Radical Change @ MHI, it’s ‘water sprinkler’ Redoubt & End of MHTitles?

Top Ten Tongue – in – Cheek Reasons NOT to Effect Radical
Change at the Manufactured Housing Institute!

&

Who Might Lead the New MHI Partnership Team?

&

Commentator Paul Harvey & MHI’s ‘water sprinkler’ Proposal

&

Beware the Uniform Law Commission’s Ousting of MHTitles!

The lead story in this week’s blog won’t make sense to you, until you read last week’s posting, titled: ‘Time For a Radical Change at the Manufactured Housing Institute’. Here’s the statement that got tongues – a – wagging during the past seven days…

“Finally merge the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform with the Manufactured Housing Institute; yes indeed, and make Danny Ghorbani executive – in – charge of all home manufacturing/distribution matters; and yours truly, George Allen, executive – in – charge of all landlease (nee manufactured home) community affairs! And atop the new HUD Code manufactured housing and landlease community pyramid, position the present day board chairman (Joe Stegmayer of Cavco Industries, Inc.) – or his handpicked designee, to lead both major segments of the new and equal partnership between ‘production & post production’ divisions of the manufactured housing industry.

Present state of the search? Following is from the written and distributed record of MHI’s conference call, 15 November, with state MHAssociation execs. At one point, Joe Stegmayer explains: ‘We have talked with some folks and are getting resumes in for a new president…We want to find a very dynamic and aggressive leader for MHI… (&) We don’t feel we have to have a person in (sic) tomorrow.’

Last week’s blog posting. ‘Thanks’ to those who’ve taken time to email your thoughts, on this matter, to one or more of the five MHIndustry leaders listed at the conclusion of said blog posting. Now, onto the…

I.

Top Ten Tongue – in – Cheek Reasons NOT to Effect Radical Change at MHI!

1. Oil (MHI) and water (MHARR) simply don’t and won’t mix, ever, ever, ever!

2. Radical Change, frankly, is something ‘We don’t do at MHI’; it hurts too much.

3. At heart we’re trailer folk, so don’t deserve prosperity and all its’ trappings.

4. Danny Ghorbani’s 43 years of manufactured housing experience is not enough!

5. George Allen has but 33 years of landlease community experience & needs more!

6. LOL: “OMG, I’ll die B4 using Allenisms like MHIndustry & LLCommunity.”

7. In partnerships, someone always gets screwed; the one with the idea, one with the money; or other way around? Will it be production, post production, or neither?

8. Consensus building & issue confrontation are mutually exclusive advocacy tactics, and ‘never the twin should meet’ in one manufactured housing trade body!

9. “Oh no! We’ll have to combine the ‘How to Save Our Industry?!’ MHInitiative ® & MHI’s legislative meeting, both are scheduled for 27 February 2012.” Horrors.

10. Our friends, ‘the politicians, and regulators at HUD’, won’t know how, or who to ignore, when we cease advocating via ‘MHI said’ versus ‘MHARR said’ opining!

Know what? While couched as tongue – in – cheek, there’s real truth within each and every one of those Ten Reasons NOT to Effect Radical Change at MHI! Some examples:

No one has seen MHI & MHARR ‘work well together over time’; that’s why we need one overarching national trade body, well representing all segments of the MHIndustry!
Or, once again, failing this radical change….

Yes, change often does hurt, and radical change more so. But so does childbirth and….

We’re way past time to segue from ‘trailers’, to being conventional affordable housing!

76 years is more than double the total length of employment of MHI’s last four presidents

Can I help it if some ‘talk funny’ is an effort to scribe more substance with fewer words?

Partnership caution is accurate, but they also work well; as with my 30 year business one!

Consensus building & issue confrontation, as in good cop – bad cop, can work together

It shouldn’t take something like the MHInitiative® to get radical change moving, but…

It will be a welcome change, to see politicians & HUD regulators, twist in their own wind

See what I mean? How can YOU; how can our salaried and elected leaders at the national trade body level, not want to effect ‘Radical Change at the Manufactured Housing Institute’, when there’re so many very good reasons for doing so NOW?!

