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Posts Tagged ‘law’

County Violated the Law in restricting placement of older Manufactured Homes?

November 12th, 2014 No comments

Tony,
We are currently working with Bulloch County, Statesboro, Georgia Code and Enforcement Department as it relates to the recent article you ran in the Daily Business News concerning community member backlash at the recent County Commissioners meeting where they basically devalued all pre-owned homes by limiting their movement and permit process.

The local Code and Enforcement Department was not aware that GMHA had crafted legislation concerning this several years ago. That law prohibits any Georgia Municipality from limiting permits or re-location based on the age of a home. We politely suggest to the counties who pass pre-owned home ordinances like this to read Senate Bill #384 as signed by the Governor. 

We do share some ways of limiting uninhabitable units from being approved by making a set of suggested requirements for individual county Building Inspectors or commissions based on their current housing inventory.

These suggestions may require the Installer to purchase a Completion Bond that cost about $200 per year. This Bond requires the Installer / Seller of the home to insure that all major systems such as electrical, plumbing are in working order.

This Bond can be used over and over but only on one working installation at the time. This Bond may include other cosmetic items such as home to have no missing metal, no missing vinyl, no missing shingles, etc. That the home has adequate entry and exits as well with no broken windows or structural damage. It may require no floor seams or floor damage inside the home.

The county can choose to not require a Bond, but just require certain system and cosmetic items be completed before allowing utilities.  What they can’t do is restrict a home based on age alone. If its restricted based on certain requirements, those requirements have to be published in advance. They can't include items generated at the time of install or the moment of permitting.

Please call if you have other questions, but I believe at the current time the Board of Commissioners have witnessed the true scorn of their voters and are now willing to compromise. Only time and actions will answer that question though.

Thanks,

jay-hamilton.jpgC. Jay Hamilton
Executive Director
Georgia Manufactured Housing Association

(Download of PDF of GA State Law on this issue is attached at the link here.)

Are Frameless HUDs a MOD under state laws? 

June 3rd, 2014 No comments

The question of whether a “frameless” factory built home might be considered a modular home under state law is an interesting question.

To me, if the definition of “manufactured home” is amended to delete the requirement that a manufactured home have a permanent chassis, it wouldn’t matter what state law says.

If a frameless home receives a HUD label, that label is preemptive and the home is a “manufactured home” within the federal meaning of that phrase.

What is more interesting is if the term “manufactured home” is amended to exclude RV trailers larger than 400 square feet so a larger RV trailer could be built, since that unit is not defined in a federally preemptive way, then yes, state law could define that unit as a modular home.

So for the RV industry to produce a non-regulated home at either the federal or state level, they would need to amend federal and all state laws. ##

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

 

(Editor's note: an industry savvy attorney, not affiliated with MHARR, who saw MHI's statement on frameless HUDs voiced concerns about the issue. See this article, supplied by MHI for publication.

http://www.mhpronews.com/mhi-news/7691-about-the-rvias-efforts-on-changing-some-language-in-the-hud-code-for-manufactured-housing

Jim Ayotte made this statement on a related issue;

http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/industryvoices/the-rv-industry-is-attempting-to-amend-the-hud-manufactured-housing-code/

As on any article of topic of industry interest – private or public (ie: for publication) – feedback on this subject is welcomed.)

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

Why the Continued Conflict?

March 8th, 2014 No comments

One has to ask themselves why this conflict continues? You ask what is the conflict and why do we as an industry need to concern ourselves with this issue? The answers are simple; the conflict is the continued divide between MHARR and MHI. The reason we must concern ourselves is obvious; industry unity will bring us further and faster than continued disunity.

I am not alone in asking this question about the root causes of the conflict.

Recently individuals from both inside the industry and the regulatory sector have written about the approach and tone of the messages sent by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform's (MHARR) President and CEO, Danny Ghorbani.

There is no reason for messages of the nature like the one linked here to continue.

Just this week the industry received some well needed good news that Pamela Beck Danner, JD, was appointed as the new Career Administrator for the HUD Manufactured Housing Program.

Rather than just leaving the message as a congratulatory letter, Danny stated that MHARR will challenge HUD’s change to the law regarding the position to being a career vs. non-career administrator.

Even if HUD has inappropriately changed the law, why send this widely distributed mixed message? Why not just congratulate Pamela and then quietly send HUD an objection that would not be widely distributed?

Continuing this pattern of creating conflict is not beneficial to anyone involved in Manufactured Housing regardless of which area of the industry one is involved in. Are these the types of messages that we want as we work to accomplish our industry goals? I think not.

