Park model trailers, although considered recreational vehicles, are transportable and primarily designed for long-term or permanent placement at a destination where an RV or mobile home is allowed. When set up, park models are connected to the utilities necessary to operate home style fixtures and appliances. Park models are popular with people for use as a cottage, vacation or retirement home as are Tiny houses.

Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations; Revision of Exemption for Recreational Vehicles: Effective Date January 15th, 2019Edit

SummaryEdit

This rule making revises the exemption for the manufacture of recreational vehicles to clarify which recreational vehicles qualify for an exemption from HUD's Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards and Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement regulations. HUD is adopting a recommendation of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) but expanding the definition of recreational vehicle and modifying it to require certification with the updated ANSI standard, A119.5-15.

BackgroundEdit

A. HUD's Regulatory Authority and the Recreational Vehicle ExemptionEdit

The National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 (the Act)  (1) authorizes HUD, through its Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP), to establish and amend the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (HUD Code) and the Procedural and Enforcement regulations, codified at 24 CFR parts 3280 and 3282, respectively. This authority authorizes HUD to issue and enforce appropriate standards for the construction, design, performance, and installation of manufactured homes—formerly known as mobile homes—to ensure their quality, durability, affordability, and safety.

Since the HUD Code's inception in 1976, Recreational Vehicles (RVs) have been largely exempted from the HUD Code. Self-propelled RVs are statutorily exempted, and other classes of RVs over which HUD maintains statutory jurisdiction have been exempted by regulations codified at 24 CFR 3282.8(g). (2) Over time, the RV exemption has evolved. Since codifying its regulatory exemption in 1982, HUD has exempted RVs from both HUD's Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards at 24 CFR part 3280 and its Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement regulations at 24 CFR part 3282 if they are: Built on a single chassis; 400 square feet or less when measured at their largest horizontal projections; self-propelled or permanently towable by a light duty truck; and designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use. (3) In 1988, HUD issued an interpretive bulletin to clarify the method for measuring a unit to determine whether an RV qualified under the exemption. (4) In 1997, HUD also allowed for small lofts to be excluded from the exemption's square footage requirements. (5)

To address this issue, HUD issued memoranda in 2014 and 2015, reiterating the method through which RVs should be measured to qualify for the RV exemption. (7) HUD also questioned whether it should exercise regulatory authority over fifth-wheel travel trailers, some of which, because they exceeded the 320 square foot threshold under the statutory definition of “manufactured home,” are subject to HUD's Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards and its Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement regulations. From December 2-4, 2014, the MHCC met and considered HUD's October 1, 2014, memorandum. (8) After discussion and debate, the MHCC voted to approve a recommendation that HUD adopt language more clearly differentiating RVs from manufactured housing and simplify its RV exemption. (9)

II. HUD's February 9, 2016, Proposed Rule; Expanding the RV ExemptionEdit

HUD issued a proposed rule on February 9, 2016, at 81 FR 6806, to revise the definitions of “Manufactured home” at 24 CFR 3280.2 and “Recreational vehicles” at 24 CFR 3282.8(g), to clarify—and effectively expand—the exemption of RVs from the HUD's Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards and its Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement regulations. The rule proposed to change the definition of RVs by revising the four-part test used to determine whether a structure qualifies for the RV exemption. Specifically, HUD's rule proposed a definition focused on whether or not the structure is certified as a manufactured home and whether it is constructed according to two consensus RV standards: The ANSI A119.5 Park Model Recreational Vehicle Standard and the NFPA 1192-15 Standard on Recreational Vehicles. (10) By incorporating by reference the ANSI A119.5 Park Model Recreational Vehicle Standard, HUD's February 9, 2016, proposed rule would have allowed factory-constructed porches to be added to RPTs/PMRVs in excess of the RV exemption's 400 square foot threshold.