II.

Who Might Lead This New Partnership Team?

This is a tricky journalistic juxtaposition to articulate effectively. Huh? Well, you see, I haven’t reached out to any of these individuals – and they do all happen to be male, I’ll give you that much – to learn if they’d even be interested in being, in effect, the ‘business savior of the manufactured housing industry’. So, with that caveat in mind – and the knowledge that ‘to a man’ they’re successful, MHExperienced, even a role model association exec; all who’re, in my opinion, well – qualified to be MHI’s board chairman’s ‘man in Washington, DC’. Here’re your hints:

• Acclaimed by many, as the most visionary factory – built housing producer ever; equally comfortable fabricating modular, HUD Code, and other types of housing.

• Most veteran of all landlease community owners in private and public sectors.

• Widespread, earned reputation as ‘association executive’s association executive’.

• ‘Dark horse’ of manufactured housing, with 40+ years of national assn. expertise.

But know what? Given our industry and asset class’ long and earned reputation for in – fighting amongst ourselves, and perennial resistance to change from ‘both within & without’ the production and post production segments of manufactured housing, it’ll take someone – possibly not anyone on the above list, willing to risk their good reputation to take on ‘Radical Change at the Manufactured Housing Institute.’ No question about it; this will not be an easy job, and getting the strong personalities recommended to run the ‘two sides of the house’, to work effectively together and with MHI membership, will be daunting at best, maybe impossible, at worst. But is there another practical answer to ‘Save Our Industry?!’ I think NOT, but if you think SO, now is the time to step forward to be heard, and make your suggestion(s) known! Otherwise, we’ll talk about it at the MHInitiative® in 2012.

How to be heard? Respond to either this blog posting, via gfa7156@aol.com or the only MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764, or correspond to GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247. Or frankly, scroll back to last week’s posting in this website’s blog archive, to ‘Time for Radical Change….’ and send your email comments to one or more of the five MHIndustry leaders listed at the very end of said posting. Also, contact executives at MHI (703) 558-0600 or MHARR (202) 783-4087 directly.

III.

Late Commentator Paul Harvey, & MHI’s ‘Water Sprinkler’ Proposal to the MHCC

Like me, you probably miss hearing the late Paul Harvey say, at the end of his radio stories, “And that, my friends, is the Rest of the Story!” Well, it appears we have a Paul Harvey – like story developing within the manufactured housing industry and landlease community realty asset class. If you’ve been reading this blog during the past several weeks, you already know of the Manufactured Housing Institute’s proposal, relative to ‘water sprinkler’ installation in new manufactured homes, offered to HUD’s Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (‘MHCC’).

MHI’s commentary to date has related solely to the effect said proposal might have, and might not have, relative to manufactured housing’s present federal preemption and local building codes. See MHI’s VP Lois Starkey’s article, on the subject, in the current issue of the NCC’s Community Connections Fall newsletter. And this from the aforementioned written record of MHI’s 15 November conference call with state MHAssociation execs: “Fire (sic) sprinklers. The MHCC voted on this and a proposal was put forward to HUD that they much change their pre – emption policy on fire (sic) sprinklers. Fire (sic) sprinklers should not be required. Some local governments have acted in the absence of HUD not acting.”

But there may be more to the situation than what’s being publicly addressed by MHI and it’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division. What is a landlease community owner to do, in the foreseeable future, if and when a ‘water sprinkler’ equipped manufactured home arrives on – site to be installed, and it turns out the underground water supply system, by dint of design and or age, is undersized and unable to support the emergency need for greater water volume and pressure, in the event of a fire in this fire suppression – equipped home? Think about it. Apparently no one else is….