Just think how much more our industry could accomplish by working together! It is critical that as an industry we focus on the target and develop a cooperative effort to move our goals forward.

Both organizations do not always have to agree; in fact we may agree to disagree. Even in that case, we must show our public unity and spend our collective time working on the core issues.

By not working together some think we weaken our message. By contrast, when we work together we can send a more powerful message to Congress, the Regulators and all others involved that we stand together to accomplish our collective goals.

Clearly MHI is moving the ball forward in this regard, on both the regulatory and legislative fronts. One might ask, if MHI can do it alone, without Danny Ghorbani/MHARR, will MHARR and Danny become politically irrelevant?

I have been in the Manufactured Home Community and Home Sales businesses for over 32 years. During this time I have worked with manufacturers that were members of both MHI and MHARR. In fact, some of the manufactures whom I purchased homes from were only MHARR members. Naturally, I have spent a great deal of time with the principals of these companies along with Danny discussing many issues.

We have developed close personal relationships from working together. From our times together I have learned much about many issues, some which I was not aware of previously, others that could affect my business. There have been issues on which we have not agreed upon, yet we never treated each other rudely or without mutual respect.

That is the type of relationship which both organizations must strive to maintain, especially in today’s difficult times.

Those of us in the business are all very conscientious of whom we choose to work with or purchase products from today. Our decisions are influenced by many factors; company history, price, service, product mix, warranty and personal relationships. I am about to purchase new homes to place in my communities. One consideration that I would be remiss to not consider in my decision making process is which manufacturers support the industry's goals that I support.

In addition, I have very strong reservations on working with a supplier who supports continued conflict and inappropriate messages being distributed by MHARR's CEO. Why would one work with a supplier who is not aligned with our industry's or my personal goals?

This is no different than one deciding to no longer buy homes from a manufacturer who lacks in timely, quality post-sale service and warranty support.

To financially support a manufacturer who through his association dues allows this discord and strife to continue in this small industry is questionable at best. We need to vote with our wallets! Maybe that will get the attention of those who fund the emailed or print messages that slow or harms our industry's message in Washington, DC.?

Maybe that would stop this avoidable and counterproductive multi-decade conflict. ##

rick-rand-great-value-homes-manufactured-home-pro-news-industry-voices-guest-blogRick Rand
Great Value Homes
Milwaukee, WI.

(Editor's Note, Rick stresses he is writing as an industry business professional, and not on behalf of any association. Rick was recently interviewed, see A Cup of Coffee with…Rick Rand., and is also in a video interview shown on the paged link here.)

Definition of a Manufactured Home

May 13th, 2013 No comments

Tony,

Recalling the important debate you started about defining “manufactured housing,” here is a very good one from of all places, Utah, which just enrolled this bill as law!

Manufactured home" means a transportable factory built housing unit:

127) constructed on or after June 15, 1976, according to the Federal Home Construction and Safety

128) Standards Act of 1974 (HUD Code), in one or more sections, which, in the traveling mode, is

129) eight body feet or more in width or 40 body feet or more in length, or when erected on site, is

130) 400 or more square feet, and which is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a

131) dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities, and

132) includes the plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, and electrical systems.

Attached below is the first few pages of the law for added context. Feel free to spread the word!

Utah State Legislature H.B. 71 US Official News May 11, 2013 Saturday sent by Rob Coldren.pdf

rob-coldren-posted-on-mhmsm(2).jpgRob Coldren|Senior Partner
HK&C Law
200 Sandpointe, 4th Floor | Santa Ana, CA 92707<
Tel.714-432-8700|Fax.714-546-7457
rcoldren@hkclaw.com|www.hkclaw.com

Another letter to Princeton’s WordNet Team about their Flawed Definition of a “Manufactured Home“

April 11th, 2013 No comments

(Editor's Note: As with the Jody Anderson letter, linked here, this letter from a MH Community Manager is reprinted with permission, and was sent in response to this blog post.)

Princeton WordNet Team.

To whom it may concern,
Far be it from me to take issue with a definition published by such an esteemed institution as yours, I still must.

A recent industry article informed me that your definition of "Manufactured Home" is as follows:

"Mobile home: a large house trailer that can be connected to utilities and can be parked in one place and used as permanent housing."

I am sorry, but referring to modern manufactured homes as a "trailer" or "mobile home" is akin to calling a 2013 Lexus sedan a "horseless carriage" or Princeton as a "school."

