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Manufactured Home Communities – aka “Mobile Home Park” – Closures – Viewpoint by Marty Lavin

April 23rd, 2017 No comments

As with many things in life, the matter of park closings is highly complicated with few easy answers.

Probably the best answer is to allow the park residents the option to purchase the property. Not fool proof, but meets the burden of the failure of the park owner to allow residents to maintain the perpetual rental of space for their home, which is implicit in buying a home in the property.

When most (manufactured home community residents) buy a home in the property, rarely if ever is he handed a notice that the community could be closed on short notice, their only relief being whatever measure their state or city has for park closings. Most residents rarely consider park closings as a threat till the specter arrives.

On the other hand, in a capitalist nation we still behave in some areas as though the park owners have no legal responsibility to allow the residents to stay, and can sell the property to others at will, and empty the community with little hindrance or concern, again, subject to whatever relevant laws control the closing.

I have been surprised in areas where park closings are common that authorities do not compel a statement be given in writing as part of the move-in process alerting the new resident of the right of the park owner to sell or close the community and what compensation, if any, is available to the resident on closing.

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Headlines and these graphic are provided by MHProNews, as is customary with many in media.

I’m also wondering, but not enough to research the subject, whether upon notice of closing, residents should get an attorney to plead their case that the park owner allowed them to have a home in the park, often encouraging their entry, knew or had reason to know most people would get a long term mortgage to purchase their home. Often at closure, many years mortgage term remain unpaid. It is here the lender gets the downside loss, and is not particularly beneficial for the home owner.

Remember, it is not unusual that when the home must be moved or resold because of a closing, the stars do not line up well for the home owner. First, the home must be moved, there as a cost of moving and the difficulty of finding a lot to accommodate the home. Quite a hand full, usually not ending well, unless the state laws give some protection to the resident. The process is pretty destructive of our financially fragile customer base.

Frankly, this mercenary park closing without adequate compensation for the resident is morally wrong if not legally. It does no credit to the industry that so much of this happens.

Meanwhile, I was amused that people are forming groups to try to save endangered parks to keep them open.

I wondered where these folks were in the 1970s when I was doing park development zoning in the north east.

At virtually every meeting, the facility used had to be upgraded to the school gym to handle all the attendees. All seem to me to be carrying tar and feathers and had mean looks in their eyes. How many parks could have been built to accommodate the demand had there been far less resistance? Who knows, but far more. And it continues even today.

I guess that train has passed, but the California boys being pretty bright, I’m sure they are still trying to build parks in less expensive land areas. How is that going? ##

(Editor’s Note: The commentary above is in response to the mainstream media article, linked here. Lavin is the winner of MHI’s Totaro Award for his lifetime contributions in financing, was a mobile and manufactured home retailer, as well as  an owner/operator of manufactured home communities.  Some of Lavin’s other insightful, popular commenataries are linked below.)

MartyLavinTotaroAwardFinanceAwardManufacturedHousingIndustryVoicesMHProNews

Photo from Mary Lavin, Esq.

MARTIN (Marty) LAVIN
Att’y, Consultant, Expert Witness
in Manufactured Housing.
350 Main Street
Burlington, VT 05401
802.238.7777

 

Recent, also by Marty Lavin:

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/industryvoices/not-enough-hunger/

MartyLavinJDExpertWitnessTataroAwardWinner-NotEnoughHunger-IndustryVoicesMHProNews--500x365

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/industryvoices/deja-vu-again-a-new-manufactured-housing-institute-mhi-initiative/

FHFA, GSEs and the Duty To Serve Manufactured Housing – Mark Weiss, JD – Viewpoint

December 14th, 2016 No comments

Chattel lending is crucial to the availability of affordable manufactured housing for American families, representing as much as 80% of consumer loans for the purchase of new manufactured homes.

Knowing this, Congress specifically included manufactured home chattel loans in the “Duty to Serve” provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

The total exclusion — thus far — of those loans from two proposed DTS implementation rules is, therefore, incomprehensible and has never been explained or justified in any credible way by either the GSEs or the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

TenYearDelayDutyToServeGSEsManufacturedHousingMMarkWeissManufacturedHousingAssociationForRegulatoryReformIndustryVoicesMHProNews-

The headline and graphics on this page are provided by MHProNews, and not the writer. Other viewpoints on this or other manufactured housing related topics are welcome. Image credit, MHProNews.

The nearly ten year delay in properly implementing this simple and straightforward congressional directive has harmed both consumers – who have been left hanging with no remedy — and the industry, which continues to suffer from unnaturally low production levels due to discrimination by the GSEs.

While a mandatory pilot program including chattel loans – combined with a specific commitment to transition to a full “going basis” securitization model within a short and finite timeframe — would potentially be a step forward, a chattel “pilot program” in itself would not fulfill the mandate of DTS. ##

M-MarkWeiss-MHARRPresident-ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform-posted-MHProNews-com-75x75-Mark Weiss, JD
President & CEO
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)
1331 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Suite 512
Washington, D.C. 20004

Titus Dare’s View on Dr. Ben Carson for HUD Secretary

December 5th, 2016 No comments

Very poor choice!

There are numerous qualified people who can do great things for affordable housing.

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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.

Mr. Armstrong, the conservative scribe, just made the ridiculous comments that:

1) Carson was taking the job because Trump was forcing him.

2) Carson would be good for HUD because he spent some time in his youth living in subsidized housing.

What?

And I would be a good surgeon because I took chemistry in high school.

