Federal Government Shutdown and Manufactured Home Installers

I have received a few emails recently asking how the shutdown of the federal government (most notably HUD) impacts the roles and responsibilities of manufactured home installers and retailers operating in states where HUD oversees the installation program.

I think it is important to know that the daily activities required by the Manufactured Housing Installation Program (24 CFR 3285 & 3286) are carried out by SEBA who is under contract with HUD. So, we can assume that SEBA is still at work processing HUD 305, 306, 307 and 309 forms and performing other related activities.

Currently the biggest impact is the issuing of installer licenses. While SEBA continues to process the forms for installer license applications, the folks at HUD issue the actual license. So, don’t expect your license to be renewed or any new licensees issued until the shutdown impasse is resolved.  

Until the federal government reopens, installer licenses are not being issued.

Regarding the reporting that is required for new manufactured homes sold and installed, (forms 305, 306 & 309) my advice is that retailers and installers should continue to conduct business just as before. Keep submitting the forms within the required time frames and keep good records! The processing of these forms is conducted by SEBA, who is currently working as usual.

Eventually, all federal government contractors will want to be paid and there could be further impact should things drag on much longer. 

It is important to remember that regardless of the when the government reopens, the requirements are still in place. A lack of enforcement or oversite doesn’t change the law. So be certain to complete the needed forms in a timely manner and submit them as usual. 

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Update on HUD Reporting Forms & Your Comments

Note: This information pertains to HUD licensed manufactured home installers and manufactured home retailers that are located in, or sell homes into states where HUD administers the Manufactured Housing Installation Program.  

If you recall, on May 2, 2018, I posted about the expiration date of the HUD forms that retailers and installers use to comply with the HUD installation program requirements.

HUD Form clip

While it is important that you continue to use these forms and submit the information as in the past, I have recently been made aware that the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) is now reviewing these forms and is seeking input from you.

The OMB is seeking comments on whether the information that you provide HUD on these reporting forms is necessary, and if the reporting forms can be improved for HUD to properly operate the program.

I am attaching the comments that I already provided for your review if interested. Comments on MH Installation Program Reporting Requirements

Also, I am attaching the Federal Register notice with the particulars needed to submit your thoughts. Click here to see the Federal Register Notice

The deadline for comments is August 13, 2018.

Finally, if submitting via email, the email address provided in the notice appears to be in error. Try sending it to:

OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov

Shipped Loose Plumbing-What You Should Expect

It seems that at every installation training or seminar I present, installers and retailers complain that the home manufacturer is not providing the materials needed to complete the drain lines under the manufactured home. So I decided to take a look at this issue and see what we can learn.

The first thing we need to do is see exactly what the Manufactured Home Construction & Safety Standards (HUD Code) says about this.

Check out 24 CFR 3280.610(c)(1)-Drainage systems:

Each manufactured home shall have only one drain outlet.

Ok, now check out 24 CFR 3280.610(c)(5) Preassembly of Drain Lines:

Sections of the drainage system, designed to be located underneath the home, are not required to be factory installed when the manufacturer designs the system for site assembly and also provides all materials and components, including piping, fittings, cement, supports and instructions necessary for proper site installation.

So, when you look at both sections together, it should be pretty clear.  The manufacturer is going to design the drainage system so that all of the individual drain line drops through the floor can be connected to one point AND they must provide all the materials needed for the installer to complete the drainage system according to the provided design.

To know that you are getting all the plumbing parts you are required to receive, you need to look at the design supplied with each new manufactured home shipped from the factory. Generally, this DAPIA approved design is included with the box of other shipped loose parts needed to complete the home. Following this design, you should be able to connect all of the drain line drops to that required “one drain outlet” with materials provided by the manufacturer. 

The materials needed to complete the plumbing in the circled area would be shipped loose inside the home.

 

There is another reason it is important that the manufacturers supply installers with the needed parts and designs to complete the drain line, and it is called “preemption”. HUD has ruled (in a letter dated 12-4-1996) that state or local code enforcement may not require licensed plumbers to assemble shipped loose plumbing. But if you are not installing the drainage system according to the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standard, (by not following the DAPIA approved design, or using your own materials) then the local code requirements could apply. 

It is important to note that where the drain lines from the home connect to the main sewage connection the local authority has control, and at that connection, a licensed plumber can be required. 

If you are installing manufactured homes in an area that requires licensed plumbers to assemble the drain system, you should consider working with the manufacturers, your state officials, and possibly HUD to end this unnecessary requirement.

If your manufacturer is not shipping these required drain line parts with the home, you should show him 24 CFR 3280.610(c)(5). This is just one more reason why it is important for professional installers to know the HUD Code!

I hope this information is helpful.

Four Things Every Retailer Must Know!

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.

Typical instructions from every manufacturer.

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

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on these requirements, you can visit HUD’s website HERE  or their contractor SebaPro’s website: www.manufacturedhousinginstallation.com