It is a disservice to our proud industry who serves as housing for 8% of Americans including the poor, lower-middle class, and even millionaires (at least one in my community).  

The definition belies how far our industry has come in the areas of quality and craftsmanship and subjugates us to the level of redneck/hillbilly shacks.

Thank you for your consideration on this matter.

Respectfully Yours:

james-cook-mhc-manager-ma-posted-industry-voices-mhpronews.comJames Cook,
MHC Property Manager.
Ph (401) 402-0373
Fax (815) 572-5255

(Editor's Note: this is how Princeton's WordNet “definition” appears online in Google:

The email address for the WordNet team is: wordnet@princeton.edu 

Please take a few moments and send them a message of your own, or use a variation on the one MH Retailer Jody Anderson sent, or like the fine one above from MHC manager James Cook, both of which we deem better than the one Tony Kovach sent, linked again here.)

Other messages besides these have been sent to WordNet, but we need more from You and Your MH Circle until Princeton U 'gets the message' and changes their terribly erroneous, so-called definition of a manufactured home. So take a moment now and please send a message to wordnet@princeton.edu. CC latonyk@gmail.com in your message to Wordnet, Thank you! )

Study Suggests Cities and Towns Should Accept New Manufactured Housing Communities

September 1st, 2010 No comments

William P. McCarty is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Justice at the University of Illinois-Chicago. His recent study took a look at crime in mobile and manufactured home communities. The findings: there is no significant difference between the rates of crime in manufactured home communities relative to other residential areas. The study concluded that cities and other municipalities should not be so reticent to allow the creation or expansion of manufactured home communities, and indeed suggests that communities have a vested interest in providing housing options for its citizens. The evidence in the study suggests that local regulators should seek to make sure that the permitting system is disposed towards allowing greater placement of manufactured home communities.

In an exclusive interview with MHMSM.com Reporter Eric Miller, McCarty offers some additional insights into crime and mobile home communities.

(Editor’s Note: Prof. McCarty uses the phrase “mobile home park” generically, although the Industry uses this phrase to differentiate homes built before the HUD Code of June 15, 1975, from “manufactured home community,” those built after that date.)

1. Why did you decide to take a look at crime in manufactured home communities?

I have always been interested in how the presence of certain types of businesses or other developments can affect crime. This type of approach has been taken through examinations of public housing structures, bars, and schools, for example, but it had never been done with mobile home communities. I became interested in mobile home communities due to the persistent stigma against this type of neighborhood. Even though the perception existed that these places were bad, I could not find a study that actually used solid data and methodology to test those negative assertions. Mobile home communities are also interesting from a criminological theory standpoint because they have historically been characterized by a lower-income and mobile population, two factors that often result in more crime. Conversely, they have historically been characterized by a homogeneous group of residents, which is a factor that often results in less crime. Factor in all of these interesting issues and I was excited to test the amount of crime in mobile home communities.

2. Can you tell me about the homes and communities you looked at?

There is a fairly diverse spectrum of mobile home communities in Omaha, NE. In total, there were 15 communities that covered 32 street blocks in the year 2000, which was when the data were collected. Some of those communities have many rental units, while those at the other end of the spectrum follow the estate model with owned units and land. In other words, they range from fairly dilapidated and poor conditions to very aesthetically pleasing and moderately affluent conditions. Nowadays, a couple of those communities have been torn down or abandoned.

3. Do you know anyone who lives in a manufactured home?

I do. I actually conducted interviews with a small sample of mobile home residents (approximately 20) in 2008. I have another manuscript currently under review that discusses the results from those interviews.

4. You mention that manufactured homes are often placed in blighted areas. Perhaps then it is remarkable the crime rate is on par with other communities.

There are two ways (if not others) to interpret this finding. On one hand, some theorists would agree with your conclusion, given the poor conditions where these communities are often placed. The broken windows perspective, for example, would posit that these dilapidated surroundings would be related to higher rates of crime. Other theorists may still find these rates higher than expected, due to the fact that there is a smaller concentration of people, businesses, traffic, etc., in these areas. In other words, one could argue that there are not a lot of readily available or apparent opportunities for crime in mobile home communities, when, for example, compared to a downtown block with bars, people walking around, businesses etc.

