MANUFACTURED HOUSING ASSOCIATION OF MAINE
NEWS ITEMS - JUNE, 2014
Nationally, shipments for April, 2014 were up 7.5% over April, 2013 to a level of
5,718 homes representing 8,790 floors. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of production for
April, 2014 is 67,092 compared to a March, 2014 rate of 59,295, a 13.1% increase. According to
the State of Maine Manufactured Housing Board's latest figures, shipments for HUD Code and
modular homes to Maine are as follows:
We have recently learned that Ryan Chandler, who has been an Inspector at the Manufactured
Housing Board, was recently hired to fill the position of Senior Inspector for the MHB.
Congratulations to Ryan!
RECREATIONAL VEHICLES AND MANUFACTURED HOMES: The RV industry, largely in response
to the new federal regulations involving lending, is attempting to re-define some of its product
and doing that via the 2015 HUD budget process. Many in the manufactured home industry
are concerned that essentially having any redefinition buried within a Budget bill rather than
having it go through the normal channels, such as the Senate Banking Committee, may have the
unintended consequence of confusing consumers about just what is an RV (more specifically
a Park Model) versus a federally regulated manufactured home. Our national lobbyists in
Washington D.C. are leading the way in urging Congress to act carefully in this situation, and to
refer it to the Senate Banking Committee for its more detailed consideration. MHAM has been
in contact with Senator Collins' office to voice its support for our industry's recommendation.
HR 1779: The U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee passed HR 1779 -
"Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act". If this bill is eventually enacted into law, it
would amend the thresholds under Dodd-Frank whereby a manufactured home loan is deemed
predatory and "high cost". Understandably, lenders are currently hesitant to offer loans under
this classification due to potential increased liability on their parts. By re-setting the criteria to
a more realistic level, it is hoped that more lenders will be willing to increase their lending for
our products. The law would also clarify that manufactured home salespersons would not be
considered loan originators unless they actually receive compensation from a lender, mortgage
broker, or a loan originator. Currently, due to the uncertainty of the definition of "loan
originator", a person may be "flagged" and subject to fines and penalties from the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau if they discuss financing at all with a potential home purchaser.
Rep. Mike Michaud served as a co-sponsor of HR 1779.
MANUFACTURED HOUSING ENERGY STANDARDS:
We have recently heard that the U.S.
Department of Energy is intending to proceed with developing some new energy standards for
manufactured homes. This is pursuant to the "Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007".
One of the concerns of our industry is that changes may be promulgated without any
meaningful input from sectors of our industry and consumers through both HUD and the
Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee. This is an issue that could have serious and
expensive consequences for us and is an issue that we will continue to monitor.
FALL PROTECTION: It has been reported by several State Associations around the country that
OSHA has become increasingly active with monitoring our industry in the area of fall protection.
Since these issues have a way of eventually making it around the nation, it may be an issue
that we in Maine will be facing. It is recommended that any enterprise involved with installing
manufactured or modular homes have a Fall Protection Plan in place. Many insurance carriers
have sample plans available, and this is also something that MHAM may be able to develop for
its members. In the meantime, you may wish to consult your insurance carrier for its input to
make sure that you are not unnecessarily left vulnerable to claims of not providing proper safety
policies for your workers, and that those policies are followed.
MAINEHOUSING'S PRE-1976 MANUFACTURED HOME REPLACEMENT PROGRAM:
From various reports, this program has overall been successful in placing a considerable number
of Mainers who once owned a pre-1976 manufactured home into a new home provided by our
industry. It has helped not only consumers, but also manufacturers and retailers. The program
has been utilized to the extent that the funding has run short, but a recent influx of monies by
MaineHousing has enabled it to continue on into the fall. We hope that this program is also
something that can be renewed on an ongoing basis, and MHAM will work with MaineHousing
towards that goal. At some point, we will be able to measure just how many new home owners
in Maine have availed themselves of this program.
FOR ANY INFORMATION ANY MEMBERS WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER INDUSTRY
PARTNERS, PLEASE EMAIL DICK BRADSTREET AT "email@example.com".