“The House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee held an oversight hearing for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on June 27, 2018,” said the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). “The sole witness for this hearing was HUD Secretary Dr. Benjamin Carson. During the two-hour hearing, a number of questions directly relating to HUD-regulated manufactured housing were raised by Committee members,” said their release to the Daily Business News.
Multiple Financial Services Committee members posed questions focusing on the status of the “top-to-bottom” manufactured housing regulatory review announced by the Department in January 2018.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling provided MHProNews with the video above of his opening remarks, which critiqued HUD’s history, but was also forward looking.
In responding to those inquiries by committee members, Secretary Carson first recognized and acknowledged the importance of manufactured housing as a key source of affordable home ownership in the United States, MHARR said in their hearing report.
Secretary Carson noted that manufactured homes currently represents roughly 10% of the nation’s housing stock.
More importantly, Dr. Carson specifically acknowledged that the regulatory burdens imposed on manufactured housing in recent years by HUD. Those, stated their release, were “detailed by MHARR in its written regulatory review comments and emphasized by MHARR manufacturers and staff in a February 2018 meeting with the Secretary.”
Several of the topics that Secretary Carson addressed were raised by MHARR in their regulatory review statements, and/or during the meeting held by MHARR with the secretary and top HUD staff during their meeting earlier this year.
Thus, it is gratifying for industry professionals to note that HUD’s secretary said those rules regarding manufactured housing were “ridiculous” and a “major concern” for him and for the department under his leadership.
Secretary Carson indicated that HUD’s manufactured housing-specific regulatory review, “sought by MHARR throughout 2017 as one of its organizational priorities” – said the association’s release – could potentially be completed before the end of 2018. Dr. Carson noted that completion of that regulatory review was a “priority” for him and for HUD, and that he would seek to “expedite” that process.
Another more specific question by a House Financial Services Committee member focused on the baseless restrictions imposed by HUD in 2014 on multi-family manufactured housing that are neither required nor authorized by the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, as they were amended by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA).
Pointing out that such a restriction appeared to be “illogical,” the same committee member also asked whether that issue had been addressed by any commenters in the manufactured housing program regulatory review process.
In response, Secretary Carson noted that the specific issue of multi-family manufactured housing had, in fact, been raised within the program regulatory review process, and agreed that the HUD restriction on multi-family HUD Code homes was indeed, “illogical.” Specifically, the matter of multi-family HUD Code homes was raised by MHARR in its February 20, 2018 program regulatory review written comments.
Multi-Family Housing with Manufactured Homes
Industry professionals can see MHARR February 20, 2018 regulatory review comments on that topic at p. 11, “HUD Should Adopt Standards for Multi-Family Manufactured Homes.”
Reports to the Daily Business News indicate that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) had failed to address that issue in their own formal comments.
MHARR noted that a proposed standard to permit multi-family HUD Code homes had been approved and recommended by the statutory Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC), but that HUD had failed to take action on that proposal within the 12-month timeframe mandated by the 2000 reform law.
MHARR stated in its comments: “Given the extremely beneficial impact that affordable, non-subsidized multi-family manufactured homes would have for lower and moderate-income American families, and given the fact that such an amendment to the HUD Code standards would be fully consistent with existing law … HUD should take immediate action to publish the MHCC-recommended provisions to authorize multi-dwelling unit manufactured homes as a proposed rule and to promulgate such a rule on an expedited time-frame.” (Emphasis added, see MHARR comments to HUD, linked here.).
With some 400,000 multi-family housing units being built this year in the U.S., its another potentially lucrative opportunity for manufactured home producers.
MHARR’s statement on 6.27.2018 said, “Secretary Carson, in response to this question, confirmed that this baseless, “illogical” restriction was being reviewed by the program as part of the ongoing regulatory review process, while the Committee member observed that there appeared to be no correlation between safety and multi-family habitation in manufactured homes.”
The Washington, D.C. based trade association – focused on the interests of independent producers – said in their statement that, “In summary, the Secretary’s testimony with regard to manufactured housing was both positive and encouraging in acknowledging not only the substantive importance of HUD Code housing as a key affordable housing resource (including multi-family manufactured housing), but also the importance and progress of the program’s – and the Department’s – regulatory review processes.”
“MHARR will continue to interact directly with HUD appointed officials and will carefully monitor and keep you fully apprised of all developments affecting the manufactured housing program going forward,” concluded their release to MHProNews.
MHProNews has previously noted that the Washington Post noted in their report that MHARR, not MHI, was the driving force behind the removal of Pam Danner at HUD. For more details on that topic, see the relegated report, linked below. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
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