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“Washington Post Article Underscores Clear Need for An Independent Post-Production Association”

  • Written by Mark Weiss

MHARRA recent article in the Washington Post regarding the HUD manufactured housing program and the reassignment of former program administrator, Pamela Danner, vividly highlights the glaring need for a new, independent, collective, national trade association to more effectively represent the industry’s post-production sector.  


While the Post article, published May 2, 2018, was surprisingly objective in describing MHARR’s successful effort to change the leadership of the HUD program following the election of President Trump (noting that the Manufactured Housing Institute, by contrast, “did not weight-in on [Pamela] Danner’s reassignment”), the story concluded with an all-to-typically-negative account of late-2017 post-production enforcement activity by HUD regulators focused on homes sited in a Massachusetts manufactured housing community. That HUD and a Washington Post reporter would focus on a post-production regulatory issue and related post-production enforcement activity, however, is not, in itself, surprising, given HUD’s evolving – and expanding -- regulatory emphasis on post-production matters and post production issues. 


Indeed, such growing emphasis by HUD and its defactoenforcement contractors (i.e., the Institute for Building Safety and Technology and SEBA Professional Services, L.L.C.) – and others -- on post-production issues and post-production targets, is an entirely predictable by-product of the success of the industry’s production sector in two crucial areas, and represents a majorchallenge that the broader industry must now step-up to effectively address and resolve.


The first area in which the success of the production sector is inevitably driving regulatory “mission creep” toward the post-production sector (in the absence of an independent, collective, national post-production association), is the modern industry’s unequalled ability to produce safe, high-quality homes that comply with all applicable federal standards, at an inherently affordable price-point.  Data compiled on behalf of HUD proves this point.  In the July 2015 edition of the “MHARR Viewpoint,” MHARR observed that according to HUD’s federal dispute resolution contractor, of the 123,174 HUD Code manufactured homes placed in 23 federally-administered dispute resolution (DR) “default” states between 2008 and 2014, only 24 homes -- or .019% -- were referred to federal dispute resolution, a process encompassing, and available to, homeowners, producers and installers.  Of those 24 referrals, only 3 – or .002%-- were found to actually qualify for dispute resolution under applicable HUD regulations.  Given those undisputed facts, MHARR pointed out that federal DR referrals “are a direct barometer of compliance with the relevant construction and installation standards, and the responsiveness of regulated parties (including manufacturers, installers and retailers) to homebuyers.” 



Second, and closely-related to the production sector’s high-level of compliance with applicable standards and correspondingly high-levels of consumer satisfaction, has been the highly-effective (as illustrated by the Washington Post article itself) national-level representation of independent HUD Code producers by MHARR, with its emphasis – and prime mission, as set forth in its founding charter – on fair and reasonable federal regulation that is fully-compliant with all applicable law. Since MHARR’s founding as a production-sector organization in 1985, therefore, HUD Code manufacturers have had a strong, independent, collective, national voice in Washington, D.C., to advocate on behalf of their interests, to hold federal regulators accountable for their actions, and to seek a regulatory climate which – as required by law – maintains a proper balance between protection and affordability. 

 As with everything else, though, success within the production realm has been paralleled by challenges in other areas which the industry has failed – and continues to fail -- to effectively address, precisely because it lacks an independent, collective, national voice to lead and advocate on those matters on behalf of the industry’s post-production sector. And, as the Washington Post article demonstrates, with just a single example, those challenges will continue to fester and expand, limiting the growth potential of the industry as a whole and the availability of inherently affordable manufactured housing for millions of lower and moderate-income American families, unless and until this underlying issue is properly addressed and resolved.


 Put differently, the industry’s success in the production realm has elevated HUD Code manufactured housing to a level of quality comparable to any other type of home and, simultaneously, a level of value that exceedsother types of housing, because of the significantly lower acquisition cost of manufactured homes for consumers. While undeniably positive and beneficial for both consumers and the industry, this evolution of manufactured housing, perse, as a product, has had the correspondingly negative effect of shifting much of the focus and attention of industry adversaries, detractors and regulators to what transpires afterthese outstanding homes leave the factory, with profoundly negative impacts for both the post-production sector and the industry as a whole. These adversaries, detractors and regulators -- like flowing water naturally seeking lower ground -- have figured-out how to attack and take advantage of the post-production sector as the weak link in the industry’s growth and progress. 


