres Cooperative, tucked deep inside the Rocky Mountains in Kalispell, Montana, to the nonprofit in 2010. “I know many of those who live in the community real well. Ninety-five percent are good, hardworking people who didn’t deserve for a developer to come in and suddenly raise the rent so high they’d have to leave their home.”

“I’m a conservative person, but I’d do it again,” says Everett, a former realtor, and a Republican who served in the Montana legislature for eight years. “I still drive past there and talk with the manager sometimes. It seemed to work out well for everyone.”

dana-hawkins-simons-nhi-org-posted-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-com-75x75-Dana Hawkins-Simons directs NHI's Opportunity Housing Initiative, a project that supports the expansion of long-term affordable housing programs and policies. She is an award-winning journalist and former senior editor of U.S. News & World Report. Reprinted on request, as first published in Rooflines,

(Photo of the Green Acres Cooperative by Lorie Cahill.)

“What’s Happened to the HUD Code Manufactured Home Industry?”

July 9th, 2014 No comments

Many years ago, a famous Movie Cowboy, Mayor of Beverly Hills, Editor of the Saturday Evening Post and Entertainer, Will Rodgers said, “If Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?”

Manufactured housing has seen its media image perpetuated and the public perception remains consistently tarnished for quite some time. The HUD Code manufactured home (MH) appears too often to be viewed by government, Realtors  ® and the public as not being desirable. The MH Industry has seen its home production decline and new MH Communities (MHCs) have declined as well. Many of these existing communities are tired with no “Innovation” or “Cool” factor for prospects.

On this date in 2014, along comes the “Tiny House,” a version of the factories “RV Park model.”

The “Tiny House” is less than 400 square feet. It sits on a trailer frame; it has wheels and a hitch. It appears to be of the same type of construction as a RV Park Model or a small HUD Code manufactured home. Media professionals like “Tiny Houses” for stories and about those who live in them. See example below.

tiny-houses-steven-lefer-industry-voices-posted-mhpronews-com

Wow, the media’s attention is so positive to the “Tiny House” that it far exceeds that of the old and tired HUD Trailer/Mobile Home industry. TV shows with Bob Vila endorse it and A+E TV Network will begin showing “Tiny House Nation” July 9, 2014 at 10 ET/11PT on their home product.

The articles point to how “Cute” and functional this small single wide home is; and how they even have a “Cool,” “Hip” factor with “NO” negative publicity. It's astonishing. These homeowners and their tiny houses brag about the size and in some cases folks live in 120 square feet, which is no bigger than a backyard shed. A woman in the article below left a MHPark to live one, ouch!

I understand “Four Lights Tiny House Company” will be attempting to build a “Village” for people to live in a community of them. What? How? Is this not an RV Community? If you are part of the HUD Code Manufactured Home Industry, I am sure you are not aware of this image change nor have the leaders of the industry addressed or invited these competing folks to their convention. Are they part of the HUD Industry or do they prefer NOT to be? It sure makes me wonder?

credit-tiny-house-nation-series-graphic-Wednesday-july-9-10et-11pt-

Image credit FYI.TV

Here are three links for you to ponder!

http://www.deadline.com/2014/02/ae-lifestyle-network-fyi-sets-first-slate-launch-date/

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/12/31/2857011/bette-presley-arroyo-grande-house.html

http://www.bobvila.com/articles/tiny-house-village/

Where and what happened to the HUD Code Manufactured Home Industry? ##

steve-leflervicepresident-modular-lifestyles-industry-voices-mhpronews-com75x75-Steven Lefler
Vice President
Modular Lifestyles, Inc.
(888) 437-4587
Dual DRE and HCD Salesperson
Advanced Green Building Professional
CEC Solar Wind Retailer/Installer

http://www.modularlifestyles.com

(First image supplied by Steve Lefler)

(Editor's Note: MHProNews strongly believes that accurate terminology matters, and as was noted with Ken Haynes' Industry Voices guest column today, the thoughts and statements made above are solely those of the writer.

Further, there are points in this commentary that are broad statements that could be construed as technically inaccurate, was used as hyperbole and thus depending on the context, should not be taken literally. Steve Lefler well knows about the recent positive press from CBS News or the Boston Globe, among others, touting the value of today's manufactured home.

