January 23, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Tim Williams
OHIO COMMERCE DEPARTMENT ENCOURAGED TO CONTINUE STRONG SAFETY RECORD OF MANUFACTURED HOMES COMMISSION
In a January 8, 2018 article in Columbus Business First regarding manufactured homes several misconceptions were cited by the Ohio Department of Commerce (“DOC”). The Department of Commerce is the new state regulator of manufactured homes as of January 21, 2018. Governor John Kasich abolished the independent Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission (“MH Commission”) and assumed control of the MH Commission’s nationally recognized manufactured homes regulatory program.
In the interview with Business First reporter Tristan Navera, DOC Industrial Compliance official Shannon Himes said, “Industrial Compliance is concerned with structural integrity (manufactured homes) and we want to ensure the end result is a safe and affordable place.” Ohio Manufactured Homes Association (OMHA) Executive Director, Tim Williams responded, “The structural integrity of manufactured homes is exceptional because manufactured homes are constructed to a federally pre-emptive national fire safety/building code administered by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). ALL manufactured homes are inspected in the factory by federal inspectors for adherence to the stringent HUD fire safety and national building codes. Consequently, per federal and state law, the Commerce Department does not have any jurisdiction over the structural integrity of manufactured homes.”
Prior to the creation of the Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission in 2004, state and local government agencies including building departments and health departments were responsible for regulation and inspection of manufactured homes installation safety. At that time, those agencies conducted very few installation safety inspections resulting in 500-800 homeowner installation complaints annually.
When the MH Commission became fully operational in 2007, they established Rules for the first time requiring the education, licensing and certification of all manufactured homes installers and inspectors throughout the state. Additionally, the MH Commission required that 100% of all new and used home installations statewide had to be inspected three times (foundation, electrical, final occupancy) prior to homeowner move in. For example, fire safety inspections required properly grounded electrical outlets and fully functioning smoke detectors whether the home was new or previously owned. As a result, less than ten homes of the 25,819 permitted under the Commission (2007-2017) resulted in faulty home installation complaints.
Williams further stated, “Concerns exist that the new regulator DOC has not committed to conduct 100% inspection of all new and used home installations as had been the practice under the MH Commission. Industry and residents’ groups OMHA and the Association of Manufactured Home Residents of Ohio (AMHRO) have strongly advocated for continued 100% home safety inspections. Anything less than 100% inspection will raise legitimate safety concerns.” Under the MH Commission, home installers and inspectors were subject to disciplinary hearings for non-compliance and 100% inspection ensured full accountability.
Williams further commented, “Manufactured home sales have increased by 330% in just eight years. This is due in no small part to the superior home safety inspection record and the speed and ease of the permit and inspection process under the recently abolished MH Commission. Hopefully DOC will continue the MH Commission’s exceptional homeowner safety record as they become educated about the unique and highly specialized nature of manufactured homes.
We look forward to DOC taking full advantage of the industry and residents’ associations expertise to ensure Ohioans of modest income continue to realize affordable and safe manufactured homeownership.”
# # #
The Ohio Manufactured Homes Association is a not for profit organization, comprised of 520 manufactured home businesses.