Nor are these issues -- and their negative impacts -- confined strictly to “regulation,” perse. Continuing significant problems in areas such as financing, installation/placement, zoning, and an overall plan of action to advance the industry and its products, just to name a few, are the obvious initial challenges which recent history has shown cannot be effectively addressed and resolved unless and until there is an independent, collective, national association to represent the industry’s post-production sector. Indeed, the post-production sector today is arguably at the same juncture that the industry’s production sector was in the early 1970s, facing a stubborn stigma that led to negative publicity for the industry as a whole (as exemplified by the infamous, early-1970s “60 Minutes” expose) and other similar developments, ultimately leading to the enactment of the 1974 federal manufactured housing law. 


Thus, an initial list of tasks to be addressed and resolved by a new independent, collective, national post-production association would necessarily include, but not be limited to:


  • All aspects of manufactured home consumer financing, including secondary market support for -- and securitization of -- all types of manufactured home loans in market-significant numbers by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA) and all other sources of government-supported or sponsored home loans; 
  • Effectively opposing and combatting restrictive zoning ordinances and other baseless restrictions, which have prevented the development of new manufactured housing communities and have otherwise been used to exclude manufactured homes from vast areas of the United States; 
  • Ensuring reasonable, cost-effective installation and placement criteria that promote a proper policy balance between regulation and affordability consistent with federal manufactured housing law; 
  • Promoting increased community responsibility while simultaneously empowering communities in dealing with federal, state and local governments; and 
  • Exploring and developing national advertising and other related national promotional opportunities to advance the growth and prosperity of the industry.  

And the list does not end there, as there are manyother areas in which an independent, collective, national post-production association would – and would need– to function, in order to advance the industry, promote full and vigorous competition, encourage new businesses to enter the HUD Code market, and simultaneously protect consumers.

Significantly, this is not, cannot – and mustnotbe – an “academic” debate, for the simple and self-evidentreason that unless and until such an independent, collective, national post-production representation is established (or, more accurately, re-established), the growth and expansion of the industry will continue to be needlessly stifled, notwithstanding an economic environment where the need for affordable, non-subsidized housing and homeownership – as provided by manufactured housing – has never been greater. To be sure, there are today, individuals and organizations which claim to advance the industry’s post-production sector.  But seminars, tours, books and meetings are no substitute for a strong post-production sector advocacy organization.  Instead, decisive action will ultimately be required to help move the industry toward a more prosperous future for allof its members and not just a few corporate conglomerates.



Mark Weiss

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

“MHARR-Issues and Perspectives” is available for re-publication in full (i.e., without alteration or substantive modification) without further permission and with proper attribution to MHARR. 

Washington Post Article on HUD MH Program

  • Written by Mark Weiss

MHARRThe Washington Post has published an article (see, copy attached) concerning the HUD manufactured housing program and MHARR’s efforts in 2017 to change the leadership of the program in order to comply with applicable federal law.

Although the article is self-explanatory, an important point that I stressed in speaking with the author does not stand-out in the article – i.e., that MHARR’s principal objective is to seek, compel and ensure fullHUD compliance with all applicable federal laws relating to manufactured home production and, conversely, to oppose deviations from applicable law that could harm either producers or consumers. Thus, insofar as the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 requires the appointment of a non-career administrator for the manufactured housing program in order to ensure both visibility, responsiveness and accountability, MHARR has consistentlysought and demanded a proper appointee in accordance with that law. 

In accordance with this fundamental mandate and mission, MHARR will continue to seek the full and proper implementation of the 2000 reform law with Trump Administration officials at HUD, including but not limited to: (1) the appointment of a non-career program administrator; (2) full utilization of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) in accordance with the 2000 reform law (including proper collective representation of the industry); (3) repeal of HUD’s unlawful 2010 “Interpretive Rule” on section 604(b)(6) of the 2000 reform law, and the full implementation of that section to require prior MHCC review and full rulemaking for all changes to HUD procedures and practices regarding enforcement and/or “monitoring;” (4) the solicitation and selection of a new program monitoring contractor – in accordance with the 2000 reform law’s definition of “monitoring” – based on full and fair competition; and (5) completion and implementation of the “top-to-bottom” program regulatory reform review currently underway at HUD pursuant to Executive Orders 13771 and 13777. 


