Archive for March 4th, 2012

The Magic of 27 February 2008, 2000, & now 2012

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

27 February 2012; akin 27 February 2008 & 2009?*1

MHI’s Legislative Conference, NCC Division Meeting & the MHInitiative®

‘a.k.a.’ replaces ‘nee’; a wholly unexpected personal & corporate epiphany;

&, How to know whether a landlease community owner/operator is, by dint of rental homesite count, a small, medium – sized, or large scale participant!

I.

MHI’s Legislative Conference, NCC division meeting, & the MHInitiative®

First the numbers, then substance; followed by items covered & to be covered.

According to MHI’s Legislative Conference & Winter Meeting official list of attendees, there were 79 registrants, not counting MHI staff. Of this number, 17 were state MHAssociation executives; and 62+/- businessmen and women, of whom 16 were landlease community owners/operators, a dozen or so lenders and financial service representatives, eight HUD Code home manufacturers, and several MHRetailers.

Following Monday (2/27/2012) morning’s breakfast buffet, a general session featured presentations by the Honorable Carol Galante, acting commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration & Assistant Secretary for HUD; Tom Davis, Director of Federal Government Affairs for Deloitte & Touches, LLP; and the Honorable Judy Biggers, chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing & Community Opportunity (One of two members of Congress who hosted the 1 February 2012 Hearing on the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000). Luncheon speaker was Mark Calabria, Director of Financial Regulation Studies, CATO Institute, a think tank in Washington, DC.

The National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division met from 2:30 – 4:15PM that day. There was a dozen NCC board members, all landlease community owners/operators present, plus a couple more in the audience. It was announced SUN Communities, Inc., rejoined MHI/NCC, so their CEO, John McLaren was proffered an invitation to serve as this year’s vice chairman of the council. Following the passing of the chairman’s gavel from Steven Schaub of YES! Communities to David Lentz of American Land Lease, the latter shared his thoughts on

• Importance of providing value, and a good customer experience, to homeowner/site lessee residents of our landlease communities

• Commonality of business interests among large and small owners of landlease communities

• Need for unity among NCC members, decrying what he views as self – serving decisions of the few, hurting the majority.

The remainder of the meeting agenda included a description of the 2012 NCC Forum prior to this year’s MHCongress in Las Vegas, NV., and briefings as to various federal legislative issues, particularly the MHCC Fire Sprinkler Position relative to landlease communities.

What else was covered? While not on the meeting agenda per se, it was noted that ‘lease option’, one of a landlease community owner’s self – finance methodology options, briefly discussed at MHI’s annual meeting in Phoenix during October 2011, will be one of the topics featured at the aforementioned NCC Forum this Spring. And the CAS Task Force, named at the aforesaid annual meeting, has not been forgotten, but will be supplemented with representatives from finance firms. Marc Lifset, esquire, briefed the board on the ‘manufactured housing de – titling efforts’ of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law – apparently at a ‘stand still’ for the time being. MHI staff was encouraged to see if a landlease community owner/operator member of the NCC could be named to the ‘working group’ being formed by Congresswoman Judy Biggert, pursuant to further attention paid to implementing the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. Finally, Steve Adler, an MHEI board member, presented that body’s request for guidance, as to what should be included in a new PHC® variant designed to teach ‘How to Sell Manufactured Homes within a Landlease Community!’

What wasn’t covered, but will likely be so, in the future? In the National Electric Code, 2011 edition, page # 70-489 (para. 550.32 Service Equipment) there’s a paragraph that reads in part:

“The mobile home service equipment (electrical pedestal) shall be located adjacent to the mobile home and not mounted in or on the mobile home. The service equipment shall be located in sight from and not more than 9.0m (30 ft) from the exterior wall of the mobile home it serves.”

Know what? This provision dates back to the early days of our industry (1970s), when manufactured homes were indeed ‘mobile’, and electric pedestals provided for relative ease and safety, when connecting and disconnecting electric power to ‘mobile homes’. There’s little to no reason to continue this archaic practice, as 95% of today’s homes are characterized by one site installation. Steps can be taken to have our contemporary manufactured homes treated as site – built homes, and said electric power brought into the home via service equipment affixed to the side of the home; or, as is more often the case these days, underground, removing eyesore electric pedestals from landlease communities once and for all! How to effect this change? Have a knowledgeable manufactured housing industry representative (including the possibility of a landlease community owner/operator) become a board member of the administering body, OR recruit an existing board member to ‘carry our coals to Newcastle’ – and there is such an individual in place. Bottom line? It appears this matter will finally be given explored.

MHInitiative®. As regular readers of this weekly blog posting know; I attended this year’s Legislative Conference, primarily to see whether MHI elected and salaried leaders would tackle the timely question, ‘How to Save Our Industry?!’ This remains a sensitive issue for many of us. But given the recent hiring of Dick Jennison, as president and CEO of MHI, it’s reasonable to give him space and opportunity to ‘learn our various business model(s)’; then address this (if still) timely and potentially fatal issue. GFA

And, if you aren’t presently a direct, dues – paying member of the Manufactured Housing Institute, and or it’s National Communities Council division, contact Lisa Brechtel via (703) 558-0666 to request membership information, and for the upcoming NCC Forum at the annual MHCongress in Las Vegas, NV., in early April 2012.

