President Obama’s Regulatory Executive Order Puts HUD Regulators on the Spot

MHARR LogoAttached for your information and review is a copy of a Executive Order regarding federal regulation just issued by the White House on January 18, 2011. The Order, released in conjunction with a companion Wall Street Journal article by the President on over-regulation, marks a major policy shift by the Administration that has implications for manufactured housing as a federally-regulated industry.

In fact, it appears this Order almost could have been written with the HUD Code manufactured housing industry in mind. Its focus is on promoting the type of fair, reasonable and open regulatory environment that the HUD Code industry needs to thrive while serving consumers of affordable housing. Among other things, it states, as Administration policy, that the federal regulatory system, while protecting health and safety, must also advance “economic growth, innovation, competitiveness and job creation” through an “open exchange of information” that includes “affected stakeholders” – exactly the opposite of what is happening today in the HUD program.

Consequently, after carefully examining the Order overnight, MHARR, on January 19, 2011, acted to press HUD officials to fully comply with this Order as it relates to all aspects of the federal manufactured housing program including, most importantly, its ongoing rapid expansion of in-plant regulation. This expansion, which began innocuously as a program of “voluntary cooperation,” is now being transformed into a full-blown de facto regulation that will needlessly increase regulatory compliance costs passed to consumers by manufacturers and retailers, as the ongoing expansion now appears to target both. Details of the latest phase of this expansion, developed entirely behind closed doors, are emerging piece-by-piece, having been adopted without any official procedures.

All of this is addressed in detail in the attached copy of MHARR’s self-explanatory January 19, 2011 MHARR letter to HUD Assistant Secretary-Federal Housing Commissioner, David Stevens, a copy of which is attached for your information and review. This letter addresses the ways that the President’s January 18, 2011 Order applies to – and must alter – the practices of both the HUD regulatory program and HUD’s consumer financing programs, specifically including the FHA Title I manufactured housing program, which has been subject to severe limitations which thwart competition and market growth.

We urge you to carefully review this package, as it provides details of the latest phase of HUD’s ongoing expansion of regulation – mandatory three-day audits and costly enhanced Subpart I involvement by third-party inspectors – that are on-course to be imposed on manufacturers and retailers, because the industry establishment in Washington, D.C. refused to join forces with MHARR in order to force HUD to comply with the law by going through consensus committee and rulemaking procedures. Now, as shown by the attached letter, the industry has a major task on its hands to try to stop this.

MHARR, therefore, in an effort to curb and reverse the course of this runaway expansion of in-plant regulation, will now include and use the President’s Order and its January 19, 2011 letter to HUD in its overall ongoing activities with the 112th Congress, to demonstrate how HUD is violating the Administration’s own policy.

We will continue to keep you apprised as new developments on these issues unfold.

Danny D. Ghorbani, President
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform
1331 Pennsylvania Ave N.W., Suite 508
Washington, D.C. 20004
Phone: 202/783-4087
Fax: 202/783-4075
Email: mharrdg@aol.com

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