HUD Code Production Increases in February 2018

  • Written by Mark Weiss

MHARRWashington, D.C., April 3, 2018 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) reports that according to official statistics compiled on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), year-over-year manufactured housing industry production increased again during February 2018. Just-released statistics indicate that HUD Code manufacturers produced 8,065 homes in February 2018, a 10.2% increase over the 7,312 HUD Code homes produced during February 2017.  Cumulative industry production for 2018 now totals 16,701 homes, a 10.3% increase over the 15,139 HUD Code homes produced over the same period in 2017.

A further analysis of the official industry statistics shows that the top ten shipment states from the beginning of the industry production rebound in August 2011 through February 2018  — with cumulative, monthly, current year (2018) and prior year (2017) shipments per category as indicated — are:


The latest information for February 2018 results in no changes to the cumulative top ten list.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.

Final HUD “Guidance” Letter and News Release

  • Written by Mark Weiss


Washington, D.C., April 25, 2018 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), citing recent rulings by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) stating that DOJ would no longer use its authority to enforce Executive Branch agency “guidance” documents in civil court enforcement actions relating to alleged violations of federal health, safety, civil rights and environmental laws, has called on HUD to formally repeal manufactured housing regulatory “guidance” documents which should have been published for notice and comment and subjected to Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) review pursuant to section 604(b)(6) of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, but were not. MHARR, in the same April 25, 2018 communication (copy attached), also calls on HUD to repeal a 2010 “Interpretive Rule” which erroneously construes section 604(b)(6) of the 2000 reform law to require notice and comment rulemaking and MHCC consensus review onlyfor HUD regulatory actions that would otherwise constitute “rules” within the meaning of the federal Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

For decades, the HUD manufactured housing program used “guidance” and other psuedo-regulatory pronouncements to evade the rulemaking requirements of both the APA and the original Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.  When Congress sought to put an end to this abusive practice by including section 604(b)(6) in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 – which, on its face, requires prior MHCC review and rulemaking for any new or modified “policies, practices or procedures” relating to “standards, regulations, inspections, monitoring or other enforcement activities” – HUD promptly ignored Congress’ clear directive, ultimately issuing the 2010 Interpretative Rule, which effectively and unlawfully read section 604(b)(6) out of the law, by limiting its application to “rules” that already require rulemaking under the APA.

This action to negate the clear and unambiguous will of Congress (with the passive acceptance of some within the industry), effectively opened the floodgates to a train of ever-increasing abuses during the Obama Administration – and particularly under the tenure of former program Administrator Pamela Danner – which saw multiple new, costly and needlessly burdensome defactoregulatory mandates imposed by HUD via “field guidance” and so-called “Standard Operating Procedures,” which were never brought to the MHCC for prior review, or published for notice and comment. These include, but are not limited to: HUD’s massive expansion and re-direction of in-plant regulation; “frost-free” foundation “guidance,” which effectively modified an existing regulation; new and modified requirements for attached garages and other “add-ons;” baseless restrictions on multi-family manufactured housing; and memoranda relating to on-site completion, among other things.  Such actions – and many other similar pseudo-regulatory mandates — have significantly harmed both manufacturers (particularly smaller independent producers) as well as the industry’s post-production sector, by needlessly increasing regulatory compliance costs and simultaneously undermining the industry’s ability to compete with other segments of the housing market. Through these devices, and through the unchecked and unaccountable activities of its program “monitoring” contractor (set forth in a non-competitive contract which itself violates multiple aspects of federal law), HUD has developed – and enforces — an entire secondary tier of unlawful mandates under the guise of “interpretations” and “guidance.”

