APRIL 14, 2011
TO: MHARR MANUFACTURERS
MHARR TECHNICAL REVIEW GROUP (TRG)
MHARR AFFILIATED STATES
FROM: DANNY D. GHORBANI
RE: MHARR COMMENTS ON HUD PROPOSED SUBPART I RULE
Attached for your review and information is a copy of MHARRs comprehensive comments on HUDs February 15, 2011 proposed rule to amend Subpart I of the Procedural and Enforcement Regulations.
The process to amend and modernize Subpart I — to make it more consistent with manufactured homes as a type of housing, and less like a vehicle recall provision — began with an MHARR Petition for Rulemaking and comprehensive Subpart I reform proposal submitted to HUD shortly after the enactment of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. This 2001 Petition ultimately led to consensus Subpart I reform recommendations by the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) that were submitted to HUD in 2005.
As the MHARR comments indicate, while the HUD proposal does incorporate certain positive elements from MHARRs Petition and the 2005 consensus recommendations of the MHCC, the proposal ultimately falls far short by failing to properly balance protection of the homeowner with affordability, as required by and emphasized in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. This further shows how out-of-touch the HUD manufactured housing program is with the continuing concerns of the country, as illustrated both by the 2010 election and the Obama Administrations January 18, 2011 Executive Order, with reducing stifling government regulation, while promoting economic growth and job creation. It also exposes the assumption of program regulators that they effectively have carte blanch from some in this industry.
To illustrate these points, in the 2000 law, Congress established new, cost-effective homeowner protections, including installation standards and programs in all 50 states (either state or default-federal) and dispute resolution programs in all 50 states (either state or default-federal) that are appropriate for housing and treat manufactured homes as housing. These new programs should have produced a more flexible, less costly, less intrusive and paperwork-intensive approach to Subpart I than is the case now or as proposed by HUD, as was repeatedly asserted by MHARRs representative on the MHCC during the debate over this matter. Yet, the HUD proposal would still require manufacturers to investigate, document and pay for IPIA review, of virtually every problem that comes to light in a home. This will simply continue to pile up unnecessary compliance costs for manufacturers and homeowners without any corresponding benefits, thus contributing to the further decline of the industry, business closures and related job losses.
By retaining such a rigid approach and structure, the HUD proposal also continues to treat manufactured homes as trailers — quasi-vehicles subject to recall by their manufacturer, and not legitimate housing — contrary to the 2000 law. This unfairly implies that manufactured homes are inherently inferior and will help fuel continued discrimination against manufactured homes and manufactured home purchasers in areas as diverse as consumer financing, placement and zoning, among others. To make matters worse, the HUD proposal would substantially increase the homeowner protection responsibilities of State Administrative Agencies (SAAs), while the program continues to drastically reduce the funding of these already revenue-strapped agencies.
Because these important flaws remain, the MHARR comments urge HUD, in any final rule, to fully embrace the consensus recommendations of the MHCC and restructure Subpart I in a way that is consistent with the status of manufactured homes as housing, as well as the relevant reforms of the 2000 law.
cc: Other Interested HUD Code Industry Manufacturers, Retailers and Communities
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform
1331 Pennsylvania Ave N.W., Suite 508
Washington, D.C. 20004
Danny D. Ghorbani is President of the Manufactured Housing Association
for Regulatory Reform. MHARR is a Washington, DC-based national
trade association representing the views and interests of producers of federally-
regulated manufactured housing.