B. The Need for a Broader ExemptionEdit

Prior to this rule making, the RV exemption was roundly criticized for not drawing a clear enough distinction between RVs, which are designed for temporary, recreational use, and manufactured housing, which is designed for permanent, year-round dwelling. This distinction has become increasingly relevant, because RV manufacturers have begun to produce larger products that include more features, such as porches built on the chassis, and that resemble manufactured homes. These additions have raised questions as to whether these features should be included when measuring according to Interpretive Bulletin A-1-88 for the purposes of exemption. This has increased the confusion over whether HUD should regulate certain RVs because they meet the statutory definition of a manufactured home or whether they should be exempted based on their intended design for temporary, recreational use. (6) Subsequently, HUD determined that some manufacturers were producing Park Model Recreational Vehicles (PMRVs, also known as recreational park trailers or RPTs) in excess of the RV exemption's 400-square-foot threshold, which was based on a 1988 HUD Interpretative Bulletin guidance on how to measure a unit. These PMRVs contained screened-in porches built on the chassis and were advertised for all-season use.

To address this issue, HUD issued a memorandum in 2014 and 2015, reiterating the method through which RVs should be measured to qualify for the RV exemption. (7) HUD also questioned whether it should exercise regulatory authority over fifth-wheel travel trailers, some of which, because they exceeded the 320 square foot threshold under the statutory definition of “manufactured home,” are subject to HUD's Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards and its Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement regulations. From December 2-4, 2014, the MHCC met and considered HUD's October 1, 2014, memorandum. (8) After discussion and debate, the MHCC voted to approve a recommendation that HUD adopt language more clearly differentiating RVs from manufactured housing and simplify its RV exemption. (9)

II. HUD's February 9, 2016, Proposed Rule; Expanding the RV ExemptionEdit

HUD issued a proposed rule on February 9, 2016, at 81 FR 6806, to revise the definitions of “Manufactured home” at 24 CFR 3280.2 and “Recreational vehicles” at 24 CFR 3282.8(g), to clarify—and effectively expand—the exemption of RVs from the HUD's Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards and its Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement regulations. The rule proposed to change the definition of RVs by revising the four-part test used to determine whether a structure qualifies for the RV exemption. Specifically, HUD's rule proposed a definition focused on whether or not the structure is certified as a manufactured home and whether it is constructed according to two consensus RV standards: The ANSI A119.5 Park Model Recreational Vehicle Standard and the NFPA 1192-15 Standard on Recreational Vehicles. (10) By incorporating by reference the ANSI A119.5 Park Model Recreational Vehicle Standard, HUD's February 9, 2016, proposed rule would have allowed factory-constructed porches to be added to RPTs/PMRVs in excess of the RV exemption's 400 square foot threshold.

III. HUD's January 26, 2018, Document; Regulatory Review of Manufactured Housing RulesEdit

HUD issued a Federal Register document on January 26, 2018, at 83 FR 3635, entitled “Regulatory Review of Manufactured Housing Rules,” to solicit public comment on all of its current and pending manufactured housing regulatory actions. Consistent with Executive Order 13771, entitled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” and Executive Order 13777, entitled, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” and as part of the efforts of HUD's Regulatory Reform Task Force, the document informed the public that HUD was reviewing its existing and planned manufactured housing regulatory actions to assess their actual and potential compliance costs and reduce regulatory burden. HUD invited public comment to assist in identifying regulations that may be outmoded, ineffective or excessively burdensome and should be modified, streamlined, replaced or repealed. Of the 156 unique comments that HUD received in response to the document, fewer than 20 referenced the proposed RV rule, and all expressed support for this rulemaking.

This final rule adopts the approach of the proposed rule to reinforce the distinction between manufactured housing, which HUD regulates under its Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards and its Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement regulations; and other structures, which HUD will exempt from such regulation. The rule takes into consideration the public comments submitted in response to the February 9, 2016, proposed rule and the January 26, 2018, Federal Register document. This final rule provides that the requirements of 24 CFR parts 3280 and 3282 do not apply to the manufacture of a “recreational vehicle” as defined by this rule.