II.

‘a.k.a.’ replaces ‘nee’!

Yep, it’s as simple as that! Somewhere along the journalistic line, I came to believe using ‘nee’ in the following fashion, to be correct. It isn’t. For example: landlease (nee manufactured home) community. The correct rendering? Landlease (a.k.a. manufactured home) community. Frankly, a.k.a. doesn’t quite get the job done though, as I was seeking a word that communicates the modified word (i.e. manufactured home) is, or is about to become, passe’, or used less frequently than in years past. Suggestions anyone? In the meantime, I’ll go with landlease (a.k.a. manufactured home) community. Thanks to Joe Stegmayer, former college English teacher, present MHI chairman, as well as chairman & CEO of Cavco Industries, Inc., for that apt observation and correction! GFA

III.

A Wholly Unexpected Personal & Corporate Epiphany!

And that’s what it was; “a sudden, intuitive perception of, or insight into reality…often initiated by some simple, commonplace occurrence”, truly an epiphany. Webster’s Dictionary.

It was Sunday afternoon, 26 February, hours before leaving my hotel in Arlington, VA., to participate in MHI’s Manufactured Housing Educational Institute board of directors meeting. I was sitting there, quietly planning for the upcoming Legislative Conference and aforementioned NCC meeting, when all of a sudden, the following recollection and inspiration occurred to me:

“18 years ago, it took 18 (then) manufactured home community owners, to convene, on 8/31/1993, and get their realty asset class’ national advocacy movement started! And here we are 18 years later, and that ‘mid – 1990s, REIT formation – driven initiative’, appears to maybe be at an impasse, given that only 16 (now) landlease community owners/operators are in attendance at this year’s MHI Legislative Conference – and only one of those can be numbered among the original 18 Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’) members! The good reality however, is that we do indeed have trade and advocacy representation in Washington, DC, via MHI’s NCC division.” GFA

Here’s the epiphany.

“As of today, 27 February 2012, I begin the quiet search for a ‘new 18’ veteran and successful landlease community owners, motivated and capable of ensuring their property owner/operator peers, large and small, throughout the realty asset class, have sufficient statistical data, educational opportunities, communication resources, networking and deal – making opportunities, now and into the future!” GFA

At this juncture, let me be clear; we’re NOT talking about national or regional political and regulatory agency ADVOCACY here! The epiphany is simply a logical means by which to ensure, along with the planned academic research emphasis of the Center for Manufactured Housing Research – and Affordable Housing, that perennial ALLEN REPORTs, Manufactured Housing Manager® professional property management training & certification, subscriber – supported monthly newsletters & Signature Series Resource Documents (‘SSRD’), weekly Official MHIndustry & LLCommunity blog postings, and annual International Networking Roundtables and periodic FOCUS Groups continue, rather than cease, when I bring my working career to an end during the next couple years. Previous attempts to merge with other bodies have failed, so this is a new and quiet beginning to ensure adequate resources for our asset class on into the future.

If you’d like to talk about this matter further; better yet, express sincere personal interest in being one of the aforementioned ‘new 18’ veteran and successful landlease community owners, motivated and capable of ensuring the future of our asset class in the manner just described, contact me via: GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247 or the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

IV.

How to Know Whether a Landlease Community Owner/operator is, by dint of rental homesite count, a small, medium – sized, or large scale participant!

As you likely know; more than 23 years ago, the decision was made, that to be identified as a landlease community portfolio owner/operator, a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation, would have to own and or fee – manage five such properties or 500 rental homesites. This remains the ‘portfolio qualification standard’ to this day, relative to the aforementioned ALLEN REPORT and other research documents.

Then, 15 years ago, this question was posed, ‘What are the individual and corporate – owned landlease community investment categories, within this unique income – producing property type?’ Well, that wasn’t as easy to delineate, but past and present practice goes like this:

• An Institutional &/or Investment Grade Landlease Community usually contains 175 – 200+ rentable rental homesites

• A Young Wealth – Builder Landlease Community is characterized as being 75 or 100 to 175 or 200 rentable rental homesites in size.

• A Mom & Pop – sized Landlease Community generally features 100 and fewer rentable rental homesites. This category constitutes about 85+/-% of our national inventory of this unique, income – producing property type.

Now, we turn our attention to the question about how to best differentiate among small, medium – sized, and large scale property portfolio owners/operators of landlease communities. Here’s what we’ve come up with to date.

Collectively, 10 to a maximum of 499 rentable rental homesites, in one or more landlease communities in one property portfolio, describes a small owner/operator.

Collectively, 500 – 2,000 rentable rental homesites, in one or more landlease communities in one property portfolio, describes a mid – sized owner/operator.

Collectively, 2001+ rentable rental homesites, in one or more landlease communities in one property portfolio, describes a large scale owner.

Now you know. Furthermore; if you have an opinion, or refining thoughts, on this subject, and are willing to share it; please let us know.

*** End Note: 1. 27 February 2008 & 2009 refer to the first two National State of the Asset Class (‘NSAC’) caucuses, held respectively in Tampa, FL., and Elkhart, IN., on those identical day/month dates in those consecutive years. See earlier blog postings for detailed descriptions of historic measures that came from both events.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156