MHI Week in Review – November 21, 2014

Boehlert Departing MHI, Search Underway for New Head of Government Affairs

Effective next month, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Jason Boehlert will be departing MHI to begin a new position as Executive Director of the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA) and National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED).  Boehlert moves on after more than four years at the helm of MHI’s government affairs department.  During this time, he helped oversee legislative and regulatory activities to:

  • provide industry relief from the Dodd-Frank Act and CFPB rules regulating mortgage markets in the wake of the housing crash;
  • develop legislation reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that, for the first time, would ensure manufactured home personal property loans had access to the secondary market and push for the regulatory implementation of Duty to Serve requirements for manufactured housing;
  • enact legislative provisions that mandated HUD hiring of the first full-time Manufactured Home Program Administrator in roughly a decade;
  • extend critical tax credit programs for builders of energy efficient manufactured and modular housing, and
  • prevent dual enforcement of construction and energy efficiency standards by DOE and HUD over manufactured housing.

MHI has already begun the search for a full-time replacement.  In the meantime, MHI is well represented in its legislative and regulatory activities by its internal and external lobbying team of:

  • Dick Jennison, President and CEO
  • Lois Starkey, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs
  • Rick Robinson, Vice President and General Counsel, Government Affairs
  • Porterfield, Lowenthal, Fettig & Sears which serves as MHI’s external lobbying firm
MHI CFPB and Financial Services Updates

CFPB Updates Mortgage Rules for Small Entities

The CFPB updated its Small Entity Compliance Guides for the Ability-to-Repay and Qualified Mortgage Rule and the RESPA and TILA Mortgage Servicing Rules. The adjustments include two changes that will help certain nonprofit organizations continue to provide mortgage credit and servicing to underserved populations. Other changes lay out limited circumstances where lenders that exceed the points and fees cap can pay a refund of the excess amount plus interest to consumers and still have the loan be considered a Qualified Mortgage.  These updates incorporate adjustments that became effective on November 2, 2014. To view the guide,click here.

FHA Refinance of Borrowers in Negative Equity Positions: Program Extension

On November 16th, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2014-23, FHA Refinance of Borrowers in Negative Equity Positions (Short Refi): Program Extension, which extends the expiration date of the program through December 31, 2016, and reiterates the permitted use of proceeds from government entities and instrumentalities of government to extinguish a portion of a borrower’s negative equity.  FHA’s Short Refi program supports refinances for borrowers who owe more than the current value of their home.  For more information, click here.

HUD Reaffirms Administration Stance on Fannie Freddie Overhaul

On November 17th, HUD Secretary Julian Castro said that overhauling the mortgage finance system remains a top priority for the final two years of the Obama administration. Castro suggested that the next Congress consider legislation that would wind down and eventually eliminate mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of the effort to boost the housing market’s recovery.  Earlier this year, the Senate Banking Committee approved legislation (S. 1217) that would have replaced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a new Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation (FMIC). The legislation contained provisions supported by MHI requiring FMIC to provide secondary market access to manufactured home loans secured by personal property.  With Republicans assuming majority control of the Senate for the 114th Congress, it is expected the Senate Banking Committee, under the chairmanship of Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), will take a different approach to reforming the nation’s secondary housing finance system.

For more information, contact Jason Boehlert, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, jboehlert@mfghome.org or(703) 558-0660.

The HUD MHCC will Meet for the First Time in Two Years

The HUD Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) is slated to meet December 2-4 in Arlington, Virginia. It will be the first in-person meeting since October 2012 and the MHCC is expected to meet for a full three days rather than the 2 1/2 in previous years.  MHI and its eight member representatives will participate during the meeting.  MHIplans to provide public comments on the business before the committee, and will make a number of recommendations to HUD and the MHCC, including the following:

  • A recommendation to changes in the HUD regulations to further clarify that RV/Park Models are not manufactured homes and should not be regulated as such.

  • A recommendation that the MHCC thoroughly and seriously review the consensus recommendations of the DOE ASRAC Working Group on Manufactured Housing to ensure that the energy efficiency standards proposed take into consideration the affordability of manufactured homes to consumers.

  • A recommendation that DOE utilize HUD’s framework under the HUD Procedural and Enforcement regulations for compliance and enforcement of any new energy efficiency standards.

