If you have attended any of my training courses, you’ve probably heard me say how the entire installation process starts with the retailer. Manufactured home retailers have some very important requirements under federal law that range from disclosing information to consumers, reporting information to the manufacturer and even the handling of home on display at their sales lots!
But here is the problem, far too many manufactured home retailers are either not aware of all of the things they are required to do under the federal program or just misinformed about them. Failing to carry out these tasks can derail a positive sales process and can put the retailer and homeowner in jeopardy.
This post will attempt to outline four of the most important things that retailers should know.
Consumer Disclosure: Before the sales contract is executed, retailers are required to provide an informational disclosure to their customers. The disclosure must be a separate document to inform to the customer that:
- The new home must be installed to state or federal installation requirements (whichever applies)
- Additional state or local requirements may apply
- That the retailer can provide additional information on these requirements
- Compliance with these requirements may involve added costs
- If the home is relocated, it should be professionally inspected after set-up
I think retailers should consider using this requirement as a marketing opportunity. I created this brochure (in the picture) that provides the necessary information and can be used to promote your business. This Consumer Brochure is intended to be used in states where HUD has control of installation. A few edits can make it state specific. Feel free to download and edit this with your company information, logo, change the images, etc. If you prefer a more official looking disclosure, you can use the sample form that SEBA has available on their website. Click Here. Either way, make sure you are providing a disclosure to your customers. 24 CRF 3286.7(b)
Dispute Resolution Disclosure: At the time of signing a contract, the retailer must provide the purchaser with a notice of the Dispute Resolution Program. This notice may be in a separate document from the sales contract, or may be incorporated clearly in a separate section at the top of the sales contract. The notice must include the following language:
“The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program is available to resolve disputes among manufacturers, retailers, or installers concerning defects in manufactured homes. Many states also have a consumer assistance or dispute resolution program. For additional information about these programs, see sections titled “Dispute Resolution Process” and “Additional Information—HUD Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program” in the Consumer Manual required to be provided to the purchaser. These programs are not warranty programs and do not replace the manufacturer’s, or any other person’s, warranty program.”
If the state you are selling the home into operates their own dispute resolution program, check their requirement for consumer disclosure. If you are not sure, you get more information at http://www.huddrp.net
General Retailer Responsibilities: I hope that all retailers of new manufactured homes print a copy and read Retailer Responsibilities, found at Sub-Part F, of the Manufactured Home Procedural & Enforcement Regulations. If you don’t have a copy, click Subpart F 3282 . The three bullet points below summarize what you should know:
- Retailer may not sell or lease or offer for sale or lease a new manufactured home that does not fully meet the HUD Code. 24 CFR 3282.252
- Retailer must submit “Purchaser Card” to manufacturer. 24 CFR 3282.255
- Retailer must report ALL possible code violations to the manufacturer. 24 CFR 3282.256
Storing Homes on Retail Lots: Since we are talking about retailer responsibilities, we shouldn’t forget retailer responsibility for homes that are stored at their sales or storage lots. Check the installation instructions that come with every home. They require the retailers to inspect and repair damaged shipping plastic to make sure the home is weather tight. If the home is on display, support at 12’O.C. along the main beams and sidewall/marriage wall openings 4’ or greater. You even need to install any roof vents.
If the home is being stored (no people going in and out) for more than 30 days, support the chassis 2’ from each end, and mid-way between tire/axle and hitch. 24 CFR 3286.11