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HUD   >   Program Offices   >   Housing   >   RAMH   >   MHS   >   HUD- Manufactured Housing and Standards -- Regulatory Background
Regulatory Background

The Manufactured Housing program is a national program established to protect the health and safety of the owners of manufactured (mobile) homes. Under the program HUD issues, monitors, and enforces Federal manufactured home construction and safety standards. The intent of the program is to: reduce personal injuries, deaths, property damage, insurance costs, and to improve the quality and durability of manufactured homes. The standards preempt State and local laws which are not identical to the Federal standards. The standards may be enforced by HUD directly or by various States which have established State Administrative Agencies (SAAs) in order to participate in the program. HUD has the authority to inspect factories and obtain records needed to enforce the standards. If a manufactured home does not conform to Federal standards, the manufacturer may be required to notify the consumer. If the home contains a defect which presents an unreasonable risk of injury or death, the manufacturer may be required to correct the defect.

 

Under the program, State or third-party agencies are established to check and approve designs and calculations used in the construction of manufactured homes. Other State or third-party agencies certify and inspect each manufacturing plant to assure construction in compliance with the standards and with approved designs. HUD's monitoring contractor acts as a repository for design packages submitted to HUD under the regulations and reviews a percentage of the approved designs to assure compliance. HUD's contractor also monitors the State or third-party inspection agencies to assure adequate performance.

The program also provides a system for handling consumer complaints relating to failures to conform in the construction of homes. Thirty-eight States have been approved by HUD to participate in the program as State Administrative Agencies. Each of these States agencies handles its own consumer complaints, conducts, inspections, makes enforcement determinations, and conducts hearings. For the remaining non-SAA States, for non-compliances that amount to a serious defect or imminent safety hazard, or for non-compliances occurring in homes manufactured in more than one State, HUD conducts investigations, holds hearings and issues orders requiring remedial action or notification of homeowners.

The Act gives HUD broad investigatory authority to conduct inspections, issue subpoenas and issue orders. HUD may bring administrative actions against manufacturers or inspection agencies for violations of the Act or regulations. The Act also provides for injunctive actions in Federal court and civil money penalties and criminal sanctions.

Legal Authority: The National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. 5401 et seq.; 24 CFR Part 3280 and Part 3282.

Program Status: The program is funded by collection of a $39 inspection fee paid to the Treasury for each transportable section of a home produced. The inspection fee was increased $15 from $24 for each transportable section, August 13, 2002. In FY 2001, HUD collected approximately $8 million in program fees.

Within the last year, HUD has carried on a number of major investigations, filed cases in Federal court for civil penalties and injunctive relief and entered into several settlements with manufacturers. These actions have resulted in stopping violations of the Act by manufacturers and in manufacturers notifying consumers of defects in their homes and correcting the consumers' homes.

HUD issued a Final Rule amending the smoke alarm provisions of the manufactured housing construction and safety standards on March 19, 2002. Subsequently HUD issued technical amendments to the March 2002 Final Rule. These amendments aim to improve the effectiveness and performance of smoke alarms in early detection of manufactured home fires and to reduce the rate of fire fatalities in new manufactured housing.

On April 24, 2002, HUD issued a waiver for constuction of homes sited in Humid and Fringe climates. This waiver affects the condensation control provisions for the exterior walls of the manufactured home construction and safety standards.

In May, 2002, William Wade Matchneer III was appointed to become the agency's first Administrator of the Manufactured Housing Program, a position established by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. As Administrator of the Manufactured Housing Program, Matchneer is responsible for advising the Federal Housing Commissioner on the development and evaluation of the Department's manufactured housing policy, as well as program administration.

The MHCC is an advisory body charged with providing recommendations to the Secretary on the revision and interpretation of HUD's manufactured housing construction and safety standards and related procedural and enforcement regulations. The MHCC is also charged with developing proposed model installation standards for the manufactured housing industry and will forward its proposals to HUD's Manufactured Housing Program for review. MHCC activity can be reviewed on the website administered by the Administering Organization.