Congressmen Marlin Stutzman (R-3 IN) and Jackie Walorski (R-2nd IN) announced Thursday October 9th legislation they’ve introduced legislation aimed at preventing recreational vehicles from being regulated as manufactured housing (MH), the the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette and MHProNews tell Manufactured Home Living News.
Marlin Stutzman (R-3 IN) and Jackie Walorski (R-2nd IN),
photo credit – WikiCommons.
As our regular readers know, the RV and MH industries have a history so deeply connected, they share the RV MH Hall of Fame. One of many questions this legislation will indirectly ask is, will the two industries work together to solve regulatory challenges that arguably harm each and consumers too?
MHARR States Concerns
The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform has voiced concerns over definition changes that might indirectly harm manufactured home producers, and by implication, those who own manufactured homes.
Indeed, Brian Francisco at the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette tells us that the RV industry is seeking to avoid “restrictive taxing, zoning and consumer lending rules if certain vehicles are considered manufactured housing and regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.”
These are “code words,” some say, that mean they would like to avoid some of the problems that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and other federal regulations have imposed on manufactured homes.
Photo credits – above, Savon Homes; below, Resort Park Model Sales.
Park Model Homes – the Original Tiny House?
Years before the Tiny House trend, park model homes were being built by the RV industry and some manufactured home producers as well. There are code differences!
Most park models/RVs technically aren’t built for full time living, while manufactured homes are and often have higher standards set by HUD, precisely because they are made as homes rather than for recreational use. The financing on each are also thus distinctive.
Such differences are part of the vexing issue, as RVs have largely escaped the regulatory burdens of the CFPB, HUD, DOE and others.
Manufactured Housing Institute Statement
On October 18, MHI released the following statement, which included this download of HUD Manufactured Housing Program Administrator, Pam Danner.
“On October 1st, Pamela Beck Danner, Administrator of HUD’s Office of Manufactured Housing Programs, issued a memo to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), MHI and others regarding its regulations for RV Park Models under the Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations.
The purpose of the memo was to clarify HUD’s 1988 interpretation of its RV exemption, and to notify the industry that it is aware of several manufacturers who are building Park Model RVs larger than the maximum size limitations in the HUD regulation providing the exemption for Park Models. According to the memo, these manufacturers “purportedly” relied on a Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) 2012 Standards Bulletin that provided inaccurate instructions for measuring units for the RV exemption to HUD’s code.
In her memo, Danner said that she would ask the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) if it would like to recommend to HUD modification of the current RV exemption. The MHCC plans to meet for two days in early December.
In the meantime, RVIA is stepping up legislative efforts on Capitol Hill. Two Republican members of Congress whose districts include many RV manufacturing plants, Jackie Walorski (R-2nd IN) and Marlin Stutzman, (R-3rd IN) have co-sponsored a bill, H.R. 5658, that would revise the definition of “manufactured home” under the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 to clarify the exclusion of certain RVs.
The bill specifies that a Park Model can be built up to a maximum of 400 square feet, excluding porches and decks.
Prospects for passage of the bill are uncertain in the coming lame duck session of Congress, following the mid-term elections. The MHI Board of Directors will meet in February to reconsider its current position which is to maintain the status quo.”
As millions of Americans enjoy both the RV and MH lifestyles, we will monitor this legislation and related stories for our readers. ##