Under 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
Washington, 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.
“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 statusquo 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.
OBJECTIVE: REASSIGN AND REPLACE HUD PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR
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 inevery 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.
OBJECTIVE: FREEZE, REVIEW AND REFORM HUD REGULATIONS
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 defacto 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.
OBJECTIVE: WITHDRAWAL OF THE PROPOSED DOE “ENERGY” RULE
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.
OBJECTIVE: FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE “DUTY TO SERVE”
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 beinginstructed 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.
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, 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.
Washington, D.C., March 7, 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 January 2018. Just-released statistics indicate that HUD Code manufacturers produced 8,636 homes in January 2018, a 10.3% increase over the 7,827 HUD Code homes produced during January 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 January 2018 — with cumulative, monthly, current year (2018) and prior year (2017) shipments per category as indicated — are:
The latest information for January 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
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). MHARR members are mostly smaller and medium-sized manufactured housing industry businesses, subject to regulation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) pursuant to the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, as amended.
As part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, Congress established the “Duty to Serve” (DTS) certain specified markets, including federally-regulated manufactured housing, which, it concluded, had historically been underserved by the two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) -- Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. In relevant part, DTS directs the GSEs to develop “loan products and flexible underwriting guidelines to facilitate a secondary market for mortgages for very low-, low- and moderate-income families” with respect to HUD-regulated manufactured homes, including both manufactured housing real estate loans and personal property – or “chattel” – loans, which comprise the vast bulk of the manufactured housing market (12 U.S.C. 4565(d)(3)).
After nearly a decade of baseless, unjustified, prejudicial and damaging delays (particularly for the smaller industry businesses which MHARR represents), DTS implementation plans for both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were finally submitted to – and approved by – the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in late 2017. As both Freddie Mac and FHFA are well aware, however, MHARR has been – and continues to be – a highly critical and active opponent of these plans, which are not only ten years too late, but are grossly insufficient and inadequate to meet the policy objectives of DTS, based on their failure to provide, at any time within their three-year terms, market-significant secondary market and securitization support for the chattel loans which comprise more than 80% of the manufactured housing market. MHARR, moreover, will continue that opposition until the fundamental failures of these initial DTS plans are remedied.
Now, though, MHARR, as a participant in Freddie Mac’s “Manufactured Housing Initiative Task Force” (MHIT), has learned that Freddie Mac apparently plans to divert an unspecified portion of its already minimal and wholly inadequate support of the manufactured housing market under DTS to a so-called “new class” of manufactured homes which is currently being researched and developed on an exclusionary, proprietary basis by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), under the direction and authority of a control group comprised, in relevant part, of executives of the industry’s three largest manufacturers.
At a February 26, 2018 telephone conference meeting of the MHIT, Freddie Mac representative, Ms. Simone Beatty, indicated, for the first time, that Freddie Mac plans to pursue implementation of a “pilot program” -- on an expedited basis (i.e., during June and July 2018) -- for loans on an undefined “new class” of manufactured homes, apparently based on the exclusionary (i.e., limited to MHI members) / proprietary MHI “new class” of manufactured home research and development activity.
Any such action by Freddie Mac (and/or Fannie Mae) would be totally unacceptable to MHARR and would be vehemently opposed by this association.
First, no such program was included in the 2018-2020 DTS implementation plan submitted by Freddie Mac -- and approved by FHFA – and, as such, would be ultravires and unlawful. Second, diverting any portion whatsoever of DTS support to a proprietary product that is 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 knowing and intentionally anti-competitive action by Freddie Mac which, again, would be opposed by MHARR by any and all available means. Third, the diversion of any portion whatsoever of DTS manufactured housing 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 -- to expand the availability of inherently affordable homeownership for all Americans -- while simultaneously relegating existing types of HUD Code manufactured homes to defacto “second class” status for purposes of financing and all other matters, with entirely predictable anti-competitive and highly damaging impacts.
