by RC Williams
In the great state of Indiana, a bill recently passed in the state house regarding manufactured housing dealerships that has a rather interesting twist.
House Bill 1119 was passed 94-0, and it places Manufactured Housing Dealers back into Indiana law.
The Indiana State Capitol building. Credit: Shutterstock.
According to the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association (IMHA), State Representatives Doug Miller (R-Elkhart) and Wes Culver (R-Goshen) co-authored the bill that moves dealers from their “voluntary status” to one that is recognized in Indiana statute under the Indiana Secretary of State Dealer Services Division.
Previously, manufactured home dealers were considered in statute, when the dealer services division was under the control of Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
When the division was moved to the Secretary of State, dealers still existed but dealer licenses were only voluntary.
The IMHA says that the bill became necessary because the industry has drastically changed the way that it sells homes, and manufacturers are now requiring those who sell their homes to be licensed dealers.
Credit: Manufactured Homes Directory.
In the past, manufactured homes were sold by dealerships with large inventories like an auto dealer, but now the vast majority of homes are sold in communities rather than from a dealer lot.
MHProNews has observed that nationally, the majority of manufactured homes are still sold by retailers, although the percentage going into communities has been rising for several years, often as rental units for larger MHC portfolio owners.
But in Indiana, the number of independent retailers plummeted after the 2008 crisis. For more insight, we reached out to IMHA Executive Director Ronald L. Breymier.
“This legislation will only apply to Indiana, and yes, Indiana has very few traditional MH retailers left. The majority of MHs sold in Indiana are sold through manufactured housing communities,” said Breymier.
Photo credit: TheLegisGroup.com
“As mentioned in the article, this changed sales environment requires state administrative adjustment to reflect the physical location of the ‘dealership’ selling from communities.”
“Those few that still operate as traditional dealers will still be operating in that fashion, but there will likely be different rules and regulations and requirements adopted to distinguish ‘in community sales centers’ from traditional MH dealerships. This is an initiative pushed and supported by our association.”
Due to the evolution in business practice, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson began working with the IMHA to prepare a rule that would reflect changes of this type.
The challenge that prompted the bill, however, was when the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) told the Secretary of State that dealers must be in statute before they can approve the rule. Therefore, IMHA had HB 1119 introduced to rectify the situation.
With the recent vote, the bill now moves on to the Senate Committee on Commerce for a hearing on March 9th.
Once the bill is approved, the Secretary of State will pursue administrative rule changes to modify the business requirements for manufactured homes sold by dealers located in manufactured housing communities. ##
(Image credits are as shown above.)
Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News on MHProNews.com.
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