By: Devin Leary-Hanebrink
On June 10, 2021, HUD hosted a meeting of the Manufactured Home Consensus Committee (MHCC) — the federal advisory committee that provides recommendations to HUD regarding the adoption, revision, and interpretation of the HUD Code. On the docket were several Log Items and Deregulation Comments (DRCs) submitted by industry representatives with recommendations for revising the HUD Code. The agenda also included a presentation by the Department of Energy regarding updates to the manufactured home energy conservation standards and remarks from Lopa Kolluri, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Housing, Federal Housing Administration.
Over the course of the day-long meeting, the MHCC reviewed 20 Log Items and DRCs submitted by industry representatives—ranging from technical revisions to roof load ratings and frame galvanization requirements to a proposal that substantially amends 24 C.F.R. Subpart M, Onsite Completion of Construction of Manufactured Homes. Of the 20 recommendations reviewed, the MHCC approved nine, disapproved nine, referred one back to the Technical Systems Subcommittee for review, and determined one did not warrant action because it was addressed by another Log Item.
Highlights of the MHCC’s recommended actions include:
- Approving revisions to the airtightness standard in 24 C.F.R. § 3280.715(a)(4).
- Approving amendments to 24 C.F.R. § 3280.715(b)(1), regarding return air systems, to exempt bathrooms and closets from the return air circulation requirements. (Currently, the regulation only exempts “toilet rooms,” which the HUD Code does not define.)
- Approving a change to the required location of the home’s serial number, which must be “stamped into the foremost cross member” per 24 C.F.R. § 3280.6, from outside to inside the chassis. This change should help homeowners who need their home’s serial number (perhaps for titling or tax purposes) but cannot locate the Data Plate or Certification Label and have installed their homes on a permanent foundation, which typically permanently covers the serial number when it is affixed on the outside of the cross member.
- Significantly overhauling 24 C.F.R. Subpart M, which has been an industry objective ever since Subpart M was first introduced in 2015.
Perhaps the most significant development was a rather contentious discussion of the long-delayed revisions to the manufactured home energy conservation standards, as required by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Following the DOE’s presentation, several MHCC members noted that the proposal appears to sacrifice affordability for energy efficiency, which could price many homebuyers out of the market. Others voiced their concerns with the rulemaking process—commenting that the DOE has not worked closely with HUD or the MHCC in developing this new proposal. Further complicating matters, the DOE said it will likely publish a proposed rule this August, which is consistent with the consent decree the DOE entered into with the plaintiffs in Sierra Club v. Perry1.
Regarding the next steps, the MHCC’s recommendations will be reviewed by HUD and, as applicable, incorporated into a subsequent set of HUD Code updates. Given that the “Third Set” of updates go into effect July 12, 2021, these changes will likely be incorporated into the “Fourth Set” HUD is currently preparing. As for the DOE’s energy conservation standards, HUD stated it will make every effort to host a special meeting of the MHCC should the DOE publish its proposal later this summer.
1 Sierra Club v. Perry, 373 F.Supp.3d 128 (D.D.C. 2019).
About the Author:
Devin Leary-Hanebrink, Of Counsel, practices with McGlinchey Stafford PLLC. He helps clients navigate the alphabet soup of state and federal government agencies that regulate a wide range of industries, including banking, consumer financial services, housing, and construction. McGlinchey Stafford PLLC is a multi-service law firm with a national presence, serving clients from offices in Alabama, California, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, D.C.