Based on the foregoing, MHARR, by copy of this letter, is advising Fannie Mae, FHFA, Congress, and relevant Executive Branch agencies of its strenuous objections to any action by Freddie Mac to divert any portion of its DTS activity to such a “new class” of manufactured homes and reserves all of its rights to take any and all necessary further actions. In addition, MHARR demands:
That it be advised of – and included in -- any and all further discussions, meetings, or conferences of any type or description involving the supposed “new class” of manufactured home and DTS;
That it be provided any and all documents, meeting summaries, minutes, or other documents describing discussions of a “new class” of manufactured home and any party outside of Freddie Mac, including notes of telephone or other discussions maintained by Freddie Mac employees;
That MHARR be provided with any and all materials received by Freddie Mac from any source with respect to the supposed “new class” of manufactured home; and
That it be provided with any recording, or written transcript, or summary of the February 26, 2018 MHIT meeting produced by or on behalf of Freddie Mac.
For Freddie Mac, after ten years of inaction on DTS, followed by a blatantly inadequate DTS implementation plan, to now even consider diverting any aspect or portion of DTS to a “new class” of proprietary, high-priced, non-affordable manufactured home, is indefensible, inexcusable, in direct defiance of DTS, and unacceptable.
As MHARR previously advised you, HUD, on January 26, 2018, announced a comprehensive, “top-to-bottom” review of all its existing and pending manufactured housing regulations and related “regulatory actions,” pursuant to Trump Administration Executive Orders (EOs) 13771 (“Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”) and 13777 (“Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”).
In response to HUD’s request for comments from stakeholders and members of the public regarding this review, MHARR, on February 20, 2018, has submitted detailed and comprehensive comments (see, copy attached) addressing multiple aspects of the HUD program (including, but not limited to, existing and proposed standards, regulations, interpretive rules, interpretive bulletins, “field guidance” memoranda and other related regulatory pronouncements) that should either be repealed or significantly modified in accordance with the regulatory reform policies enunciated in EOs 13771 and 13777.
Due to the extreme importance of this matter, MHARR encourages all industry members to submit comments to HUD in connection with this critical regulatory review, in advance of the rapidly-approaching February 26, 2018 comment deadline. Given MHARR’s 35-year focus on these major issues and – in particular – the full and proper implementation of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, we urge industry members to review the attached document, and to reference or incorporate all or part of those comments in (or with) their own submissions.
Again, it is extremely important that these key reforms to the broken HUD regulatory program be fully implemented by the Department.
Washington, D.C., January 30, 2018 – On January 29, 2018, a delegation of officials from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) met with HUD Secretary Dr. Benjamin Carson, to provide the Secretary with a first-hand opportunity to hear the concerns of smaller industry businesses regarding the operation of the federal manufactured housing program and its failure to fully and properly implement the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (2000 reform law). MHARR participants in the meeting included James Shea, Jr., Chairman, Mike Cappaert, Vice Chairman, John Bostick, Immediate Past-Chairman, Mark Weiss, President and CEO, and Danny Ghorbani, Senior Advisor. The agenda for the meeting focused on the most critical issues currently facing the industry and its consumers, both with respect to the full and proper implementation of the 2000 reform law and consumer financing, including the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Title I manufactured housing program (see, copy of meeting agenda, attached).
Left to right: Danny Ghorbani, James Shea Jr., HUD Secretary Dr. Benjamin Carson, Michael Cappaert, Mark Weiss, John Bostick
The MHARR delegation, in particular, briefed the Secretary on HUD’s 18-year failure to fully and properly implement the 2000 reform law, which was enacted with overwhelming bi-partisan support in both houses of Congress. MHARR outlined, during the meeting, four main components of the 2000 reform law that HUD has not only failed to implement under prior administrations, but has, in fact, affirmatively distorted, ignored and/or misapplied. This has not only caused significant and unnecessary harm to the industry’s smaller businesses, but, more importantly, has deprived hundreds-of-thousands of moderate and lower-income families of the affordable, non-subsidized homeownership opportunities that only manufactured housing can provide.
In this regard, MHARR’s delegation thanked Secretary Carson for having initiated action to address critical regulatory matters within the federal manufactured housing program in accordance with Trump Administration Executive Orders 13771 and 13777. The MHARR officials pledged to work with the Secretary and HUD to advance this crucial undertaking, and as the only industry organization with institutional memory dating back to the original federal manufactured housing law more than 40 years ago, promised to provide the Department – during the current 30-day regulatory review comment period – with relevant historical background and remedial suggestions/solutions to restore the unique and essential federal manufactured housing program to full compliance with both the terms and objectives of the 2000 reform law.