5. Do you think Omaha is a good representation of manufactured home communities elsewhere?

This is a very good question. The City of Omaha has demographics (e.g., income, racial composition) that closely mirror those of the United States. So, Omaha is often viewed as a good representation of the entire country in terms of its demographics. In terms of its mobile home communities, I would not be so certain that it is an excellent representation. My reasoning is that roughly 75% of mobile home communities are in rural areas (and you may have a better estimate of this than I do). The communities that I studied were of course located within the city. One aspect of this study I feel pretty confident about is that the mobile home communities in Omaha were diverse, from the more dilapidated looking parks all the way to the affluent ones and other parks in between. In other words, the average crime frequencies, etc., are somewhere between the extremes, which is what you want.

6. From my experience, manufactured home communities are more dense than many suburbs, often have porches or decks facing the street and so tend to be more neighborly and social. Does that design/architecture impact crime? Could there a kind of Jane Jacobs “eyes on the street” affect at work even here?

Good question. In Omaha, the design of the communities varied. Some of the communities had the decks and other outdoor space that you describe. Other communities did not have such amenities. Generally speaking, guardianship (in the Jacobs mold as you describe) can result in less crime. The variable, however, is how well the residents know one another. If residents know one another, those decks are great. John Doe is sitting on his deck and sees someone who is foraging around an adjacent unit. If he knows his neighbor well, he may realize that person does not belong. His suspicions would be aroused and he may call the police, alert the manager, or say something himself. Conversely, if John does not know his neighbors, he may be clueless about whether that person is up to trouble or is a relative of that person living there. Simply put, manufactured housing communities with a constantly changing population make it more difficult for effective informal social control (or guardianship) to take place. On the other hand, manufactured housing communities that are more stable allow residents to know and recognize one another, which make it easier for them to detect if something is amiss or suspicious.

7. In your opinion, does owning land have impact on the crime rate? On social mobility?

Without a doubt. Numerous studies in criminology have illustrated the importance of home and land ownership for helping decrease the rate of crime. People have a greater stake in their communities when they own something. If the community begins to erode or crime begins to increase, those residents are affected not only in the quality of their lives, but also their home and land value. This study illustrated the same thing in terms of mobile home communities. As the percentage of home ownership increased, the average rate of crime decreased. This finding held for all types of blocks.

In terms of social mobility, the result is the same. Owning an asset helps people move up the social ladder, if they desire. A smaller manufactured home can be sold to pay for a larger one. A manufactured home can be sold to have enough money for a down payment on a site built house, if someone desires. While this study did not test or explore social mobility, this logic has held in numerous other studies.

8. Did you look at any age-restricted communities? If so, what did you find? If not, what would you expect to find?

To the best of my knowledge, none of the communities studied were age restricted in 2000. Given prior research, elderly residents are, of course, less likely to participate or be victimized by crime. As a result, I would expect older communities to have less crime.

9. Does the density of a manufactured home community have any impact on safety?

I am unsure what you mean by safety. Population density is another variable that significantly affects crime. The issue of density seemed to be important in my study as well. When you compare the average raw frequencies of crime in mobile home communities to other types of neighborhoods, mobile home communities come out higher. In other words, mobile home communities, on average, had more crimes reported to police than other types of blocks. When you calculate a RATE of crime (frequency of crime divided by population), however, these differences go away. This suggests that mobile home communities experience higher frequencies of crime because they have more people concentrated in an area.

10. Did you discover anything that may not be related to the research, that you found interesting?

As I mentioned, I have another article under review that discusses the results of the interviews with residents, owners, and managers of mobile home communities in Omaha. One of the key themes seemed to be on-site management. This made a tremendous amount of difference in the quality of life in a mobile home community. I interviewed people from 6 of the 15 communities and I was amazed by how much the parks varied. On the low end, you had problems with fear of crime, gangs, etc. On the high end, you had residents who adored each other, helped each other out, and communicated well with the management structure. Another issue that I found interesting was that some communities have a growing number of minority residents, which has created some problems.

I enjoy studying life and crime in mobile home communities. I have a few additional studies planned. I want to stress that I have no agenda. I really enjoyed working with and talking to residents, owners, and managers. All types of communities have problems and issues and I want my research to help inform people and policy makers about how to make life better in these developments. The reason why I enjoy studying mobile homes is because I am fascinated by that whole “trailer trash” stereotype. I dislike when stereotypes are considered fact. I am a researcher. I like to test various ideas by using actual data and sound methodology.

William P. McCarty is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Justice at the University of Illinois-Chicago is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Justice at the University of Illinois-Chicago. He received his Ph.D. in criminal justice from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2008. His research interests include neighborhoods and crime, correctional staff and management, policing, and quantitative research methods.

by Industry in Focus Reporter Eric Miller for MHMSM.com Industry Voices