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Manufactured Housing Toolkit

I'M HOME toolkit

I'M HOME toolkit

CFED and our partners have developed a set of tools to help advocates educate policymakers, allied organizations and the general public about how public policy can improve the lives and financial security of owners of manufactured housing. The Manufactured Housing Toolkit includes Communications Tools, Policy Briefs, Resource Guides, Sample Local Level Policies and Metropolitan Data and Policy Snapshots. Policy Briefs are intended to be broadly disseminated and shared with policymakers and allies, while the Resource Guides include legislative analysis, examples of states where certain policies have been adopted, and other detailed information to help advocates in making the case for manufactured housing. The Communications Tools include both concise messages to share with policymakers and community members, as well as tips for advocates in framing the discussion. 

Metropolitan Data and Policy Snapshots are part of a new body of work designed to bring manufactured housing strategies further into the mainstream affordable housing space, particularly in metropolitan areas. This work is focused on the Ford Foundation’s Metropolitan Opportunity Unit, which is working in ten major metropolitan areas in the United States to increase access to opportunity for low income people. Each metropolitan area is defined based on the geographic reach of partners' work, the spatial distribution of the populations their efforts are intended to reach, and the “geography of power” within which decision making happens in the region. This Manufactured Housing Metropolitan Opportunity strategy aims to first inform and empower key stakeholders with new materials about the affordable housing need and resources, and the opportunity for manufactured housing strategies to serve those needs in these metropolitan areas.

The framework for the Toolkit is the policy agenda, developed in collaboration with our policy partners and outlines specific policies that promote the asset-building opportunities of manufactured housing.

As this project matures, we will add additional tools as they are completed, as well as refine existing tools based on feedback from advocates in the field. So please stay tuned, and contact us to share your experience using these tools.

Communications Tools

Policy Briefs

Policy Briefs are short documents providing basic background on a particular issue. They are designed for use with external audiences, such as policymakers or allies.

  • Protecting Fundamental Freedoms in Communities Manufactured homes represent a pathway to affordable homeownership for millions of Americans, but their potential as a wealth-building vehicle remains tenuous in many states. Resident ownership of manufactured home communities is one strategy to help low-income homeowners build assets, but certain basic freedoms must be protected if homeowners are to purchase their communities. This tool provides background on policies that give residents stable land tenure and ensure that they can form resident associations and advocate for resident purchase opportunities. Click here to download the policy brief.
  • Promoting Resident Ownership of Communities Across the country, manufactured home community closures are increasing. Yet only 18 states have policies that create opportunities for homeowners to purchase the land on which their homes sit. This tool provides background on resident ownership of manufactured home communities as a mechanism to preserve affordable housing and build assets. Click here to download the policy brief.
  • Financing Homes in Communities Today's manufactured homes are permanent homes built to high quality standards. However, high-cost financing can create a roadblock for families seeking to build assets, because manufactured homes are often financed more like cars than homes. This policy brief discusses ways to increase the availability of conventional financing for manufactured homes in land-lease communities. Click here to download the policy brief.
  • Titling Homes as Real Property Manufactured homes are the largest source of unsubsidized, affordable housing in the United States. Although a modern manufactured home may be indistinguishable from a site-built home to many observers, a manufactured home is typically considered personal property, rather than real estate. This tool provides information on converting manufactured homes to real property and the link to increased security and asset-building potential for owners of manufactured housing. Click here to find the Titling Homes as Real Property Policy Brief.
  • Uniform Manufactured Housing Act (UMHA) Briefs The following briefs published in May 2013 summarize the purpose, function and main benefits of the UMHA for a variety of audiences. The UMHA is a model manufactured home titling statute drafted by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) and approved in July 2012. The act’s primary focus is the proper classification of manufactured homes (also commonly called mobile homes) as real property or personal property. The act is intended to modernize the law in this area, bring uniformity and clarity into a chaotic area of state law, increase the supply of affordable housing by making manufactured home financing more available and affordable, and provide owners of manufactured homes with many of the same legal protections as owners of site-built homes.

    UMHA Overview
    UMHA Homeowner Brief
    UMHA Industry Brief
    UMHA Tax Brief

Resource Guides

Resource Guides are longer documents that provide more detailed information to help advocates make the case for manufactured housing.

  • First Steps Toward a Resident Purchase Opportunity February 2017
    A state policy that ensures manufactured home community residents have an opportunity to bid when their communities are for sale gives them equal rights with other potential buyers. Sometimes, however, advocates are unable to secure a full-fledged purchase opportunity policy. Whether to push for a less-than-comprehensive purchase opportunity policy presents a dilemma for advocates. If state policymakers adopt one of the suggested “first steps,” they may feel that they have solved the problem and may be unwilling to revisit the issue. Similarly, advocates may choose not to mount a policy campaign for a “first step” policy since it does not guarantee residents the full opportunity to purchase their communities. But a multi-step approach can be effective if advocates have a multi-year strategy, and if they make it clear to policymakers that the “first step” policies they are proposing are only that – first steps. This policy guide presents “first steps” – steps that do not amount to a comprehensive purchase opportunity policy but that may help move the state toward such a policy. Click here to download the resource guide.
  • Titling Reform: How States Can Encourage GSE Investment in Manufactured Homes February 2017
    A new rule proposed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will give Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac the incentive to invest in manufactured home financing—but only if the homes are classified as real property. Most states have significant policy barriers to classifying manufactured homes as real property. Failure to reform the existing inadequate laws will preclude these states, the manufactured home industry and homeowners from reaping the full benefit of the Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s increased investment in this area. Adoption of the Uniform Law Commission’s Uniform Manufactured Housing Act (UMHA) is a straightforward and well-vetted way to maximize the ability of industry and homeowners to benefit from the new rule and to clarify existing state titling laws. Find the resource guide here.
  • Titling Homes as Real Property November 2015
    Manufactured homes are the largest source of unsubsidized, affordable housing in the United States. Although a modern manufactured home may be indistinguishable from a site-built home to many observers, a manufactured home is typically considered personal property, rather than real estate. This guide provides a state by state analysis of the current statutes in regards to property classification. Further, the guide features recommendations for strong policies for the conversion of manufactured homes to real property. Click here to download the resource guide.
  • Advocating at the Local Level November 2015
    This guide is a resource for anyone interested in promoting the use of manufactured housing as an affordable housing and asset-building strategy through local policy. It examines areas of local policymaking that have potential impact and reviews a sampling of existing and proposed municipal and county ordinances and other policies. Click here to download the resource guide.