Those who know Lefler's noteworthy work in net-zero and near-off-the-grid factory built homes makes him a pioneer, and that has lead him to a level of what might politely be described as frustration with the industry-at-large and its leaders for not promoting our factory-built home product, as his column above suggests.

As a recent Masthead blog post – Manufactured Housing's Declaration of Independence – underscored, market facts tell us our industry ought to be booming.

As on any issue of industry relevance, MHProNews accepts submissions of articles that may represent similar or other viewpoints. Subject line, “Letter to the Editor” or “OpEd for Industry Voices blog” can be sent to latonyk@gmail.com.

Moblehome, not Mobile Home

July 9th, 2014 5 comments

Does it not roll off your lips? Moblehome. It has a certain rhythm and melody to it. You can say it as one syllable, and not sound like an idiot.

Moblehome, as in a noble home, not a mobile home.

At one time HUD code homes were the only manufactured homes. Not any more.

Man-u-fac-tured-hous-ing, does not roll of your lips. In fact, it is quite laborious to say, with six syllables and no rhythm nor melody. It’s antiseptic. Moblehome is poetic.

Mobile Home is 100% all-American.

I know it’s crazy and against the grain, but I was in it long enough to spout off about it.

Mobile Home should not be a four letter word anymore.

I started in the mobile home finance business working for GECC in Dallas, in 1971, directly for Harry Gilmore, who worked for Fred Wiesenberger, who worked for Scott Conroy, my maternal uncle. Sometime prior to that, Uncle Scott had convinced General Electric to create a “Special Products” division of General Electric Credit Corporation, now GE Capital Corporation, for the sole purpose of offering wholesale and retail financing for mobile home retailers on a national basis.

At the time there were few national lenders, all full recourse, and limited to 84 month retail installment contracts.

I was a mobile home account manager handling about 1500 owners. I managed anything and everything to do with the financed home (primarily collections) from point of sale to completion of contract or repossession, by phone or in person at the residence.

Anyone who was in the business in 1971 knows exactly what kinds of mobile homes were offered to the public. It was not pretty, and in some cases, downright scary.

We all see, on a regular basis, unless you live completely in an urban environment, the vestiges and remnants of the sales heydays of the early 70’s.

There are hundreds of thousands of trailer houses and mobile homes across this country, from coast-to-coast and border-to-border, still in use, well after their intended life span, all pre-HUD, half of them currently uninhabitable by today’s standards, a fourth of them uninhabitable upon leaving the factory, and a fourth of them, like Rollohome, built exceeding the HUD code before there was a HUD code.

The HUD code created a new nomenclature, which has been described by Allen Wallis of

the Natural History Magazine as having four phases;

  • from 1928 – 1940 the travel trailer period;
  • from 1941 – 1954, the house trailer period;
  • from 1955 – June 14, 1976, the mobile home period; and
  • from June 15, 1976 to now, manufactured housing.

Since 1976, we, as an industry, without exception, no matter what sector of the industry one is involved with, as a group, were on a single mission; trying to eradicate all previous terms when describing manufactured housing built to HUD code specifications. It is a valiant and endless chore, perpetually trying to reach the general population, and primarily, our regulators and legislators.

Yet here we are, in 2014, and I still hear on local broadcasting; “trailer,” “trailer house” or “house trailer” and “mobile home,” rarely “manufactured home.”

On national broadcasting, one hears mobile home, an occasional trailer house or trailer park, and rarely, manufactured home.

I see National, State, and County elected officials being interviewed, saying trailer house and mobile home, never manufactured home. Sometimes they will call a HUD home a modular.

I cannot count the times an RV has been referred to as a mobile home, whether it’s a trailer or a motorhome. Motorhome, mobilehome, what’s the difference? Ignoramuses! Are the FEMA trailers ever called anything but the FEMA trailers, even though half of them are HUD code homes and not travel trailers. I doubt you will ever hear, “FEMA manufactured homes.”