Recognizing the extremely damaging effects of such psuedo-regulation and reflecting the regulatory reform policies of the Trump Administration, the DOJ, in its rulings issued on November 16, 2017 and January 25, 2018, determined that it will no longer “use noncompliance with guidance documents as a basis for proving violations of applicable law” in civil lawsuits to enforce federal health and safety laws, such as the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, as amended by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.  To the extent that HUD’s manufactured housing “guidance” documents conflict with this ruling and Trump Administration regulatory policy, MHARR’s April 25, 2018 communication calls for their retraction and repeal as part of HUD’s Executive Order (EO) 13771/13777 “top-to-bottom” regulatory review of the federal manufactured housing program. Similarly, insofar as the DOJ rulings show that HUD’s 2010 Interpretive Rule is fundamentally erroneous and fatally flawed, MHARR’s communication calls once again for the repeal of that rule.

In Washington, D.C., MHARR President and CEO, Mark Weiss, stated: “The Justice Department, which is charged with bringing civil actions to enforce federal health and safety laws, has now made it crystal clear that HUD may not use sub-regulatory ‘guidance’ documents that have not been considered by the MHCC and have not gone through rulemaking, in order to impose new or modified mandates on manufacturers of HUD Code homes, and new unnecessary costs on manufactured home purchasers. The tragedy is that Congress itself said exactlythe same thing nearly two decades ago when it included section 604(b)(6) in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. The time has come for HUD to finally obey the law as written, and its ongoing EO 13771/13777 review of all existing and pending regulations and “regulatory actions” offers the perfect opportunity for HUD to formally renounce both the fatally-flawed 2010 “Interpretive Rule” and its pile of invalid pseudo-regulatory “guidance” documents – before the Justice Department, or a federal judge, does it for them.”

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.



“MHARR Leadership Continues to Produce Results for Industry”

  • Written by Mark Weiss

MHARR“MHARR Leadership Continues to Produce Results for Industry”

MHARR, as an organization, has always been tasked with being a leader on the issues it addresses. Established by industry pioneers in 1985, MHARR was not designed, and was never intended to be, a status quo organization given to complacency, pulling punches, or “going along” with regulators, industry detractors, or anyone else. It was formed, instead, to be an aggressive fighting force on behalf of manufactured housing industry businesses.


MHARR’s primary “objective,” from day-one, as its Charter attests, has been to “oppose abusive [regulatory] practices.” In pursuing this mission, MHARR’s principal focus has always been the federal manufactured housing regulatory program. But the HUD program is not, and never has been, MHARR’s sole focus, as government activity (or inactivity) in other areas, such as consumer financing, placement and development issues, and others, have had – and continue to have – a significant (negative) impact on the industry and especially its smaller businesses.


While the fight to protect, defend and advance the HUD Code industry took a major step forward with the enactment of the landmark Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, the years that followed, and particularly the eight years of the Obama Administration, were difficult, as HUD was able – sometimes with the tacit support of some in the industry – to evade, distort, or ignore major statutory reforms, including: (1) the requirement for an appointed, non-career program administrator; (2) mandatory Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) review of all proposed standards, regulations, interpretations and other changes to HUD policies, procedures and practices; (3) the requirement for “separate and independent” contractors; (4) limitations on the scope and nature of “monitoring;” (5) enhanced federal preemption; and (6) the absence of full and fair competition for program contracts, as exemplified by the 40-year-plus program “monitoring” contractor, among other things.


Very early in 2016, however, and well prior to the election of President Trump, MHARR began to recognize – based on painstaking evaluation and analysis of the President’s specific campaign positions – that there would be an unprecedented opportunity under a Trump Administration to change the focus, direction and leadership of the federal manufactured housing program based on the letter and intent of the 2000 reform law, to stop excessive or unreasonable regulations (and regulatory “interpretations”), and to roll-back other aspects of federal regulation that needlessly increase the cost of manufactured housing while doing little or nothing for consumers. Now, slightly more than a year later, with the 2016 election having made MHARR’s recognition of this opportunity and its corresponding plan of action a reality, the results of that plan of action can be assessed.