    Sample Consolidated Plan, New York: Includes the language concerning manufactured housing used in the New York State Consolidated Plan for federal fiscal years 2011-2015.
  • Protecting Fundamental Freedoms in Communities January 2015
    This guide is a resource for anyone interested in safeguarding the rights of homeowners in manufactured home communities through state policy. Although there is a broad array of consumer protections that can improve the life of manufactured home community residents, this reference specifically focuses on those protections that lay the groundwork for resident purchase transactions. It describes the growing crisis in closure of manufactured home communities, identifies the four types of homeownership protections that pave the way for asset-building in these communities, specifies key elements of strong policies and lists state precedents for policy adoption. Click here to download the resource guide.
  • Promoting Resident Ownership of Communities, Resource Guide with Appendix A on Model Law & Alternatives February 2015
    This tool summarizes the case for resident ownership of manufactured home communities as a path to affordable housing preservation and asset building. The guide establishes key elements of strong policy and suggests model legislative language, as well as giving examples from states that have adopted purchase opportunity legislation. Click here to download the resource guide.
  • Conventional Mortgage Financing October 2014
    Obstacles in obtaining conventional mortgage financing, unfortunately, create a huge roadblock for buyers of manufactured homes. In most cases, these homes – though as permanent as homes built on-site – are treated by lenders more like automobiles than homes, preventing owners from realizing the many benefits of homeownership. This guide is a resource for policy makers, advocates and industry stakeholders interested in ways to expand the availability of better and less expensive conventional mortgage financing for buyers of manufactured homes, especially low- and moderate-income buyers. This guide lays out the different methods of titling manufactured housing and the implications for home financing; discusses manufactured housing finance; outlines challenges in accessing conventional mortgage financing for manufactured housing; and offers policy recommendations for increasing access to conventional mortgage financing for manufactured housing. Click here to download the resource guide.
  • Real Homes, Real Value: Challenges, Issues and Recommendations Concerning Real Property Appraisals of Manufactured Homes December 2012
    Many appraisers and professionals working in the manufactured housing industry express frustration with the existing process for appraising manufactured housing. Appraisers invoke challenges that do not arise in appraisals of site-built homes, such as rules governing the selection of comparable sales and difficulties in locating information about sale prices, title, foundation and other issues. Manufactured housing professionals, in turn, believe that the appraisal process does not always result in fair valuation of manufactured housing, which provides homes for millions of Americans across the income spectrum. This study, part of the Single Family Finance Initiative of I’M HOME, looks at the practices of appraising manufactured homes as real estate and finds that the appraisers’ and industry professionals’ concerns have substance. Click here to download the resource guide.
  • Accessing Public Resources for Homes and Communities September 2010
    Though manufactured home ownership is a popular, low cost alternative to site-built homes, homebuyers often struggle to find fair and affordable financing to purchase manufactured homes. When manufactured homes are titled as personal property rather than real estate or when homeowners place their homes in land-lease communities, they are at a distinct disadvantage to traditional homebuyers when seeking financing. This guide is designed to help consumers, nonprofit practitioners and advocates learn how to leverage public financing for the purchase, rehabilitation or refinancing of manufactured homes. The guide offers lists of public resources available for financing for individual homeowners who want to purchase or rehabilitate their manufactured homes and homeowner groups that want to purchase their communities; it describes program parameters to help advocates understand how to access various programs; and recommends programmatic changes that could improve the function of public programs for which manufactured housing is an eligible use. Click here to download the resource guide.
  • Weatherization and Replacement Homes February 2010
    Weatherization and home replacement programs offer ways to improve outdated manufactured homes, the lives of the families that live in them and the communities in which they are placed. However, there are obstacles that may prevent owners of older homes or homes in manufactured home communities from participating in these programs. Furthermore, replacement of older units with modern, energy-efficient manufactured homes is a relatively recent idea that has not been widely implemented. This guide addresses these challenges and helps to ensure that homeowners can enjoy the benefits of improving this significant stock of unsubsidized affordable housing for low-income Americans. Click here to download the resource guide.

Sample Local Level Policies

Metropolitan Area Data and Policy Snapshots

Data Snapshots provide data that illustrates the role of manufactured homes in the affordable housing market, who lives in them and how they serve the housing needs of their owners. Policy Snapshots describe how the state and local policy environments affect owners of manufactured homes, affordable housing developers using factory-built housing and community organizers working with residents to preserve their communities. Because some metropolitan areas span multiple states, some metro areas will have multiple Policy Snapshots.

State Snapshots

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