Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations
Clarifying the Exemption for Manufacture of Recreational Vehicles Summary
Effective Date January 19th, 2019
This rulemaking 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.
A General Misunderstanding of the Proposed Rule
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.
HUD Response: HUD respectfully disagrees with the various fundamental premises and conclusions of these commenters about secondary effects.
Regulation And Use Of Occupancy Of RVs Is In The Purview Of State And Local Authorities
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.
The RV Industry
Three Things You Need To Know About The New HUD Rule
On November 16, 2018, HUD released a final rule which updates the definition of RV to definitively exempt RV from HUD’s regulation. While this is a huge win for the RV industry, this new rule includes two provisions that have prompted the RV Industry Association to raise concerns: Requiring PMRV manufacturers to display a “Manufacturer’s Notice” and tying the rule specifically to the 2015 versions of the NFPA and ANSI standards.
HUD Does not Regulate RVs, including PMRVs and Fifth-Wheels
Most importantly, the newly finalized rule clearly establishes that HUD does not regulate RVs, including PMRVs and fifth-wheels, which provides much-needed regulatory certainty to RV manufacturers. Earlier RV exemptions did not establish a bright line between RVs, which are designed for temporary, seasonal or recreational use, and manufactured housing which is designed to be a permanent, year-round dwelling. The blurry distinction began to cause confusion in recent years as RVs have become larger and park model RVs have risen in popularity.