MHARR, immediately upon the election of president Trump – and alone within the industry – publicly called for the re-assignment and replacement of HUD manufactured housing program administrator Pamela Danner. In a December 1, 2016 communication to Vice President-Elect Pence (heading the Administration’s transition team), MHARR formally sought the reassignment of Ms. Danner and the appointment of a new non-career program administrator. MHARR explained at the time, “[T]he appointment of a non-career manufactured housing program administrator – in accordance with the 2000 reform law and, just as importantly, the policy perspectives of the President-Elect -- is essential to revitalize this program, ensure the full and proper implementation of the 2000 reform law, and re-energize an industry which has suffered unprecedented production declines over the past decade-plus.”



MHARR reiterated the urgent need – and necessity for – the appointment of a new, non-career program administrator once again on December 6, 2016, and subsequently raised this matter in every interaction it had with Trump Administration officials at HUD. Others in the industry, by contrast, were publicly silent on this desperately-needed change through most of 2017.


As a result of MHARR’s public leadership on this matter from the outset, the prior manufactured housing program administrator, as announced by HUD in late 2017, was re-assigned within the HUD Office of Single-Family Housing, and replaced on an interim basis by the program’s Deputy Administrator, with further action pending on a permanent replacement.  While this initial result is consistent with MHARR’s goals, it could have been achieved much earlier if MHARR’s public call for a new administrator had been supported by the rest of the industry. Nevertheless, as this process plays-out, MHARR will continue to seek the appointment of a qualified and appropriate non-career program administrator. 






The day after the 2016 election, MHARR publicly called for a new approach to HUD regulation, stating: “A fresh approach to unnecessary and needlessly-costly federal manufactured housing regulation along the lines stated by the president-elect, requiring legitimate, ground-up evidence to support any new – or existing regulation – showing both the need for regulation and real benefits for consumers … rather than wasteful and unnecessary make-work for entrenched contractors, would have a tremendously positive impact on the manufactured housing industry and the Americans who rely on manufactured housing….” (Emphasis in original).  A week later, in a November 18, 2016 communication to HUD, MHARR called for an immediate freeze on all pending HUD manufactured housing regulations including, most particularly, its proposed “Frost-Free” Installation Interpretive Bulletin (IB), based on a November 15, 2016 notice from Congress calling on all federal agencies to defer any activity to “finaliz[e] pending rules or regulations.”

Subsequently, less than one month after the election, and anticipating the regulatory reform initiatives set forth in Executive Orders issued after President Trump’s inauguration,  MHARR targeted specific HUD regulatory and program changes that it would advance on a priority basis, including: (1) major changes to the “on-site” construction rule; (2) withdrawal of the baseless and costly “frost-free” foundation Interpretive Bulletin; (3) retraction of HUD’s effort to compel states to alter state-law installation standards; (4) withdrawal of HUD’s program of expanded in-plant enforcement; (5) full implementation of enhanced federal preemption under the 2000 reform law; (6) ensuring full and proper funding of State Administrative Agencies (SAAs); (7) restoring collective industry representation on the MHCC; and (8) termination of  HUD’s 40-year-plus dependence on the same revenue-driven enforcement contractor, and replacement of the current de facto sole-source program contracting system with one based on full and fair competition.


Again, these priorities were stressed in all subsequent MHARR communications, contacts and meetings with new Trump Administration officials at HUD, culminating, ultimately, in a full regulatory freeze. This was followed, on May 15, 2017, by a departmental-level regulatory review of all existing and pending regulations and “regulatory actions” under Trump Administration Executive Orders (EOs) 13771 (“Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”) and 13777 (“Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”). Based on its post-election strategy, MHARR filed comprehensive comments in this proceeding, seeking fundamental change within the HUD program, including, among other things, the modification or withdrawal of specific existing and pending regulations, pseudo-regulatory actions and regulatory “interpretations;” the re-assignment and replacement of the then-program administrator; and fundamental reform of all program contracting procedures.  


MHARR reasserted and expanded-on all of these points when HUD, on January 26, 2018, announced a program-specific, “top-to-bottom” review of all existing and pending manufactured housing regulations and “regulatory actions” (which had been sought by MHARR since early 2017). MHARR filed comprehensive comments in this proceeding on February 20, 2018, and strongly reiterated the need for fundamental program reform in a January 29, 2018 face-to-face meeting with HUD Secretary, Dr. Benjamin Carson.