This revolutionary thought process for our U.S. Government should be run by folks that have at least a bit of history leading a mohair governmental agency such [as] HUD. Very disappointing! ##

titusdareeagleonefinancialsvprealestatedevelopmentconstruction-postedindustryvoicesmhpronewsTitus Dare
EVP – Development & Construction
Eagle One Financial

Putting the Right Pieces in Place

August 5th, 2010 1 comment

MHARR VIEWPOINT – AUGUST 2010
By Danny D. Ghorbani

MHARR logoThe first step in solving a problem — any problem — is admitting to yourself that there is a problem, that the problem is real and that it exists. The second step, and perhaps the most difficult, is to accurately assess and define the problem, so that one or more potential solutions can be considered, weighed and, ultimately, implemented.

By any objective measure, the HUD Code manufactured housing industry has a problem. Over more than ten years, production and sales have plummeted. From a modern high of more than 373,000 homes in 1998, production in 2009 fell to below 50,000 homes. The trend in the statistics, moreover, has been steadily downward, and appears — over the long-term — to transcend both positive and negative changes in the broader economy and the broader housing market. No amount of happy talk or glad-handing can paper over this fundamental fact — the status quo for the industry and its consumers is unacceptable, and must be changed.

But that is the easy part. The more difficult part is defining the problem as an avenue to arriving at solution(s) that will work. To start, we can identify what is not a problem — and that is our relations, as an industry, with Congress and the lawmakers in Washington, D.C., who pass the laws that govern our comprehensive regulation by HUD and the finance programs and entities that impact the ability of lower and moderate-income Americans to purchase industry products that they can afford without costly subsidies.

The track record of the industry and its representation in Washington, D.C. within this realm is quite good, and the reason is very simple — manufactured housing and the manufactured housing industry are favored by legislators in Congress. And for good reason. The industry provides jobs that will stay here in America, without outsourcing. The jobs that the industry provides are well-paying manufacturing jobs, typically located in the heartland of the country, where the success or failure of the broader economy is largely determined. The industry, moreover, produces homes that provide affordable home-ownership for American families at all income levels without tax-funded subsidies. The industry, therefore, provides a vital resource — affordable home-ownership — without asking for tax dollars, only parity with other types of housing in various government housing programs, such as FHA programs.

So, Congress has been good to the industry. In 2000, it passed the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act, to take manufactured housing into the 21st century and complete its legal and policy transition to the legitimate housing. In 2008, aware of the trouble that consumers were having with financing, Congress included two critical manufactured housing provisions in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) — the “duty to serve underserved markets,” designed to expand and improve private financing and end discrimination against manufactured housing by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), and FHA Title I and Title II improvements, designed to expand and improve public financing for manufactured homes financed as chattel, real estate and as part of land-home packages.

These are all good laws, designed to promote the availability and use of affordable manufactured homes. These laws should have fostered an industry boom in the solid national economy of the years following 2000 — with an industry expansion involving hundreds of thousands of homes — and should be helping to foster an industry revival now, in a post-recession economy. At least that was the hope — and the theory. But, things have gone wrong, and therein lies the problem.

The problem is that none of these good laws are being implemented in the way that Congress wanted, and expected. The 2000 reform law has been gutted by HUD regulators and attorneys. There is no — and has been — no appointed program Administrator for most of the past ten years. Enhanced preemption has never been implemented. The MHCC — the real centerpiece of the 2000 law — is being turned into another rubber-stamp “advisory council.” Its proceedings have been taken over by program regulators and a large chunk of its authority was taken away when HUD — without any public comment — read catchall section 604(b)(6) out of the law, which required HUD to bring enforcement policy and practice changes to the Committee.

HERA-based FHA Title I improvements have fared no better. Inexplicably delayed for years, those improvements are now finally being implemented, but their impact appears likely to be minimized by recently announced Ginnie Mae requirements for the securitization of new Title I loans ($10 million minimum adjusted net worth plus 10% of outstanding manufactured housing mortgage-backed securities) that will severely restrict access to the program by the new lenders that will be needed to appreciably increase the availability and number of manufactured housing loans for consumers.

Similarly, the proposed rule to implement DTS published on June 7, 2010, represents a major disconnect with the intent and objectives of Congress that, if implemented, will predictably fall well short in helping to end the discrimination against manufactured homes by the GSEs, that lies at the root of the current near-unavailability of manufactured home financing.

Despite good relations with Congress, then, and good laws passed for the benefit of the industry and its consumers, the results have not matched expectations. The implementation of each of these laws, by relevant federal agencies, has not come even close to what Congress wanted. And in certain respects, these agencies are openly defying clear congressional directives.

The pattern, therefore, is clear. Congress tries to help the industry and, then … nothing — or close to nothing or, sometimes, worse than nothing. For an industry that is comprehensively regulated by the federal government and, thus, thrives or declines based on decisions made in Washington, D.C., this is — and has been — a prescription for trouble. As an industry, we have an obligation, to ourselves and to our consumers, to question — to ask why this is happening, and how it can be fixed before much of the industry falls by the wayside, leaving only a handful of survivors. MHARR is asked constantly why the industry is so impotent in Washington, D.C. in the face of continual resistance by regulators and other administrative types to the proper implementation of the good laws that Congress provides us. MHARR , in response, has studied this issue, going back over the history of the industry’s presence and involvement in Washington, D.C., dating back to the start of federal regulation, to find workable solutions, and will share its findings and suggestions in the September 2010 MHARR Viewpoint.

In MHARR’s view, the industry’s inability to implement critical laws despite strong Congressional support lies at the core of the industry’s difficulties, and needs to be addressed decisively.

MHARR is a Washington D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of federally-regulated manufactured housing.