As part of this dialogue, the MHARR officials also emphasized non-regulatory aspects of the 2000 reform law that should – and must – be properly implemented. These include (but are not limited to); the appointment of a new non-career program administrator; the reform of program contracting procedures and the selection of a new monitoring contractor; full utilization of the MHCC in accordance with the 2000 reform law; and full implementation and enforcement of the enhanced federal preemption mandated by the 2000 reform law.
Further, the MHARR delegation advised the Secretary that with the failure of the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) to fully implement the Duty to Serve Underserved Markets directive of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), lower and moderate-income Americans would need, more than ever, the full utilization and incorporation of manufactured housing by HUD into all of its housing programs, as well as the reform and/or repeal of the “10-10” rule implemented by Ginnie Mae in 2010, which has largely eliminated Ginne Mae-supported FHA Title I financing for the 80% of manufactured homes that are sold and financed as personal property (chattel).
In Washington, D.C., MHARR President and CEO Mark Weiss stated: “MHARR sincerely appreciates meeting with Secretary Carson in order to thank him for the regulatory reform initiatives that he has started to undertake, and to fully apprise him and other key officials at HUD of the specific concerns of smaller industry businesses. MHARR looks forward to continuing to work with Secretary Carson and his team at HUD in order to restore the manufactured housing program to its original mission and goal – to not only ensure the safety of manufactured homes, but also to ensure their availability as the nation’s premier source of affordable, non-subsidized housing and home-ownership for millions of Americans.”
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 efforts over the past year to halt and reverse the regulatory excesses of the HUD manufactured housing program based on the regulatory freeze order imposed on all federal agencies by the Trump Administration on January 20, 2017 and subsequent Trump Administration Executive Orders (EOs) – specifically EO 13771 “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” issued January 30, 2017 and EO 13777 “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” issued on February 24, 2017 – have now produced significant results, with HUD announcing on January 25, 2018 that it will be conducting a “wholesale” review of HUD manufactured housing program regulations and regulatory actions pursuant to those Executive Orders, as specifically requested by MHARR, designed to “identify regulations that stifle affordable housing and job creation.”
A complete, high-level review of all such actions by the new HUD administration, together with the re-assignment and replacement of the previous program administrator, have been priority objectives for MHARR since day-one of the Trump Administration. With the previous administrator now having been re-assigned elsewhere within HUD, this latest action – which MHARR had specifically sought during multiple in-person meetings with Trump Administration officials at HUD, in correspondence with the Secretary (and other HUD officials) on March 6, 2017, May 5, 2017, June 29, 2017 and July 27, 2017, and in extensive written comments filed on June 7, 2017 regarding HUD’s implementation of EO 13777, and on August 17, 2017 regarding the proposed HUD “frost-free” IB -- begins to address the second element of MHARR’s effort with the new administration, to halt and where possible, reverse HUD regulatory actions which undermine the fundamental affordability of manufactured housing without providing corresponding benefits to consumers.
A January 25, 2018 news release announcing the HUD regulatory review and a linked Federal Register draft announcement of the review (attached), states that the Department will review – and is seeking comment on – “all current and planned regulatory actions affecting manufactured housing” including, but not limited to: (1) all rules listed in the federal Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (i.e., Semiannual Regulatory Agenda); (2) the pending HUD Interpretive Bulletin (IB) on “frost-free” foundations (which is not listed in the most recent Unified Agenda); and (3) “the effectiveness of HUD’s on-site completion of construction regulations, its Subpart I notification and correction procedures, and its Alternate Construction approval process.” In the interim, the Federal Register announcement confirms that “HUD does not anticipate moving forward with any manufactured housing regulations pending completion of its review.”