I am not saying we have failed, but we sure seem to have a long way to go, after already working on it for 40 years. I have called and emailed I don’t know how many TV stations and networks complaining about their cavalier use of “trailer house” for the last 30 years, although I haven’t called lately. I don’t work in the business any longer, but I do follow it and I do try to educate morons from time to time.

The fact is, the general public has not embraced the term manufactured housing and probably never will. HUD Code manufactured homes are called about everything but manufactured homes by the general public and public officials.

Not mobile home, moblehome, or if you’re nutty about spelling, mobilehome, but one word and when we say it, we are not talking about your grand dad’s mobile home, we are talking about a state of the art, preferred single family residence, blah, blah, blah. I’m not saying give totally up on trying to get the general population to say

manufactured housing, but it’s a slow boat to China. I personally like to say moblehome and I make it perfectly clear I am not talking about a trailer, although the steel is always there, so technically, it’s a trailer with a house on it that trails behind a tow vehicle at some point in its life.

At least we are not called come alongs. ##

ken-haynes-jr-new-mexico-manufactured-housing-association-past-president-manufactured-housing-living-news-com75x75-Ken Haynes, Jr. Please see his commentary on the literally historic and very relevant today document attached to Drawn Quarters – Then and Now.

 

 

(Editor's Note: MHProNews strongly believes that accurate terminology matters, so the thoughts and statements made above are solely those of the writer.

Further, there are points in this commentary that are broad statements that could be construed as technically inaccurate, and should not be taken literally, eg; “half of them currently uninhabitable by today’s standards,” should be read as hyperbole to make the author's point, rather than taken as fact.

As on an issue of industry relevance, MHProNews accepts submissions of articles that may represent other viewpoints. Subject line, “Letter to the Editor” or “OpEd for Industry Voices blog” can be sent to latonyk@gmail.com.) 

The Lost Decade Isn’t Over Until We Say it Is

June 19th, 2014 No comments

A decade ago, a shipment slump hit the manufactured housing industry. It actually started earlier in 2000, but by 2004 it was undisputed that shipments had dipped all across the country. The hope was that this decline was no different from those that happened before. Surely, sales would pick up and the good life would return. Now ten years hence, those hopes have been dashed. A new normal has set in. But has it? Recently, I asked industry professionals from all across the country if they were satisfied with an annual shipment level of 60,000 units?

60,000 units is the high point over the past three years. This uptick has again convinced some that the good times are about to roll again. But really? The April shipment numbers show that for the year, 19 states have increasing shipment numbers, four states have no change and 25 states are still declining!

So, in total, a handful of states have sufficient shipment increases to mask the decline in a broader range of states.

Taking the long view, the industry since the dawn of the HUD code produced one million HUD code homes in just its first three years. Over the following years, the next million mark took 4 or 5 years but recently it took a full 12 years to go from 7 million homes to 8 million. At the industry’s current pace, it will take 17 years to reach 9 million total homes.

Production of homes of course is but one industry metric. The number of HUD code plants has declined from 550 to 123.

A move back to the average performance of the industry over the 2000’s (which would mean doubling today’s production levels) could be a starting point for an industry goal. How do we get there? First, we need to recognize that many of today’s challenges existed back then too. Finance obliviously is an even more severe hurdle for customers and the industry. But fundamentally, the industry must strengthen each of its building blocks.

average-shipment-per-decade-manufactured-home-posted-on-mhpronews-com

Customer demand leads to new sales which leads to new orders which leads to filled community sites.

How do we fuel customer demand?

Interestingly, my thought is that we begin with the desired outcome and work backward.

An honest assessment of unfilled sites would say that many are not very attractive. Empty sites often are next to undesirable homes or unkempt spaces. Not places where a customer would want to put their shiny new home. We can do better.

The lack of independent retailers is also a factor. Few points of sale means less industry advertising. Essentially in many markets, the industry has gone dark on TV and other media. Given today’s technology we can reach customers in inexpensive ways. We can do better.

Ozzie and Harriet would love our homes. Too bad, they only represent a very small share of today’s households. The recent MHI design award winners point the way to new ways to think about what customers want. Notice I didn’t say “need” because customer buy based on wants. Only the housing desperate buy based on need.

