Unpacking New White House Council on Affordable Housing Initiative and Manufactured Homes



Success has many fathers,
failure is an orphan
– Maxim based on saying popularized by President John F. Kennedy,
but originated in a saying by Italian Count Caleazzo Ciano, per Wikipedia.

Manufactured housing is underperforming as an industry, as has been noted numerous times here on MHProNews. So perhaps it is no surprise that when something positive appears to occur, there is a rush to grab credit for that apparent glimmer of hope.

There is therefore a sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious battle in manufactured housing over who did what, when, where, why, and how. There is also a contest as to what the meaning is of some legal or administrative ruling, or what the possible risks and benefits are of a bill that is being proposed in Congress, and so on.

In the wake of the White House’s surprise announcement of a new executive order establishing a “White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing,” the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and their surrogates were quick to leap to take credit. MHI’s claims could be examined in an upcoming fact-check. But what follows below is the view from the Washington, D.C. based Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform.

Note that MHARR specifically mentions MHProNews participation in that pre-announcement conference call. MHProNews publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach’s query was one of only four questions taken by the White House during their pre-rollout conference call. According to the automated login for that call, only several dozen were in on that White House call, and MHARR and MHProNews were among that tiny group so invited.

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform Unpacks New White House Council and Manufactured Homes

JUNE 26, 2019







President Announces White House Council
on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers
to Affordable Housing

MHARR participated in a conference call on June 25, 2019, conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), during which White House officials announced the impending issuance of an Executive Order (EO) to create a “White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing.” While the substance of the EO – which, as detailed below, is fully consistent with and reflects MHARR policy objectives as advanced before the Administration, Congress and HUD – was described during the conference call, that call, as repeatedly emphasized by the same White House Officials, was specifically “off the record.” MHARR, in accordance with that request, withheld publication on this initiative until it was publicly announced and issued by the White House (see HUD Press Release attached).

Consistent with MHARR’s fundamental focus on the costs imposed by unnecessary and unreasonable regulatory mandates, as well as its more recent initiative and undertaking to combat discriminatorily restrictive and exclusionary local zoning mandates that effectively ban HUD-regulated manufactured housing from large areas of the nation, the President’s Executive Order, specifically acknowledges that “federal, state [and] local … governments impose a multitude of regulatory barriers – laws, regulations and administrative practices – that hinder the development of housing.” The EO then goes on to expressly recognize types of regulatory actions – which have been prioritized for action and opposition by MHARR — that continue to hinder both the affordability and availability of federally-regulated manufactured housing, stating: “These regulatory barriers include – overly restrictive zoning and growth management controls … excessive energy … efficiency mandates [and] outdated manufactured housing regulations and restrictions.” (Emphasis added).

Indeed, the EO’s specific emphasis on zoning and other “outdated … restrictions” on federally-regulated manufactured housing is fully consistent with an April 24, 2019 communication from MHARR to Secretary Carson, calling on HUD to “utilize its resources to research, study and analyze such discriminatory and exclusionary zoning and its local and national impacts on the availability of affordable [manufactured] housing and homeownership in light of relevant national housing policies.” The same communication calls on HUD to exercise its authority under the enhanced federal preemption language of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 to either eliminate or limit such baseless restrictions. And, indeed, in response to an inquiry from MHProNews Publisher L.A. Tony Kovach, it appears that the specific issue of federal preemption will be “on the table” in this process.

Under the EO, the White House Council will be chaired by Secretary Carson and will consist of representatives from eight federal agencies, including agencies that either currently regulate matters affecting manufactured housing – i.e., HUD and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – or seek to regulate aspects of manufactured housing – i.e., the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Among other things as set forth in the EO, the Council will seek to identify and then “reduce and streamline statutory, regulatory and administrative burdens at all levels of government that inhibit the development of affordable housing.” This will lead to the development of specific initiatives designed to reduce the targeted federal, state and local regulatory barriers and a report to President Trump within the next twelve months regarding “the Council’s implementation of … this order.”

The EO, accordingly, presents a potentially unequalled opportunity for the specific advancement of policy objectives that MHARR has been tasked with advancing, including, but not limited to: (1) the full and complete implementation of all reform aspects of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000; (2) the elimination of unnecessary regulatory burdens imposed on manufactured housing and manufactured housing consumers by HUD in accordance with Executive Orders 13771 and 13777; (3) the elimination or modification of baseless and discriminatory zoning restrictions on manufactured housing, including both single lots and communities; and (4) other related issues involving regulatory impediments to the availability and affordability of HUD-regulated manufactured housing.

In addition, the initiative established by the EO underscores that recent legislation introduced in Congress to supposedly “modernize” manufactured housing – but which would, in reality, undermine and harm existing, inherently affordable HUD Code manufactured housing – is unnecessary and should not go forward, as set forth by MHARR in its June 24, 2019 Memorandum entitled “Unnecessary/Damaging Bills Introduced in Congress.”

MHARR will continue to keep you apprised of developments related to this important Administration initiative.

cc: Other Interested Industry Members



MHProNews Analysis

Let’s be blunt.

The fact that “enhanced preemption” is only “on the table” in this process is a possible warning sign.

There is no doubt that MHARR is pushing for preemption. That has been well documented, as is shown in the screen capture graphics herein plus the links below the byline.

Since the screen capture above was performed, MHARR has done more articles that mention or are focused on the federal preemption given to HUD Code manufactured homes under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.

MHProNews and MHLivingNews have likewise promoted the broad use of federal preemption for manufactured homes for years.