With the announcement of this top-to-bottom review of HUD manufactured housing regulation, MHARR will continue to press for the repeal and/or modification of multiple HUD edicts which result in substantial costs for consumers with either little or no corresponding consumer benefits, as well as related matters which have driven such destructive regulation and/or have harmed the industry and consumers, including, but not limited to, full and fair competition for the manufactured housing program monitoring contract and reform of the HUD Federal Housing Administration Title I manufactured housing program, including the withdrawal of the Ginnie Mae 10-10 rule, which has collapsed manufactured home loan originations through that program.
MHARR will keep you apprised of further developments regarding this critical matter as it moves forward.
As a follow-up to MHARR’s memorandum of January 9, 2018 regarding changes within the HUD manufactured housing program and its memorandum of November 28, 2017 regarding the re-solicitation of the HUD manufactured housing program monitoring contract, MHARR can now confirm that the monitoring contract re-solicitation – originally scheduled for December 29, 2017 as reported by HUD’s contracting officer at the Department’s November 16, 2017 “industry day” event – was not issued on the projected date.
MHARR, at the “industry day” event, and, more importantly, in December 12, 2017 correspondence with Trump Administration officials at HUD, specifically objected to the highly-truncated response period for the re-solicitation – just 15 business days – which MHARR maintained (and continues to assert) represents an inequitable and improper advantage for the current, 40-year incumbent monitoring contractor. As MHARR noted in its November 28, 2017 report: “for a contract that during its last five-year term (with options) was valued in excess of $25 million, HUD is expecting to issue a solicitation package just before the end of the current year – i.e., December 29, 2017 – with responses from offerors due just 22 days later, on January 19, 2017. With weekends and federal holidays (i.e., January 1, 2018) removed, this will leave bidders just 15 business days to analyze and digest the extensive bid package and submit an equally-extensive proposal in order to even be competitive with a 40-year incumbent.”
Similarly, the contract was expected to be split into two separate contracts which, as MHARR noted, “will have the defacto impact of making it more costly, particularly for non-incumbent offerors, to bid – i.e., developing and submitting two complete bid packages rather than one – and more difficult and burdensome for those non-incumbent offerors to develop and submit two bid packages within an unnecessarily truncated and limited bid response period.
In its December 12, 2017 correspondence with the Trump Administration’s Deputy Assistant Secretary responsible for the HUD program, MHARR specifically asked her to “intervene in this process as soon as possible to prevent it from replicating [the contract’s] history of non-competitive procurements.”
MHARR will continue to carefully monitor this monitoring contract solicitation as part of its ongoing engagement with Trump Administration officials at HUD.
Website Upgrade – on MHProNews Begins This Weekend
The long-anticipated upgrade to MHProNews.com to version 3.0 will begin this weekend. The site will go down, starting Friday night/Saturday morning Eastern time. We anticipate the site coming back up...
The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has released its latest Washington Update, an exclusive report and analysis that addresses key issues with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban...
Magnificent May – New Reports, Announcements, and Schedule
Beginning with RC Williams hot new exclusive this morning on the behind-the-scenes developments in the nation’s capital regarding manufactured housing lending, Magnificent May will continue the MHProNews tradition of independent...
Patrick Rises Over 3 Percent, Manufactured Housing CV Broader Markets Jump
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Throughout Canada, many First Nations native tribes are struggling with the dual challenge of quality, and affordable, housing. Mold and other natural elements, when combined with overcrowding, present issues tribal...
All homes need clean unclogged drainlines!
The Electric Eel Model C Sectional Cable Drain Cleaning Machine offers several key advantages in comparison to a drum-style drain cleaner. While the drum machines…
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An employee in this position is responsible for property management program for each manufactured housing community. The employee is expected to have a thorough knowledge of all aspects of…
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ARA's National Manufactured Housing Group specializes in the disposition of family and age-restricted manufactured housing and recreational vehicle investment properties across the country. Misunderstood and overlooked just a few years…
The American Insurance Alliance (AIA) is a partnership of independent agencies in the United States that specialize in manufactured housing and factory built housing. All of our member agencies…
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.
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 [...]...
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...
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...
by RC Williams
The Washington County, Maryland Board of Commissioners is holding a public hearing today regarding several proposed changes to the county’s zoning ordinance, including ones that affect manufactured homes.
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 [...]...