Three-word executive summary? ‘Sustained pushback pays.’
One sentence summary? ‘Routinely spotlighting purported failures by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) to properly do their job is once more showing measurable results.’
But there is more work to do. Let’s dive into the background and the latest facts as it relates to this headline.
For months and years on end, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), has pushed back on MHI’s seemingly bizarre stances. Two prominent examples prior to today’s? The MHI reversal on the DOE Energy Rule, and the effort to remove Pam Danner, JD, for purported regulatory overreach at the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs.
MHARR, as with other trade associations, deals with a myriad of issues to monitor and address. There are meetings with regulators and law makers. There are reports to industry and members. It’s noteworthy that the smaller trade group is consistently correct, and while battling the system in Washington, they are de facto battling MHI. Yet, they have once more emerged on the correct side of a key issue.
That noted, while a MHI member and since, MHProNews and our publicly focused sister site, MHLivingNews has beat the enhanced preemption drum for years as well. The screen capture below tells part of the tale.
What MHI Admitted Today
The following was part of a larger document, linked here. Here is the key section on federal preemption for HUD Code manufactured homes, quoted verbatim below. It will be followed by a brief analysis. MHI’s letter to Dr. Carson says in part as follows.
“…4.) HUD Must Implement and Enforce its Enhanced Preemption Authority
MHI Proposes that HUD shall issue a revised and updated policy statement regarding the Department’s position concerning preemption and state and local zoning, planning, or development restrictions that either severely limit or outright prohibit manufactured housing.
HUD needs to exercise its preemption authority when local regulatory construction standards and zoning, planning, or development policies adversely affect the placement of quality, affordable manufactured housing. While HUD has pursued individual cases where local jurisdictions have introduced construction and safety standards that are not consistent with the HUD Code or have imposed zoning and planning requirements that exclude HUD-compliant manufactured homes, MHI believes HUD must play a much greater role in this effort and has a congressional mandate to do so. HUD has jurisdictional authority to move beyond case-by- case enforcement and take an official policy position opposing state and local regulatory schemes that are inconsistent with Congressional intent.
In 1997, HUD determined it has authority under the MHCSS Act to issue a “Statement of Policy 1997- 1 State and Local Zoning Determinations Involving HUD Code” (the 1997 Policy Statement) that summarizes the Department’s policy position concerning preemption and certain zoning decisions being made by state or local governments.7 Following passage of the Improvement Act in 2000, which significantly strengthened HUD’s preemptive authority, HUD clearly has the authority to make necessary updates to its original policy statement.8 Consequently, MHI recommends that HUD update its 1997 Policy Statement because it was issued after enactment of the MHCSS Act, but before the passage of the Improvement Act, which would remedy issues raised in the following DRCs: 33, 62, 83, 84, 287, 290, 291, 298, and 299. Given that the Improvement Act expanded HUD’s authority, MHI believes it is only appropriate for the Department to update its statement. Further, updating the 1997 Policy Statement would galvanize HUD’s pledge to facilitate the availability of affordable manufactured homes and to increase homeownership for all Americans…”
That’s belated from MHI, right? Nevertheless, after years of public, published pressure, it’s apparently paying off.
But that doesn’t mean this battle is over.
Their letter to Secretary Carson or message to members doesn’t admit that MHI has arguably obscured and hidden that authority of enhanced preemption by HUD as best they can. They still don’t have it posted on their own website, even today, after their statement in their letter to Secretary Carson and their email to their members.
There is clearly more for them to do, as their reported ongoing failures to intervene in cases in several states have revealed.
“Some MHI members have quietly supported MHProNews by providing insights and tips,” said publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach. “So in fairness, while some big boys have reportedly pushed suppressing the issue of federal enhanced preemption for years, there are also some MHI members that objected. Similarly, several in MHI oppose their so-called ‘new class of homes,’ when Duty to Serve (DTS) should apply to all HUD Code manufactured homes. But the bottom line is that there is arguably far more work to be done at MHI. But this is progress. It’s proof that consist calls for accountability can yield results.”
The Masthead earlier this week – prior to MHI’s email – raises related issues.
Check out MHARR’s letter on this topic, found as a download from the report below, sent to Secretary Carson earlier this year. But bear in mind that MHARR had this point and others that MHI is now claiming as their own, even though MHARR had it in their comments letter to HUD last year, and on numerous other occasions. Plagiarism? Or is it a case of imitation is the most sincere form of flattery?
Raise a glass – or a mug. It’s Miller Time.
That’s tonight’s final episode of manufactured housing “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com.
Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. Connect with us on LinkedIn here and here.
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