There’s An Important Matter Afoot

Blog Posting # 626 @ 19 February 2021: EducateMHC

Perspective. “Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!”

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INTRODUCTION: Some things that need to be said and resolved….

There’s An Important Matter Afoot
&
I’m Unsure How to Address It, but will try!

Faithful readers of this weekly blog posting are well aware of an important matter hinted at in this headline. We’ve described it in blogs # 622, 623, & 624, during the past several weeks. It’s the ‘community owner’s lament’ (i.e. ‘expression of grief & frustration’), relative to some if not all, HUD-Code housing manufacturers’ backlogging homes to be produced and shipped, and adding significant price increases on units after orders have been placed.

Now the matter has taken on a new dimension; one of scale – one that might, however, have been present all along.

The Question today is: ‘Are large property portfolio (e.g. those with more than 50 land lease communities apiece) owners, compared to smaller (i.e. one or two properties apiece) operators, experiencing similar backlogging of homes ordered, and significant unilateral increases in unit prices after orders have been placed or not?’

Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that ‘large portfolios, routinely ordering many new HUD-Code homes to fill vacant rental homesites’ are indeed being given a huss (i.e. in USMC parlance, ‘Help me!’), since manufacturers can expect volume home sales from them. But if true, is this right and fair?

The challenge, in historical perspective, seems similar to what the manufactured housing industry faced in the mid-1980s, when smaller, regional HUD-Code housing manufacturers felt beleaguered by 1) relatively new HUD-Code (i.e. circa 1976) regulations, as well as 2) much larger firms being able to absorb costs of increased regulation better than them.

Result? Formation of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform or MHARR.

Not for a moment am I suggesting smaller land lease community owners/operators run off and charter a new national advocacy entity to represent their business interests. Rather, via the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), a forum for such discussion of this timely and troubling matter, should be possible! For that matter, next week, MHI/NCC, from 22 thru 24 February, hosts a virtual meeting of members. Why not make ‘community owners’ lament’ a matter of discussion and exploration?

Now, in my opinion, there is a proverbial Achilles Heel to this ‘community owners’ lament’. Specifically, while MHI/NCC boasts a couple hundred members to date, very few attend such meetings, virtually or in person. At the same time, there are hundreds more community owners/operators nationwide, who do not belong to the institute/council – and hence have no voice in addressing this timely and troubling matter. What to do about them?

To that end, the MHARR has been pretty straight-forward and vocal, during the past several years, recommending post-production segments of the manufactured housing industry (including the land lease communities realty asset class) organize a new and completely separate national trade body to this end! How many more years will ‘tail of the dog’ MH business types labor on in search of parity and effective national advocacy?

As one of 19 founders of the Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’) who met on 31 August 1993, and a founding board member of the NCC on 1 January 1996, I do not believe the council has achieved goals set for it at that time!*1 It is not even the ‘court of last resort’ for matters such as contentious landlord-tenant legislation, use of floor fees to promote brand awareness and image improvement, encouraging certified professional property management at all levels, and – as in this case – researching and arbitrating issues among post-production segments of the manufactured housing industry. If nothing else, after 25 years, it’s time for an NCC ‘reset’!

Someone let me know if ‘community owners’ lament’ is discussed, or not, at the MHI/NCC meeting.

End Note.
1. For a list of the goals agreed upon by the ISC during the fall of 1993, request it from me via email: gfa7156@aol.com

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

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