Here again, while others in the industry have made a show of embracing “regulatory reform” after decades of “going-along-to-get-along” with HUD (and other) regulators, aggressive advocacy for regulatory reform has always been MHARR’s primary focus.  And with an Administration now in office that has pledged to “deconstruct the regulatory state,” the time has never been better to pursue and achieve fundamental change. With the results of HUD’s EO 13771/13777 manufactured housing program regulatory review still outstanding, MHARR will continue to aggressively seek the fundamental reform that is essential for strong industry growth and production levels in the hundreds-of-thousands of homes annually.




Unlike other manufactured housing industry organizations, MHARR has opposed the manufactured housing “energy” rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on June 17, 2016 from its inception.  MHARR cast the only “no” vote against the proposed rule during the supposed “negotiated rulemaking” process conducted by DOE (but instigated, encouraged and advanced by others in the industry) in 2014 and 2015, and in August 8, 2016 written comments, exposed both that “process” and DOE’s alleged “cost-benefit” analysis to be a baseless sham, contrived to support a pre-ordained result.


Following the election of President Trump, MHARR immediately expanded its aggressive fight against this proposed rule that would needlessly add $6,000.00 or more to the retail cost of a new manufactured home.  Ten days after the election, MHARR called on DOE to defer further action on the proposed rule based on Congress’ November 15, 2016 regulatory moratorium request to federal agencies. Later, in July 14, 2017 written comments submitted to DOE as part of DOE’s EO 13771/13777 regulatory review process, MHARR reiterated its call for the withdrawal of the proposed rule based on all of its previous arguments, as well as the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the 2016 “Paris Climate Accord,” which formed the specific basis for the June 17, 2016 proposed manufactured housing rule.


This consistent opposition by MHARR, even while others within the industry were silent or supportive, was ultimately rewarded in mid-2017, when the proposed rule was downgraded to a “long-term” action in the Spring edition of the federal Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda (SRA), and more significantly, to an “inactive” regulatory proceeding in the latest December 2017 SRA. While not conclusive yet, this re-designation of the proposed “energy” rule to “inactive” status could indicate that the new DOE leadership is cognizant of the many fatal flaws inherent in the proposed rule and will not proceed with that rule as published.




While the election of President Trump has ushered-in policies designed to reduce or eliminate unnecessary, baseless, or excessive federal regulatory burdens, such as those which have needlessly targeted and suppressed the HUD Code industry for decades, specific – and significant -- problems still exist, and still must be met with aggressive action.  One such area is consumer financing and the lack of securitization and secondary market support for manufactured home chattel loans that comprise some 80% of the HUD Code market.


Despite being instructed by Congress – through the Duty to Serve (DTS) mandate – to provide support for manufactured home consumer loans, including both real estate and chattel loans, as a remedy for decades of failing to do so, the DTS implementation plans finally submitted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, ten-years after the enactment of DTS, are entirely inadequate. Citing a lack of data (which exists, in part, due to their own failure to support manufactured home lending), the GSEs have proposed chattel loan “pilot” programs that would entail purchases of just over 1% of the entire chattel market from 2018-2020.


And now, even this meager, begrudging and unacceptable “implementation” of DTS could be diverted – in whole or in significant part – to a secretive “new class” of home project being pursued by the industry’s largest corporate conglomerates. By the admission of its proponents, this “new class” of home (with a price-tag reaching a non-affordable $220,000.00) has already been pitched-to and “well received” by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have repeatedly exposed their deep prejudice against traditional, affordable manufactured homes and manufactured housing consumers.


MHARR, however, is determined to pursue the full, market-significant implementation of DTS (which exists because MHARR provided the policy impetus and the language for the DTS mandate). MHARR is already seeking congressional review and accountability regarding DTS and its long-delayed and clearly inadequate “implementation.” And that same effort and activity will now seek answers and accountability regarding the supposed “new class” of homes, which raises many more questions regarding DTS and the state of competition within the HUD Code industry.


Beyond DTS, however, there are other significant issues that have combined to suppress the availability of manufactured home consumer financing, while simultaneously limiting market competition and exerting upward pressure on interest rates for manufactured housing chattel loans (comprising upwards of 80% of the entire HUD Code market) in particular. These include, but are not limited to, the “10-10” rule for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Title I lenders instituted by the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA) -- a HUD entity -- that has restricted entry into the formerly market-significant Title I market to just one or two lenders affiliated with the industry’s largest corporate conglomerate.