IV. Changes Made at the Final Rule StageEdit

After considering public comments received on the February 9, 2016, proposed rule, and after further review, HUD makes the following changes at the final rule stage.

1. In the final rule, HUD elects not to revise the definition of “manufactured home,” found at 24 CFR 3280.2, to ensure that the regulatory definition of “manufactured home” tracks with its statutory definition.

2. In § 3282.15(b)(1), HUD removes the term “factory built,” in response to public comment. HUD agrees with commenters who stated that some RV manufacturers do not produce their products in a factory, but nevertheless should qualify for the exemption if they meet all other exemption criteria.

3. In § 3282.15(b)(1), HUD adds the term “vehicle” to the definition of a recreational vehicle in response to public comment. HUD agrees with commenters who stated that “vehicle” is also a term of art used by state and local governments in regulating RVs.

4. In § 3282.15(b)(3), HUD makes a technical correction to remove the term “Recreational Park Trailer Standard” and replace it with the term “Park Model Recreational Vehicle Standard,” in response to public comment and to reflect the standard's proper title.

5. In § 3282.15(c), HUD makes several changes; to remove the term “Notice” and replace it with the term “Manufacturer's Notice” for clarity; and to specify that in all cases where the exemption is based on the unit being certified to the ANSI A-119.5-15 standard, the Manufacturer's Notice must be provided to the consumer prior to the completion of the sales transaction, as defined in this final rule. Finally, HUD adds a definition of “completion of sales transaction” in this final rule, because the cross-reference to § 3282.252(b), in the proposed rule, was inapplicable.

V. Discussion of Public Comments Submitted on the Proposed Rule and HUD's ResponsesEdit

The public comment period for the February 9, 2016, proposed rule closed on April 11, 2016. HUD received approximately 5,300 public comments in response to the proposed rule. A wide variety of interested entities submitted comments, including individuals, homeowners' associations, industry groups, state and local governments, and trade associations. At the outset, HUD notes that an overwhelming majority of these public comments were based on a misunderstanding of the proposed rule's intent and legal effect. This misunderstanding was propagated by social media, which opined that the rule was intended to increase regulation and restrict or prohibit consumer use of RVs and other types of housing, such as tiny homes. HUD emphasizes that this rule does not affect the use of RVs by consumers. Rather, this final rule clarifies the exemption for RVs from HUD manufactured housing regulation.

This section of the preamble addresses significant issues raised in the public comments, and organizes them into subject groups, with a description of each group of comments followed by HUD's responses.

A. General Misunderstanding of the Proposed RuleEdit

Comments: Commenters stated that the rule would prohibit full-time RV living. Other commenters stated that the rule implied that HUD would regulate consumer use of RVs. Commenters may have based this conclusion on the proposed definition of “recreational vehicle” that includes a criterion that a RV be designed only for recreational use. The commenters stated that the criterion would deter full-time RV and tiny home living while yielding no safety improvements.

Many commenters stated that individuals have a right to housing choice, including where and how they live, so long as the housing they choose is safe and contains necessities. Some commenters shared current housing trends toward small homes to base their opposition to the rule. Commenters stated that consumers, not HUD, should determine what housing should be acceptable for full-time living. Commenters stated that there is no harm in full-time RV living.

Commenters also stated that many people rely on full-time RV living as an economic necessity, particularly in high-cost areas. Commenters also stated that many people live full-time in RVs, Fifth-Wheel Travel Trailers, or tiny homes, and have been doing so for years, particularly in warm climates.

Some commenters stated that RVs are designed for full-time living and that many RV parks encourage full-time RV living. Commenters also stated that HUD should recognize the many benefits of full-time RV or tiny home living, including but not necessarily limited to: Expanding access to housing or home ownership, especially for people with limited incomes, criminal records, or poor rental histories; homelessness prevention; flexible housing for people who are elderly; ease of evacuation from natural disasters or terrorism; and individual freedom—to live where a person wants, to have pets, to avoid environmental contaminants, to live mortgage-free, to have less to care for, to live frugally, to practice environmental responsibility, or to travel for enjoyment, work, or retirement. Commenters stated that HUD should specifically incorporate language into the rule, stating that full-time living in RVs remains legal. Commenters stated that HUD should not adopt any recommendations from the MHCC, as its agenda is to force people into manufactured homes.