How do we get to a new brighter future? It all depends on whether you’re satisfied with 60,000 annual shipments. If you are, do nothing. If not, we have work to do. ##

ross-kinzler-wisconsin-housing-alliance-executive-director-posted-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-professional-news-mhpronews-com-75x75Ross Kinzler
Executive Director
Wisconsin Housing Alliance

MHGrassroots: A Call to Action

June 17th, 2014 No comments

As I sit comfortably in a 737 at 30000 feet coming back from a thought provoking meeting at the MHI Expo in Las Vegas I don't have to go in great detail on how the world has changed since 2001.

From how we fly, how we communicate, and even how we conduct business, it has all changed in ways none of us truly imagined then.

Every day I read more about how a government I have grown up loving, is making changes that contradict the core beliefs and attributes it was built upon. With that said, let's look at a few issues that have faced, primarily as it relates to the manufactured home market in the past 15 years.

In Texas we were asleep at the wheel in 2001 when House Bill 1869 took effect. I was but one of the many independent dealers who were wondering how this could have happened. I even looked Gov. Rick Perry in the eye and told him point blank that this bill would cost Texans jobs and would reduce home order sales, which in turn would force the closing of several fine manufacturing plants.

Unfortunately I and those around me were right. Even though the TMHA through a lot of hard work was able to have this poor piece of legislature repealed in 2003, the damage was already done.

I won't go into the specifics of the law itself, but I will say it was a killer from day one. If you have any questions about it, just Google it. I have heard the experts’ state that 85% of the independents who were in the market at that time were wiped out by this law and the recession that hit us in 2008. And guess what. Those folks are gone, probably never to return again.

So let's take a look at where the train came off the tracks.

We were too late to stop one train simply because we weren’t aware it was heading for the station.

If we want to be successful in the legislative arena we have to stop the bills before they get that close to the tracks. We, the industry as a whole, must be vigilant in being aware of any laws, in every city, county, state and federal arena that could negatively impact not only us, but the people around us.

This means we have to know, and have a relationship with, the people in charge. Governor Perry signed that bill even after I told him the truth. Why? Simple, he didn't know me from Adam. No relationship equals no traction. We have to build those relationships in order for our voices to not only be heard but to be accredited.

How was it fixed? A grassroots effort. From the ground up. TMHA called upon every member….who in turn called on every state senator and state representative to repeal a bad piece of legislation. And it worked! Why? Because the industry stood up as a whole, and worked together for the common good of all. I call this a victory for the good guys.

Let's look at another victory.

Last year I received a phone call from a landlord who was my ‘competitor’ in Plainview, Texas. I use that word competitor only because we are after the same pool of customers. I call him a friend.

Basically this city was in the process of creating a city ordinance which would require an inspection on every rental inside the city once it was vacated by a tenant. Never mind the fact that this would be in direct contradiction to the HUD code on a manufactured home. Every house, apartment, and mobile home would have to be brought back to current code if this law passed.

This would mean thousands of dollars spent to update every unit.

One unintended consequence of this law would have forced the citizens to pay rent in excess of three times the current rate.

Another would have riddled the city with homes to be demolished due to the repair cost being more then the value of the home.

Yet another would have been a mass exodus of good paying tenants to the surrounding communities which didn't have this law.

So how did we stop this calamity before it was passed like Texas House Bill 1869?

We showed up in droves. There was standing room only at every hearing. Meetings with every city official we could get and we killed it before it could even be heard by city council. How? It took one phone call from each of us who took the time to make that call. And another victory ensued.

So what does all this mean to you, the reader?

It's time. It is time to make a difference and make a call of your own.

I know you are busy, but don't blow this one off.

Dodd Frank and the SAFE Act are not going away. So what are you going to do? I am calling not only those of us in the industry, but all of us.

The government doesn't need us, but this country does. We are this country's answer to affordable housing. But if the people can't get financing for that home what good are we to them?

If you don't know who to call that's ok. Call your state association. If you are not a member, sign up. If you are a member, get active. Make a difference. You can. ##

shawn-fuller-d-r-housing-new-deal-texas-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-com-75x75-Shawn Fuller
D & R Housing, LLC.
New Deal, TX 79350