  • A recommendation that HUD reverse or substantially modify its current policy requiring costly, time consuming and unnecessary alternative construction approvals for attached garages, including retroactive Subpart I investigation and correction of homes previously sold with attached garages.

  • Greater flexibility for HUD Code homes to be utilized for certain multifamily purposes such as offices for retailers, certain types of farmworker housing and housing used by workers in the oil and gas industries.

  • Several proposed changes and updates to the HUD Code and procedural and enforcement regulations which will provide for more flexible, less costly, and more innovative design and construction methodologies.

The MHCC has a new Administering Organization, Home Innovations Research Labs, formerly known as the NAHB (National Association of Homebuilders Research) foundation.  Home Innovations was the sole bidder for the HUD RFP issued last year.  The Systems Building Research Alliance (SBRA) submitted a bid but withdrew because of prohibitive costs associated becoming a certified organization by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), as required by the Manufactured Home Improvement Act of 2000.

Further information about the upcoming meeting and an agenda can be found by clicking here.  For additional information about the work of the MHCC and the current membership click here.

For more information, contact MHI Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Lois Starkey at (703) 558-0654or lstarkey@mfghome.org.

Manufactured Housing Fire Safety Report Reveals Good News

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has updated its 2011 report on manufactured home fires, and the news continues to be positive.

According to the report, manufactured homes had a 2007-2011 fire death rate per 100,000 units that that was roughly the same as the rate for other one-or-two single family homes.  Manufactured homes built after the introduction of the HUD Code in 1976 have lower rates of civilian deaths per hundred reported deaths than pre HUD-Code homes.  The 2007-2011 death rate was 57% lower than for post standard homes for pre-standard manufactured homes.

According to the report “If all pre-HUD standard manufactured homes were removed from the inventory, the fire death rate per 100,000 occupied manufactured homes would be estimated at 1.9, or well below the range estimated for the rate for other one- or two-family homes.”

The report found a disturbingly high rate of smoke alarm removal by occupants of manufactured homes.  Smoke alarms reportedly are missing in half (51%) of all manufactured home fires where smoke alarm status was reported.  Smoke alarms are required by the HUD Code.

Click here to view the 2013 NFPA report.

Government and Political News from Around the Nation

All 50 States – For state-by-state budget reviews, click herefor the analysis by MultiState Associates.

Alaska – Bill Walker (I) unveiled a bipartisan transition team to help him hit the ground running, before he declared election victory.  Click here to read more.

Indiana – The state Supreme Court unanimously decided Indiana’s Right to Work law is constitutional, overturning a lower court’s finding. Unions are considering taking their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Passed in 2012, the bill bars unions from forcing nonmembers to pay dues.  Click here to read more.

Kansas – New fiscal estimates reveal that Kansas will collect $1 billion less in revenue over the next two years than previously projected by state budget officials.  Click here to read more.

Maryland – According to newly released budget figures, Gov.-elect Larry Hogan (R) will inherit a $600 million budget deficit when he takes the oath in January. Hogan said the deficit was not a surprise and he intends to honor campaign pledges and cut spending rather than raise taxes to meet the fiscal challenge.  Click here to read more.

New Mexico – State Rep. Don Tripp (R) was selected to be the Speaker of the House when the 2015 session convenes in January. Tripp will be the first Republican to hold the position since 1954.  Click here to read more.

Pennsylvania – Senate Republicans ousted Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R) and replaced him with the more conservative Sen. Jake Corman (R) for the upper chamber’s top job. Upon his selection, Corman threw down the gauntlet and said that the natural gas extraction tax supported by Gov.-elect Tom Wolf (D) is dead on arrival in the Senate. Click here to read more.

Virginia – The House and Senate convened in a special session to pass legislation requested by state bond officials fixing a potential problem in the budget bill passed in September. Lawmakers also adopted a measure allowing health insurance companies to renew non-ACA compliant health plans.  Click here to read more.

Wisconsin – Gov. Scott Walker (R) wants to speed up the budget approval process next session, but legislative leaders are pushing back by pointing to the numerous steps involved in getting a budget enacted. Lawmakers sent the two-year budget in 2013 to the Governor on June 21st of that year, and say they will aim to get the next budget on his desk “in June.” Click here to read more.

All 50 States – Bill prefiling deadlines have been added to MultiState’s 2015 Legislative Session Deadlines chart. The chart also contains bill introduction and crossover deadlines, as well as session start and end dates.  Click here to read more.

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