And, in addition to these finance-related matters, there are numerous issues pertaining to the full and proper implementation of the 2000 reform law that can, must and will be addressed with the Trump Administration.  Among the highest priority of these items is the full and proper implementation of the enhanced federal preemption mandated by the 2000 reform law.  This would address not only the preemption of local mandates that are inconsistent with the federal standards, such as fire sprinkler requirements, but also the elimination of exclusionary zoning or placement dictates, which discriminatorily exclude HUD Code manufactured homes and manufactured homeowners.  The 2000 reform law, as MHARR has previously addressed, in detail, provides HUD (and others) with all the tools needed to stop such discrimination against federally-regulated, affordable housing. Now that the prospect exists for a HUD program that is solidly-grounded in the full and proper implementation of the 2000 reform law, the time is long-past due for HUD to demand and enforce the non-discriminatory inclusion of manufactured homes in all communities around the nation. 


As MHARR stated immediately after the 2016 presidential election, the HUD Code manufactured housing industry has before it an unprecedented opportunity to reform the federal regulatory program to eliminate or reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens, enhance the non-subsidized affordability of manufactured homes and foster production levels in the hundreds-of-thousands of homes per year.  There will be many battles to face, though, going forward. MHARR, as it has throughout its entire existence, is prepared to lead on these issues and advance the cause of the industry and its consumers.  The entire industry, though, has a corresponding obligation and duty to do the same.

Mark Weiss

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

MHARR-Issues and Perspectives” is available for re-publication in full (i.e., without alteration or substantive modification) without further permission and with proper attribution to MHARR.

Formaldehyde Rule Implementation Date Change

  • Written by Mark Weiss

MHARRUnder a recent federal court order, the compliance date for formaldehyde emissions standards, record-keeping and labelling requirements (including requirements applicable to HUD Code manufactured homes) established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its December 12, 2016 final Formaldehyde Standards rule — which had been extended by EPA to December 12, 2018 — have now been moved forward again to June 1, 2018.

The order, entered by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in a case filed by The Sierra Club, followed a February 16, 2018 ruling by the court finding that EPA, under the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act (15 U.S.C. 2697) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), lacked the statutory authority to extend the compliance dates set out in the original rule.  EPA and the plaintiffs, with the approval of the court, subsequently presented an agreed order to revert the relevant compliance dates back to June 1, 2018, as announced by EPA in a notice published in the April 4, 2018 Federal Register (see, copy attached).

Under the agreed order, “by June 1, 2018, and until March 22, 2019, regulated composite wood panels and finished products containing such composite wood panels that are manufactured [in the United States] or imported … must be certified as compliant with either the [Toxic Substances Control Act] Title VI or the California Air Resources Board [CARB] … Airborne Toxic Control Measures Phase II emissions standards … by a third-party certifier approved by CARB and recognized by EPA. Previously these products were required to be [TSCA] compliant by December 12, 2018.”

MHARR, in May 15, 2017 comments filed with EPA pursuant to its Trump Administration Executive Order (EO) 13771/13777 regulatory review process, called for the retraction of certain record-keeping requirements in the EPA Final Rule which discriminate against HUD Code manufactured housing producers. MHARR has also called on HUD, in EO 13771/13777 comments filed with the Department, to delete its current Formaldehyde Health Notice requirement and related standards, based on the adoption of the EPA formaldehyde standards rule.  The Department is currently conducting that review.

MHARR will continue to closely monitor activities concerning this matter.

cc:  Other Interested HUD Code Industry Manufacturers

MHARR Demands Clarification of DTS Vis-À-Vis Supposed “New Class” of Home

  • Written by Soheyla Kovach

MHARRWashington, D.C., March 8, 2018 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), in a February 27, 2018 communication to the Chief Executive Officer of Freddie Mac (copy attached), has demanded clarification of that organization’s implementation of the “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets” (DTS) in relation to a supposed “new class” of manufactured home being developed on a secretive/proprietary basis within the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) by the manufactured housing industry’s largest corporate conglomerates.

