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Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), National Communities Council (NCC), Data, Statements Trustworthy? Track Record, and Their Goals?

The short answer to the headline question is, “it depends.”

On some facts, such as the number of monthly shipments of manufactured homes, where more than one easy cross-check is available, MHI is reasonably accurate in reflecting third-party statistics.

But there are other subjects which they’ve published under their claimed mantle of speaking for all segments of the MH Industry. Among the documents and claims made to the general public, their claimed facts are a mix of accurate and inaccurate information.

A few examples below are from the MHI website, and/or other official MHI sources. They include, but are not limited to what follows.

FollowTheMoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDoThanWhatTheySayMartyLavin6MillionYachtManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNew

 

The Red-Hot MH Community Sector

Interest and investments in the MHC sector are high. Lenders and investors, as an MHI member company official told MHProNews, want and need trustworthy data. It’s important to members and the industry, not just a matter of curiosity.

I) The total number of manufactured home communities (land lease communities, a.k.a. ‘mobile home parks’ (some are indeed ‘MHParks,’ when they are primarily pre-HUD Code homes in them, but in most other cases that use that term or ‘trailer parks’ ought not to be applied).

A) In a May 2017 press release, MHI’s National Communities Council (NCC) stated there were some 38,000 manufactured home communities (MHCs). That indeed is close to the estimate of their member and supporter, MHVillage/DataComp (see screen capture of their association's published information, below).

2017 08 14 1023ManufacturedHousingInstitutePostedMHProNews

B) But their member MHPFunds/RV Horizons/Mobile Home University pits the count at 44,000 MHCs, which they state has been verified.  They’ve told MHProNews they believe the actual count may be closer to 45,000, or perhaps higher.

C) Their co-founding NCC member, George F. Allen, claims the MHC count is an estimated 50,000 properties.

3 different MHI members. Three different MHC tallies.

Note that the last member - in an emailed comment to MHProNews - said they are a “direct, dues-paying member” mainly to protect their interests against encroachment by MHI/NCC of their own work, services, and products.

Quoting Allen, “Yes, I continue to be a direct, dues-paying [MHI/NCC] member, more to protect my business interests from imitation than anything else.” Ouch.

So the question should be: how did MHI’s NCC make their choice between those three very different figures? 

With community closures and related issues on the rise, where is MHI’s action plan on this hot community focused issue?

Retail Manufactured Home Financing

Almost any honest, informed professional will say that financing - how much down, how much a month, and what credit requirements/points/fees/terms are needed - are critical for the success of any big-ticket item.  That includes housing sales.

At an MHI/NCC event, ELS’ chairman Sam Zell said that it was a failure for the industry (read MHI?) in securing its retail credit base.

SamZellELSChairManufacturedHomeMHINCCMemberIndustryInFocusMHProNews

Beyond Zell’s noteworthy concern, what about MHI publishing clearly erroneous information about manufactured home financing in information intended for the public? One must ask: did this information get proofed by experts?

Further, once the error was published, why has it been left uncorrected? 

We’ve publicly called this out before.  Yet as of 8.14.2017, MHI still have not made what could be an easy ten-minute fix.  What does that say about MHI?  

How many consumers read information from MHI - and trusting it - stopped considering a manufactured home?

FinancingManufacturedHomesMHILogoFiskIndustryInFocusReportsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

Facts, Flubs, Fibs, or Fiction?

MHI is a lobbying organization.  So why have they failed to obtain their own key agenda items for so many years?

KennyLipschutzQuotePoorJobOfLobbyinginMHIndustry postedMHProNews48thMHINCClist

Kenny Lipschutz is an MHI/NCC member.

Regarding communiques to their members, public officials or the media, several alleged errors, failures, and omissions by MHI on lobbying or other issues arise.

Since MHARR, MHProNews, and/or MHLivingNews or others have challenged them on such topics, and MHI leaders, members and staff are regular readers of MHProNews - what does that say about their organization?

If accuracy in facts matter for credibility and other practical reasons, then on issues MHI engages in, based upon examples like those shown, doesn’t there have to be a question mark behind many things that comes from the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and/or their National Community Council (NCC)?

Alleged - Conflicts of Interest? By Laws? Budgets? ScoreCards?

An MHI insider tells MHProNews that the organization was incorporated in Illinois. Under state law, there appears to be several state law issues that relate to conflicts of interest.

“Elections” at MHI for their Executive Committee - which is where the organization’s elected power is vested - are problematic at best, say sources.

MHI members have told MHProNews that they already consider the new slate of Executive Committee members to be "a done deal."

If so, then are MHI elections a subterfuge?

A few years ago, member George Allen challenged that body with a slew of hand-carried proxy votes. But without bylaws being made widely available to the members or the public, how can one know if Allen won?

GeorgeFAllenManufacturedHomeCommunitiesCommunityInvestorDailyBusinessNewsIndustryInFocusMHProNews

 

The question should not be construed to imply support for Allen, but rather as a legitimate question about the validity, integrity, and legality of their organizational management processes.

More MHI Alleged Errors, Half-Truths,

Omissions, and Position Shifts - Communicated to their Own Members

There are several examples. To keep this brief, we won't rewrite previous reports. But we will hereby provide links to several issues, analysis, and concerns raised by professionals inside and outside of MHI.

MHI has been given several opportunities to address these concerns. Neither in their own emailed updates, nor directly to MHProNews, has MHI ever... 

  • Denied, or attempted to debate any of the items below.

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Press Releases

Zoning, Opening up Urban Infill and Making Sure Citizens who want Manufactured Homes are Heard

by Ed Schafer For the last three or four years, the South Carolina association’s focus is to move beyond killing bad zoning proposals and working to reopen areas that have been closed to manufactured homes for many years.

Schafer, Ed %COMMENTS 05-09-2016 September 2016

Zoning Eased to Allow MH for Flood Victims

Following up on a story concerning the flooding in Minot, North Dakota last spring, KFYR-TV reports the Minot City Council is relaxing zoning requirements to allow manufactured homes to be sited in areas not previously zoned for them, sometimes to the chagrin of neighbors. Working on a case by case basis, many of the homes [...]...

Matthew Silver %COMMENTS 09-05-2012 Daily Business News

Zoning Commission Recommends against Expansion of Manufactured Home Community

The Yellowstone County Zoning Commission unanimously turned down a zone change application that would have allowed Cherry Creek Estates manufactured home community (MHC) to expand by adding as many as 80 manufactured homes, reports billingsgazette. While the Yellowstone County Board of Commissioners will have the final say when it meets in...

Matthew Silver %COMMENTS 12-04-2016 Daily Business News

Zoning Changes on Tap for Manufactured Housing

A new proposal from the Columbus Junction (Iowa) Planning and Zoning Commission to the city council would create a manufactured housing (MH) district, and delete MH from R-2 and R-3 residential districts. According to muscatinejournal.com, current ordinances require any MH outside of a community to be placed on a permanent foundation and converted...

Matthew Silver %COMMENTS 27-09-2013 Daily Business News

Zoning Changes Could Affect Manufactured Housing

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Williams, RC %COMMENTS 04-03-2017 March 2017

Zoning Changes Allow Modular Units

Following up on a story we last posted May 2, 2012 about modular medical units temporarily placed on a property to house loved ones with special needs, MHProNews has learned several states, including Virginia, New York, and California have enacted legislation to allow these units to override local regulations and be sited on properties not [...]...

Matthew Silver %COMMENTS 24-07-2012 Daily Business News