Wednesday, September 27, 2017

California Administers New Fee and Tax Waiver for Manufactured Home Owners without Registration

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has developed a new Fee and Tax Waiver program that would allow people who purchased a mobile home, or manufactured home, but didn’t receive the necessary title to the property to properly register their home(s), saving them hundreds and thousands of dollars in local and state taxes, fees and penalties. The program, passed as Assembly Bill 587, was signed by Gov. Edmund G. Brown and took effect this year.

Those manufactured home owners who haven’t applied for registration before and don’t have a title are eligible, meaning probably 160,000 people qualify! Many owners either were unaware they were required to register their home or wanted to but couldn’t afford the taxes and fees that came with it.

“This program gives people who acquired a home but didn’t get the proper documentation a one-time opportunity to correct their situation and not have to pay many back taxes, fees and penalties often incurred by prior owners,” said HCD Director Ben Metcalf. “With the proper title and registration, homeowners can have the security and peace of mind that comes from having a stable and secure home. “

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Who's Gonna Build FEMA's Homes? Cavco?

With the hurricanes within the last month, Harvey and Irma, many homes in the Texas and Florida areas are damaged and destroyed. About 185,000 homes have been damaged in Texas, as estimated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, and an additional 40,000 have been completely destroyed, as estimated by Forbes. With 40,000 homes needed (in Texas alone), questions have arisen about where these homes are going to come from. Currently the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has 1,700 mobile homes in stock – but that’s it! FEMA recently requested 4,500 modular homes from various manufacturers to provide emergency housing for Texans.

FEMA officials also noted that mobile homes will be employed as a last resort, now following the model of paying for hotel and apartment stays as a means for temporary housing. "To put a mobile home or travel trailer out there is a significant expense — it really is the option of last resort," said Mark Miscak, an emergency management consultant and former director in FEMA's recovery division.

It seems as if FEMA is trying to stay away from modular homes, possibly due to the lawsuits that occurred after the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita where several of the FEMA units were found to contain high levels of cancer-causing formaldehyde. However, there are still 40,000 homes that are destroyed – and FEMA can have contractors prioritize repairs over building new homes but repairing mold and water damage for these 40,000 homes isn’t going to do much, except recreate a similar scenario of that happened a decade ago.

Regardless, Cavco Industries, a leading building of manufactured and modular homes, will probably be a large source of the mobile homes to be built. With 4 factories in Texas and 2 in Florida (along with another in Mississippi and one in Georgia), Cavco owns a good portion of the manufactured housing output in the Southeastern region (~25% in Texas alone!). With that, all Cavco’s factories are located outside the hurricane danger zones, meaning all are still in operation.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

FEMA Requests 4,500 Manufactured Homes for Harvey Victims

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently requested 4,500 manufactured homes to be built for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Many of these mobile homes will be constructed in Alabama in various housing plants. Alabama has 12 manufactured housing plants in total, with almost 4,000 employees. In 2016, about 11,000 homes were produced throughout these plants, not including FEMA units.

“A lot of our retailers and manufacturing plants are already FEMA contractors, and they have a great deal of experience with building these homes,” Lance Latham said, the deputy director for the Alabama Manufactured Housing Association.

Over 22,000 families have reached out for disaster assistance and emergency housing already, although it’s expected more requests will come through in the following days.

FEMA stated that these houses are part of a “variety of housing options to ensure disaster survivors with housing needs receive housing assistance to help their way to recovery. This is a long duration storm, the recovery will be challenging, take time, and the help of the whole community is required." The agency also said they have about 1,700 homes currently in inventory. Craig Fugate, the former FEMA chief, said each home costs about $100,000 for the home itself, installation, maintenance and removal.

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