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Manufactured Home Fact Sheet for Reporters

What is a manufactured home?

A manufactured home is the proper term for any such home built to HUD Code standards. The HUD Code was adopted by Congress in 1974 and went into effect on June 15, 1976.

What is a mobile home?

“Mobile home” is the term used to describe homes built before June 15, 1976 when the HUD code went into effect. The term should not be used to describe homes built after June 15 of 1976.

Are manufactured homes mobile?

Most any home can be moved. The steel frame under a manufactured home makes its relocation, should it be necessary, easier. Manufactured homes can either be placed on a lot with a permanent foundation, and on leased or owned land.

Are manufactured homes permanent?

Manufactured homes can be sited on a parcel of land just as a home can be built there. In this case, they can be designed so as to be indistinguishable from conventional site built homes. Manufactured homes can also be placed in a land-lease community where the home is owned and placed on leased land. Current regulations for new homes require a manufactured home to be sited on a permanent foundation. Current HUD Code construction standards and events like the hurricanes in Florida of 2004. (More on this: demonstrate that today’s manufactured homes and installation standards are on par with or sometimes superior to conventional construction.

What is the difference between modular and manufactured homes?

Modular homes are built to the state, local or regional code where the home will be located. Modules are transported to the site and installed. A manufactured home is a single-family house constructed entirely in a controlled factory environment and built to the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (HUD code). The most recent amendment to the HUD Code is the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000).

Is it ok to use the word “trailer?”

No. Trailer is an outdated, derogatory slang term for a mobile home and should not be used. Likewise the word “trailer park” should not be used. The correct term is mobile home or manufactured home community or land lease community.

Are manufactured homes safe?

Yes. Manufactured homes are built to the HUD Code which is a performance-based construction and safety standard. Homes are built to regional conditions. Research has shown manufactured homes can withstand weather events like hurricanes as well as or better than site-built homes. (More on this: Insurance studies reflect the fact that manufactured homes today are designed to prevent fires, and have features designed to inhibit and limit the damage caused should a fire occur.

Are manufactured homes energy-efficient?

Yes. All manufactured homes have specific energy efficiency standards set by the federal government in the HUD Code. For example, manufactured homes built after October, 1994 are required to be insulated to the geographic zone they are designed for, must have double-pane windows and must have ventilation fans in kitchens and bathrooms. While the HUD minimum standards are helping to reduce energy costs for manufactured home buyers, several manufacturers are building homes that exceed the minimum HUD insulation standards, and that have advanced energy-efficient ventilation systems to maintain healthy indoor air quality even with very tight construction. Such homes use 30-50 percent less energy for space heating than homes built to the minimum HUD standards. Several manufacturers are partners in the Energy Star program. An Energy Star qualified manufactured home is a home that has been designed, produced, and installed in accordance with Energy Star’s guidelines by an Energy Star certified plant.

Is it more difficult to finance the purchase of a manufactured home?

Manufactured homes not situated on owned land are considered chattel. Chattel is a real estate industry term used to describe property not legally tied to the land where it may be permanently sited. Buildings affixed to land are known as real property. Financing a manufactured home as real property is much the same as financing any other home. Loans on chattel may have fewer financing options and have higher interest rates than conventional property loans, but there are companies that offer competitive rates and terms. Because of their value as affordable housing, federal law mandates that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (The so-called GSEs now under the FHFA jurisdiction) provide chattel loans for the purchase of manufactured homes, but those organizations have not lived up to their government mandate.

Zoning issues have come up in local government meetings. Does the HUD code prevent zoning restrictions of manufactured housing?

Many experts think specific language in the HUD code should prevent local restrictions on manufactured housing. This is called preemption. It’s based in the fact that manufactured housing is built to the HUD code, which preempts local building codes. Many agree the federal law should prevent local governments from regulating the placement, appearance, definition and construction of manufactured homes; however, HUD has not been active in enforcing preemption, leaving its full authority over these matters untested in recent years. The actual language of the MHIA of 2000 says that preemption should be broadly and liberally interpreted.

The legislation reads:

Federal preemption under this subsection shall be broadly and liberally construed to ensure that disparate State or local requirements or standards do not affect the uniformity and comprehensiveness of the standards promulgated under this section nor the Federal superintendence of the manufactured housing industry as established by this title. Subject to section 605, there is reserved to each State the right to establish standards for the stabilizing and support systems of manufactured homes sited within that State, and for the foundations on which manufactured homes sited within that State are installed, and the right to enforce compliance with such standards, except that such standards shall be consistent with the purposes of this title and shall be consistent with the design of the manufacturer.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, (MHARR), the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and many state manufactured housing associations work to promote a proper understanding of the HUD Code’s preemptive status when issues arise.

If I have more questions, where I can I find help?

We are happy to answer questions and put members of the media in touch with appropriate industry experts.

CALL ME: 832-372-7069

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