MHI, in recent news releases and published articles, has boasted that the concept for this “new class” of manufactured home, with a cost as high as $220,000.00, had already been presented to the two housing finance giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and had been “well received.” And now, during a February 26, 2018 conference call meeting of Freddie Mac’s “Manufactured Housing Initiative Task Force” (MHIT), a Freddie Mac official, in the context of a discussion of  current and prospective implementation of DTS, referred to an impending “new class of home” pilot project — never before addressed or even mentioned by Freddie Mac — to be implemented as early as the Summer of 2018, for a type of high-cost manufactured home that has not previously been built or marketed, let alone mass produced.

In the wake of the late-2017 approval by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) of the grossly deficient and wholly inadequate DTS final implementation plans submitted by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, there has been major confusion, both within and outside the HUD Code manufactured housing industry, regarding the relationship – or lack thereof – between DTS and the erstwhile “new class” of manufactured home being developed and touted by MHI and the industry conglomerates. Fueled by misleading “analyses,” strategically-targeted “leaks” and related commentary, this confusion has proliferated, particularly with respect to the harm that a nexus between a proprietary “new class” of manufactured homes and DTS would cause for smaller industry businesses and for consumers of affordable housing, by, among other things, relegating traditional, affordable manufactured housing to the second-class, “trailer” status that the industry has fought for decades to overcome.

As MHARR has advised Freddie Mac, there is no legitimate or valid basis for diverting any aspect of DTS – which was enacted by Congress ten years ago to promote and advance the availability of traditional, inherently affordable, non-subsidized manufactured housing for lower and moderate-income homebuyers – to a “new class” of homes that, at a price-point reaching up to $220,000, would not be “affordable.”

To start with, no such “new class” of homes have ever been produced.  As a result, there is no conceivable “loan performance” data – the absence of which Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have used for decades, and continue to use, despite DTS — as an excuse for failing to provide any level of market-significant chattel financing support for the existing “class” of manufactured homes.  By diverting any portion of DTS to this “new class” of manufactured home, the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) would simply be continuing their long-established pattern and practice of discrimination against traditional manufactured housing and manufactured homebuyers.

Second, no such program, involving a “new class” of manufactured home was included in the 2018-2020 DTS implementation plan submitted by Freddie Mac — and approved by FHFA.  As a result, any such program under DTS would be unauthorized by Freddie Mac’s federal regulator and, therefore, unlawful under the GSEs’ conservatorship.

Third, diverting any portion whatsoever of DTS support to a proprietary product developed and manufactured on an exclusive or exclusionary basis by one group of competitors and not generally available or accessible to other industry producers, would be a blatantly anti-competitive action by Freddie Mac.

Fourth, the diversion of any portion whatsoever of DTS support to a “new class” of homes with a reported retail cost as high as $220,000.00 instead of existing types of manufactured housing, which are inherently affordable for very low-, low- and moderate-income American families without the need for costly government subsidies, would violate the letter, intent and fundamental purpose of DTS, with entirely predictable anti-competitive impacts.

In part, this activity appears to be a larger-scale, updated version of the ill-fated “MH Select” program floated by Fannie Mae more than a decade ago.  That program, which reportedly resulted in zero loans, sought to deflect from the GSEs’ near-total failure to support the manufactured housing market (and low-, lower- moderate-income manufactured homebuyers) by conditioning securitization and secondary market support for manufactured homes on mandatory features that exceeded the HUD Code standards and undermined the affordability of those homes.  Apparently, with the GSEs having failed to learn any lessons from the MH Select fiasco, Freddie Mac now appears to be following a similar course to evade fulfilling its statutory DTS obligation to provide market support for the existing class of affordable manufactured homes, thus continuing the GSEs’ 40-year habit of talking about providing market-significant support for HUD Code consumer financing, but, in actuality, doing virtually nothing.

MHARR, on the other hand, will continue to press for the full, complete and robust implementation of DTS with respect to the existing class of affordable manufactured homes, without any diversion, deferral, or further delay of the Duty to Serve Underserved Markets involving any alleged, secretive, “new class” of homes.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.



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