MHProNews and MHLivingNews has been online longer than MHARR, so it is no surprise that MHARR is #3 on this search result. But MHI has been online since the 1990s. They were part of the coalition led by MHARR that included state associations that helped make enhanced preemption part of federal law. How is it possible that MHI has no mention of it on their website? State executives are aware of it, and though rarely used, it has been used by HUD on occasion.

By contrast, it is MHI and their surrogates that purportedly have hidden and/or obscured this important key in federal law that already exists. Why? What explains that claim, if they truly want to see the industry grow?

Site search of MHI website conducted on 6.30.2019. By contrast, see what a purported surrogate of theirs has said on this same topic, at this link here and here. Curious, isn’t it?


That key of HUD actually using their significant power of federal preemption over local and state roadblocks could turn the lock that opens the door to more manufactured home ownership opportunities for millions of Americans. It is a regulatory short-cut, because it is already federal law. It fits perfectly with the White House’s stated mission. Is there a reason to delay on this? See but one example of federal preemption being exercised by HUD in the letter to Richland, MS below.



The letter to Richland is found here, and was requested by that state’s executive, Jen Hall. So why wouldn’t MHI promote it’s use? Indeed, why didn’t MHI ask for this on the recent Bryan, TX case?


So this White House initiative, while promising, nevertheless comes with cautionary notes too.

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach in photo by sign displayed at a MHI meeting.

It is a disgrace that the Manufactured Housing Institute [MHI] has not boldly, consistently, and faithfully promoted the enhanced preemption that is a key part of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. MHI was part of that effort in the waning days of the 20th century. It is already federal law. Because they were part of the coalition that worked for passage, MHI therefore ought to be well aware of the law and its meaning. But that was prior to Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisition of Clayton Homes, and much has changed at MHI since 2003.” said former MHI board member and MHProNews publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

If MHI sincerely wants to see the industry grow in a robust and sustainable fashion, then they will push for the Government Sponsored Enterprises [GSEs] lending on all HUD Code manufactured homes, not just a select group of them that Clayton Homes wanted supported. If MHI isn’t just posturing when they say they want to see the industry grow, then they should begin immediately to promote the true meaning of enhanced preemption. MHI should likewise do more than give a fig leaf to their members whom they hope to mollify or ‘razzle dazzle,’ by going loudly, proudly, and consistently public on the valuable steps that HUD Secretary Ben Carson has taken in recent months to promote a better understanding and broader use of manufactured homes, Kovach said.

The fact that MHI has failed to do so even on their own website speaks volumes, Kovach said.

MHProNews will circle back to this topic as warranted in the near term. Note that as a courtesy to new readers, or those who may have missed it, the evidence of MHARR’s claims are found linked below the bylines and notice. The hot links above also lead to more evidence on the issue of enhanced preemption.

That’s today’s first installment of News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” ©. ## (News, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary.)

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Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com. Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Related Reports:

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Shocking, True State of the Manufactured Housing Industry, plus Solutions for Profitable, Sustainable Growth – May 2019

“Time to Investigate Fannie And Freddie’s Mishandling Of DTS” | Manufactured Housing Association Regulatory Reform

It’s been more than ten years since Congress enacted the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) and its “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets” (DTS) mandate. DTS directs both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to “develop loan products and flexible underwriting guidelines to facilitate a secondary market for mortgages on manufactured homes for very low, low and moderate-income families.”

MHARR Launches “Fighting Discriminatory Zoning Mandates” Manufactured Housing Project | Manufactured Housing Association Regulatory Reform

Washington, D.C., May 15, 2019 – With manufactured housing producers, retailers and communities offering their best homes (and related consumer protection) ever, and in light of the failure of the ostensible representation of the industry’s post-production sector to fully and effectively advance the marketing, consumer financing and, most importantly, the full acceptance of federally-regulated manufactured housing as the nation’s premiere source of non-subsidized affordable housing and homeownership, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has launched a new project and initiative to fight selected, especially egregious instances of discriminatory and exclusionary zoning targeting manufactured housing and manufactured housing consumers.


MHARR Calls on HUD Secretary to End Discriminatory And Exclusionary Zoning of HUD-Regulated Manufactured Homes | Manufactured Housing Association Regulatory Reform

Washington, D.C., April 30, 2019 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) in an April 24, 2019 communication to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary, Ben Carson (copy attached), has called on the Department to federally preempt local zoning ordinances which discriminatorily exclude manufactured homes regulated by HUD pursuant to the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 and the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.

“We as a Nation Can Solve the Affordable Housing Crisis,” Says Secretary Ben Carson, Spotlighting Manufactured Homes, Other Emerging Housing Technologies – manufacturedhomelivingnews.com

” Let’s make sure people understand what’s available,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson about affordable housing, as he spotlighted manufactured homes as a key part of the Innovations in Housing display on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. ” You can get one of these manufactured houses, for instance, for 30 percent less, and they are very, very resilient.



Open Letter – Kurt Kelley, Joanne Stevens, Frank Rolfe, Manufactured Housing Review About Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Request For Information from Manufactured Home Community Owners – manufacturedhomelivingnews.com

Kurt Kelley, JD, is the publisher of the Manufactured Housing Review ( MHR), as the below reflects in his quarterly’s ” Publisher’s Message.” For the 2019 Quarter 1 issue, his message read in part as follows. [in this issue] address Senator Elizabeth Warren’s attempt to gather private information from Manufactured Home Community owners.


Manufactured Home Resident Leader Asks For Federal Investigations – manufacturedhomelivingnews.com

Californian Robert ‘Bob’ Van Cleef is involved in manufactured home resident advocacy. Bob and his wife sold their home and moved into a manufactured home. They enjoy their manufactured home, but were unpleasantly surprised by certain developments in their community. That’s when Bob stepped up to volunteer as community leader.

mas kovach mhpronews shopping with soheyla .jp

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