Some commenters stated that because the rule would make it more difficult for full-time RV users to maintain their lifestyle, a host of detrimental secondary effects would result. For example, commenters stated that the rule would worsen homelessness and undermine HUD's mission by limiting the supply of affordable housing in the United States. Commenters stated that this would disproportionately affect, and effectively discriminate against, people who lack financial resources or face economic hardship; e.g., people adapting to worsening economic conditions, people with disabilities, students with significant debt, veterans, senior citizens, and people who must travel for their work (and their employers, including national parks). Commenters stated that this would also disproportionately affect people who live alone and people who want to live frugally or practice environmentally responsible living. Commenters stated that the rule would inhibit people from retiring, reduce people's financial independence, force them into assisted living facilities, and force them to choose between housing and other basic necessities, like food, medicine, and utilities. Commenters stated that the rule would increase burdens already faced by RV residents, including local restrictions on parking, minimum size requirements, and zoning laws. Commenters stated that in response to the rule, manufacturers will merely adjust the square footage of RVs or change their marketing materials.

Commenters stated that the rule dictates the minimum square footage of a home or requires modular homes to be as stable as foundation-built homes. A commenter stated that HUD should not base its RV exemption on Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) certification because doing so would have the effect of excluding most sport utility RV trailers, including toy hauler sport utility RV trailers, RV trailers with garage areas and the large number of RV trailers with generators.

HUD is Not Regulation Park Models Or RVs: The Regulation Of Use And Occupancy Of RVs Is The Purview Of State And Local Authorities, Not HUD

HUD Response: HUD respectfully disagrees with the various fundamental premises and conclusions of these commenters about secondary effects. Initially, as stated in this preamble, HUD is not regulating use of manufactured homes or RVs. More specifically, how individuals decide to use their manufactured home or RV unit after purchase—and, in some cases, after receiving a Manufacturer's Notice about the unit's compliance with RV standards—is beyond the scope of this final rule. The regulation of use and occupancy of RVs is the purview of state and local authorities, not HUD.

Because this rule does not prohibit or regulate the use of manufactured homes or RVs, including tiny homes, the secondary consequences described by certain commenters are moot, and HUD does not believe that there exists a need to address them individually. HUD also states that this rule does not dictate the minimum square footage of a home, nor does it require modular homes to be “as stable” as foundation-built homes. It also does not require manufacturers to obtain RVIA certification to claim the RV exemption. HUD reiterates that when it first codified the RV exemption in 1976, it unequivocally stated that RVs were not designed to be used as permanent dwellings. This final rule does not alter that underlying rationale for the exemption. Moreover, as noted above, both the ANSI and NFPA standard descriptions underscore the need to distinguish RVs from permanent housing.

Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations; Clarifying the Exemption for Manufacture of Recreational Vehicles

Jurisdictions Allowing Moveable Tiny Homes

Pacific West Associates Certifies Park Models

Chuck Ballard is the president of Pacific West Associates.

PWA specializes in Certification, Design and Inspection. Pacific West Associates (PWA) is a consulting engineering firm providing specialized Engineering services in Structural, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineering for Architectural and facility/product applications.

Thirty Years Experience In The RV IndustryEdit

PWA’s capabilities include the full range of structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering services.  PWA has extensive experience in the analysis and design of many different structural, mechanical, and electrical systems including both pre-cast and cast-in-place concrete, structural steel, masonry, and engineered wood design.

