Major and Continuing MHARR Accomplishments for the HUD Code Manufactured Housing Industry and Consumers of Affordable Housing


Updated May 1, 2024

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) was established on July 3, 1985 as the “Association for Regulatory Reform” (ARR). The Association adopted its current name in 1997.

Based in Washington, D.C. since its founding. MHARR was formed to represent the views and interests of producers of manufactured housing. A major source of the nation’s supply of non-subsidized affordable homes, the manufactured housing industry is federally regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – the only segment of the housing industry to be regulated at the federal level.

MHARR was formed by smaller and medium-sized independent producers of HUD-regulated manufactured housing when it became apparent: (1) that the HUD regulatory program established by the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 (1974 Act) was careening off-course in ways that were contrary to its legislative purposes as well as the interests of both the industry and consumers; and (2) that the special needs of manufacturers, as regulated parties, were not fully and effectively represented and advanced in the nation’s capital.

Given its founding impetus, MHARR is dedicated to maintaining a HUD regulatory framework which promotes both the availability and affordability of manufactured housing – an objective now enshrined in federal law thanks to the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (2000 Reform Law) which MHARR successfully sought, promoted and advanced to enactment. The primary and enduring mission of MHARR, accordingly, is to protect, defend and advance the interests of its members and the manufactured housing lifestyle for American consumers of affordable housing.

Within the broader HUD Code industry, the voice of manufacturers – the segment of the industry most directly impacted by federal regulation – has tended to be merged with that of other segments of the industry, including retailers, suppliers, finance companies and community developers. Each such segment has its own specific interests and perspective(s) but unless manufacturers’ views can be articulated, published and advocated independently, the representation of those views is unavoidably weakened by being merged within an “umbrella” representation, which inevitably devolves to the lowest common denominator position among the diverse segments of the industry.

The industry has also witnessed the emergence of a new type of manufacturer with large retail and financing affiliates. That segment of the industry may also have different needs than smaller and medium-sized independent manufacturers. Consequently, the primary objective of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is to enunciate the consensus view of manufacturers, so that their experience, understanding and approach is considered in any law, rule, standard and/or regulation that is imposed on the industry.

Since MHARR’s establishment, the production of manufactured housing has become increasingly competitive and complex. As the industry has matured, numerous federal, state and local agencies have sought to impose rules and regulations that could significantly impact the cost and availability of manufactured housing as a prime non-subsidized affordable housing resource for Americans at every rung of the economic ladder. Given this reality and particularly in light of the fact that the HUD manufactured housing program is based on a statutory federal-state partnership at its core, MHARR has continuously been involved at all levels of government – federal, state and local – to protect, defend and advance the interests of both manufactured housing producers and consumers.

Necessarily, though, the interests of HUD Code manufacturers and consumers are unavoidably impacted by activity and developments affecting the post-production sector of the industry (i.e., activity and developments affecting manufactured homes and consumers once such homes leave the factory). Such activity – by governmental or quasi-governmental actors – can negatively impact both the availability and utilization of manufactured housing for large segments of the public and can significantly constrain that availability, to the extreme detriment of all concerned. Current examples of this phenomenon include the failure of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) to provide securitization and secondary market support for personal property manufactured home consumer loans in accordance with existing law and discriminatory/exclusionary zoning and placement restrictions on manufactured homes in many more densely-populated areas of the United States, also in defiance of existing law. Because of this indisputable reality and the fact that the long-term absence of any type of independent, dedicated national representation for the industry’s post-production sector has allowed such problems to multiply and fester, MHARR has taken — and will continue to take – the lead on these matters as well.

Ultimately, though, it is axiomatic that there is no regulation without economic cost, particularly for a comprehensively federally-regulated industry such as manufactured housing. That cost, inevitably, is passed along to the purchaser of the home. Overall, therefore, MHARR seeks an improved environment for the growth of the manufactured housing industry and for the availability of affordable mainstream manufactured housing to all American consumers through fair, reasonable and cost-effective federal regulation. Furthermore, the Association is dedicated to reassessing all existing laws and regulations periodically to determine their cost, validity and relevance, and to measuring each new law and/or regulation against those same criteria, with the principal objective of securing protection for manufactured housing consumers – comprised primarily of lower and moderate-income American families – while simultaneously ensuring the continuing availability of safe, affordable, energy-efficient and, to the maximum degree possible, non-subsidized high-quality manufactured homes.

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