Why? There’re several possible reasons little – to – nothing is being said or done, within the MHI/NCC ‘family’, to retract this short – sighted ‘water sprinkler’ installation proposal to HUD’s MHCC:

• One maybe has to do with quiet proprietary desire, or even need, on the part of one or more home manufacturer(s), to ship new manufactured homes into local housing markets, mainly out West at present, where in – home water sprinklers are already mandated by local building codes.

• Another maybe has to do with executive property managers in leadership positions, not rocking MHI’s PC (‘political correctness’) boat; in effect, disregarding landlease community owners’ concern about future liability if their property(ies) infrastructure is unable to support homes equipped with fire suppression systems requiring greater water pressure and volume than normal.

• Another maybe has to do with property owners and investors who plan to divest themselves of their landlease community(ies) assets in the near or not too distant future, hence avoiding this potential liability issue altogether.

At this point, I’ve done all I can do to bring this matter to your attention. Anything further will have to, evidently, come from the grassroots of the MHIndustry & LLCommunity asset class, most likely via state MHAssociations affiliated with MHI and it’s NCC division. I’ve already corresponded, as a direct, dues – paying member of the NCC, and as an NCC board member, but have been stonewalled in this manner:

“Thayer responded to you at the end of October with MHI (sic) position and an update.”

True. But neither Thayer’s response or subsequent update, acknowledged the ‘water sprinkler’ proposal’s potential to increase LLCommunity owner liability in the future.

IV.

Beware the Uniform Law Commission’s Effort to Eliminate MHTitles!

To begin with, go to MHI’s website: manufacturedhousing.org and access the National Communities Council division’s Fall newsletter, Community Connections. There read the article titled: ‘Proposed ULC Manufactured Home Titling Act’, by Marc Lifset, esquire, of McGlinchey Stafford law firm. Here’re a few salient passages from that article. Not a member of MHI or its’ NCC division? Phone (703) 558-0666.

What’s the hullabaloo about? ‘The Act as currently drafted would establish a new method of titling, conveying and encumbering manufactured homes, including pre – HUD Code Homes…all first retail sales of Homes must be documented by a statutory form of manufactured home deed recorded in the property records…the Home becomes real property when it is ‘installed’ on land (“The Act defines ‘installed’ as when ‘the wheels & axles…have been removed and the home has electricity supplied by a utility or by any other means…’.”). At that time the Home would convert from personal property to real property ‘for all purposes.’” – Whether the manufactured Home is located outside and or within a landlease community? Ah, one of the unresolved major issues of this proposed legislation.

Proposed legislation? You bet. Politically savvy manufactured housing industry aficionados have sufficient reason to believe seven states have been targeted to effect this new uniform law; one Midwest state in particular. Legislation’s stated purpose? In part, to “…increase the availability of reasonably priced financing for Homes now conveyed and encumbered as personal property…” and much more. Not surprisingly, one of the largest lending institutions (banks) in the U.S. is quietly promoting this legislation, that has as many profoundly counter – productive consequences (i.e. homes sited in landlease communities likely to be taxed as their realty – secured counterparts outside the leasehold property, even though the leasehold property owner already pays high local real estate taxes for the improved real estate) as its’ stated purposes!

In this veteran industry observer’s opinion, this is an insidious assault on our unique type factory – built affordable housing (i.e. HUD Code manufactured housing) shelter alternative; and its’ related, generally inexpensive family and adult lifestyle (i.e. landlease communities) opportunities, that we provide for hundreds of thousands of homeowners and homesite lessees throughout the U.S. It’s also apparent, naïve and ill – informed academics, some local government agencies and regulators, short – sighted consumer advocates, and wishy-washy politicians, find this sort of idealism cum contretemps irresistible, and worth the wasting of time and other resources.

So, ensure your state MHAssociation is well aware – and educated, concerning this soon to be national uniform law initiative, changing the titling, conveying and encumbering of all manufactured homes, including pre – HUD Code Homes! And remember, you first read about it here.

***

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

Leave a Reply