PWA’s Clients Include:Edit

Architects, Contractors, Developers, Facility Managers, Real Estate Professionals, Recreational Vehicle Manufactures, Tiny Home Manufacturers, Park Model Manufacturers, Commercial Modular Manufacturers, Pre-Cast Concrete, Manufactured Home/ Multi Unit Manufactured Home Manufacturers, and Private Homeowners With Public And Private Facilities.

Design Approval Of Structural Analysis Of Chassis And FramesEdit

Pacific West Associates, Inc. is currently the only Design Approval Agency engaged in Structural Analysis of chassis and frames used in the production of Recreational Vehicles. This is a voluntary achievement of their Clientele and not a requirement of the Industry Association.

Chuck Ballard, the President of PWA  is on the committees that write the standards and codes for the Recreational Vehicle Industry

Principle Member of the NFPA 1192 Standard On Recreational Vehicles

Principle Member of the NFPA 1194 Standard On Recreational Parks And Campgrounds

Principle Member ANSI A119.5 Park Model Recreational Vehicle Standard

Principle Member ANSI UPA (Uniform Plan Approval)

Principle Member ANSI/RVIA Low Voltage Standard

Chuck Ballard: BIO

Tiny Portable Cedar Cabins: Custom Built Park Models Marketed As Tiny Homes From 144 to 400 Square Feet

Tiny Portable Cedar Cabins are built in Spirit Lake, Idaho. Financing Is Available.

Tiny Homes On Wheels From 144 to 400 Square FeetEdit

 
Tiny Portable Cedar Cabins: The Nostalgia Cottage

Tiny Portable Cedar Cabins

Wheelhaus Park Models

Platinum Cottages

Tiny Home And Park Model Insurance: A Buyer's MarketEdit

Insurance Needs That Can Be Met NowEdit

  • Park Model Insurance For Temporary, Vacation, Full Time Residence
  • Tiny Home Insurance With Or Without Wheels For Temporary, Vacation, Full Time Residence
  • DIY Tiny Homes With Or Without Wheels
  • For Those Who Travel
  • RV Certified And Non Certified
  • Airbnbs
  • Tiny Home Villages And Hotels
  • Trip Collison Coverage
  • Rental Reimbursement For Loss Of Income
  • Builders Insurance
  • Under Construction
  • Off The Grid
  • Wood Stove As Primary Heat
  • Other Structures
  • Theft
  • GPS Tracking
  • Loss Of Contents
  • Appliance Loss
  • Work Campers
  • Personal Liability

Recommended Insurance

In the United States, park models must remain under 400 square feet (37 m2) to qualify as a recreational vehicle under federal and state laws as well as being manufactured in a certified RV factory. In Canada, park models must remain under 538 square feet and be constructed in a certified RV factory and follows CSA standard for a park model to qualify as a recreational vehicle.[1] Over that size they would be considered a manufactured home and subject to different taxes and regulations. Many units feature slide-out or tip-out bays, which collapse into the unit for travel, and then expand outward when parked to increase overall living space. All floor plans are designed to remain under that limit when adding bays. If buyers want to stretch a plan, then the width may need to be narrowed. If they want to widen a plan, then the length has to be shortened.

A park model usually has steel tie-down straps for attachment to ground anchors. These are often required to satisfy local zoning and/or mobile home park regulations.

Standard campers without fresh water and/or holding tanks are often mistakenly identified as park models. [2]

  1. ^ Arthur. "RV Chronicle". RV Chronicle. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  2. ^ https://americantinyhouseassociation.org/park-model-rv-regulations-state-by-state/

ReferencesEdit

1) Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations; Clarifying the Exemption for Manufacture of Recreational Vehicles

2) Chuck Ballard: President Of Pacific West Associates And Director Of Standards For The Tiny Home Industry Association

3) Pacific West Associates

4) Tiny Portable Cedar Cabins: The Nostalgia Cottage

5) Tiny Portable Cedar Cabins

6) Tiny Portable Cedar Cabins: Operation Tiny Home Grant

7) Tiny Home And Park Model Insurance