Manufactured Homes Program Moves to OH Dept of Commerce


Manufactured Homes Program

An important tip for professionals representing buyers of manufactured homes or the land upon which they sit. Starting this year, the regulation of the sale of manufactured homes has moved from the Manufactured Homes Commission (which was disbanded) to two Ohio Department of Commerce Divisions, the Division of Real Estate and the Division of Industrial Compliance. The former Manufactured Homes Commission began regulating manufactured homes in 2004. Prior to that, the homes were regulated locally by municipal building and health departments.

A manufactured home is classified as personal property that is not attached to the land upon which it sits. The manufactured home program will deal with the inspection of manufactured homes and manufactured home communities. It will also regulate the licensed professionals that sell manufactured homes.

The Superintendent of the Division of Real Estate reported this month that approximately 900,000 Ohioans live in manufactured homes. Now the Division will oversee the sale of the homes by unlicensed professionals and the licensing of manufactured home dealers, brokers, and salespersons.

Currently, the Superintendents of Real Estate and Industrial Compliance are working on drafting administrative rules for the operation of the manufactured homes program.

The rules are expected to detail the processes for:

  • Inspections
  • Handling consumer complaints and
  • How a dealer, broker or salesperson can gain licensure.

It is also expected that the rules will set forth certain standards, which if violated could result in sanctions and procedures for prosecuting unlicensed activity. Currently, individuals that make casual sales are exempt from regulation, but only for the first five sales in a calendar year.

In a January 2018 press release, Ohio Manufactured Homes Association (OMHA) Executive Director, Tim Williams, expressed concern that the Ohio Department of Commerce has not committed to conducting 100% inspection of all new and used home installations. Mr. Williams noted that manufactured home sales increased by 330% in the last eight years and that the OMHA will work with the Department of Commerce to make sure the department is fully educated about the unique and highly specialized nature of manufactured homes.

The sales of manufactured homes are not only changing in Ohio but nationwide. In May 2018, President Trump signed legislation giving retailers of manufactured homes relief from a federal law that classified a retailer as a mortgage loan originator simply because the retailer aided consumers in obtaining a loan. At the bill signing, Senator Donnelly noted that manufactured homes serve as a vital source of affordable housing for millions of hard-working Americans.

The Superintendent of Real Estate reported that she too is committed to working with the manufactured home industry on crucial topics like affordable housing and fair housing. The Superintendent’s proposed rules are expected to be filed by mid-July 2018.

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