Discussion Forum Topic:

Advancing Modular Housing Initiative
Original Comment:
MHBA is aggressively promoting the modular home movement at the federal and state levels with an effort we are calling our “Advancing Modular Housing Initiative.” Nearly every local, state, and federal housing authority struggles with the affordable housing gap. Yet many implement policies we feel are counter intuitive towards reaching their goals. In several states, one agency imposes restrictions that have a negative impact on the goals of another. Navigating this maze of local, state, and federal bureaucracy is time consuming and often frustrating. But we feel that the modular industry can play a bigger role in addressing our nation’s housing shortage.

Here are seven ways MHBA is working to advocate for the modular home industry.

1) Creating a level playing field – First and foremost, no housing “product” should have a government-supported unfair advantage. This week, we met with eight Congressional representatives including the Chairman of the House Finance Committee and Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. We discussed our concerns over the proposed new HUD regulations that would allow the manufactured housing industry to confuse the public and encroach into the modular home market share with its new “CrossMod” product. We will also be submitting comments on the regulations and encouraged Congressional leadership to question the motivation behind these proposed new regulations.

2) Address fairness and equity in financing modular projects – Over the past several months we have been working with Fannie Mae to develop a guideline for financing modular projects. In the past, Fannie Mae had been reluctant to guarantee loans for modular projects (multi-family condos in particular) requiring special (duplicative) underwriting. After our lobbying efforts, Fannie Mae has eliminated this second underwriting requirement and has moved further to better educate their lending community. Later this month, Fannie Mae will publish and distribute its lenders guide to financing modular projects, a publication the industry helped write.

3) We are working to get language included in future appropriations bills impacting low income housing tax credits and community development block grants that would incentivize agencies to consider housing projects that meet certain goals such as reducing material waste and reducing construction schedules.

4) Developing Industry Standards – The International Code Council (ICC) is currently developing two new ANSI standards for the modular / Offsite construction industry. One standard (ICC/ANSI 1200) will be more informative in nature and focus on aspects such as design, transportation, staging, and mod to mod assembly of larger projects. The second standard (ICC/ANSI 1205) will create a standard review and approval process for modular projects including third party inspections and standard requirements for quality assurance. MHBA/MBI Executive Director is the co-chair on this standards committee working group.

5) We continue to work directly with the State of Virginia through their housing, economic development and building code agencies to recommend policies that will encouraging greater participation from the modular home industry. We are scheduling calls and meetings with top policy officials in other key states to mirror these efforts in Virginia. We have a call set later this month to discuss housing policies in Ohio and have begun reaching out to other states for similar meetings.

6) Challenging restrictive zoning and HOA covenants - MHBA continues to be industry advocate, pushing back against ill-informed, outdated, and restrictive covenants that continue to pop up around the country. Last year we were successful in overturning one such case with the Michigan Supreme Court. No other trade association stepped up to help.

7) State Program Rules and Administration – Ultimately, this is where many bottlenecks occur, adding time and money to your projects. Next week while at MBI’s World of Modular Conference, we will meet with modular program officials from ten states to address excessive and burdensome regulations, greater use of third-party inspection agencies, and other ways to streamline the approval process.

These specific efforts are in addition to MHBA’s ongoing Consumer Awareness Program (CAP) which helps to educate and better inform thousands of potential home buyers each month. Our popular “Home of the Month” contest, online advertising, and regional radio ads are intended to drive consumers back to modularhome.org where they can learn more about modular homes and ultimately find a builder in their area.

If you are a modular home builder or manufacturer, please remember that MHBA is the ONLY national trade association that is focused exclusively on this industry and we have no competing interests within our org chart. If your company or potential customer is experiencing unfair treatment or discriminatory application of policies against modular homes, please feel free to contact our association for help.
Started on March 6, 2020 by Tom Hardiman
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Additional Comments:
I appreciate the update. These initiatives are great strides to improve the industry.
Updated on March 6, 2020 by Cary Orlandi

Tom

Great information !!!!

This is exactly what we need

Gary
Updated on March 6, 2020 by Gary Casazza

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