MAY 21, 2019
In one of its first substantive regulatory reform actions under Trump Administration Executive Orders (EO) 13771 and 13777, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on May 20, 2019 (see, copy attached), that it is rescinding sub-regulatory “guidance” issued in 2017, requiring Alternate Construction (AC) approval for “carport-ready” manufactured homes.
MHARR first raised the issue of HUD’s unilateral designation of certain manufactured home features as “add-ons” pursuant to 24 C.F.R. 3282.7(b) – and thus requiring AC approval – in 2014 meetings and communications with former HUD program administrator, Pamela Danner. The Association continued to press the issue of defactorulemaking via sub-regulatory “guidance” memoranda (i.e., agency dictates issued without notice and comment rulemaking proceedings or Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee review as required by federal law) – concerning this and numerous other matters, in its EO 13771/13777 comments to HUD filed on June 7, 2017, further EO 13771/13777 comments submitted to HUD on February 20, 2018, and in an April 25, 2018 communication to Acting HUD General Deputy Assistant Secretary, Dana Wade.
HUD’s action in this matter is specifically based on recommendations of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC), approved at its September 2018 in-person meeting. As reported by MHARR at the time, “the Committee voted to recommend the withdrawal of HUD Field Guidance memoranda requiring Alternate Construction (AC) approval for carports, by effectively classifying carport-ready designs as involving an ‘add-on.’ The Committee also adopted a resolution supporting amendments to various sections of the Procedural and Enforcement Regulations to permit specific ‘add-on’ structures, including garages. Again, eachof these changes have been specifically addressed and advocated by MHARR in both written comments and direct interactions with HUD officials.”
Consistent with these MHCC recommendations – and, again, as noted by HUD in its May 20, 2019 Notice – a separate June 12, 2014 HUD memorandum concerning “attached garages” is not being formally rescinded pursuant to this Notice, but will, apparently, be addressed by forthcoming proposed-amended regulations. Nevertheless, MHARR continues to maintain and assert in direct meetings with HUD officials and related communications that allsuch sub-regulatory “guidance” memoranda are unenforceableand must be withdrawn.
Moreover – and in addition to the foregoing – the fact that it has taken more than two yearsfor the HUD program, under its current leadership, to implement the very first substantive regulatory reform action since the Trump Administration took office, underscores a growing concern among manufactured housing program stakeholders, as first reported by MHARR following the recent April 30 – May 2, 2019 MHCC meeting, that some within the HUD program may be “slow-walking” long-overdue regulatory and program reforms in order to “wait-out” the current Administration and the tenure of Secretary Carson, who, according to media reports, may be leaving HUD at the conclusion of the President’s current term.
Regardless, MHARR will continue to aggressively pursue this matter with HUD, Congress and other appropriate authorities.