Oregon To Crack Down on Manufactured Housing
Some shady operators in the manufactured home business have given the
industry a black eye.
Consumer complaints and a series of scathing newspaper reports has led to
creation of a Task Force on manufactured housing in Oregon, which is now
calling for tighter controls on sales of manufactured homes.�� Articles in the
Portland newspaper, the Oregonian revealed that unscrupulous sales and
lending practices in the manufactured housing industry were hurting
consumers, and causing some people to lose their homes to foreclosure.�� In
response, the Task Force has recommended major new regulations on
manufactured home dealers and park owners.�� Even the industry itself supports
many of the recommendations, including licensing of home sellers.
The Task Force held several meetings around the state, chronicling the range
of problems including high-pressure sales tactics and misleading information
provided by some dealers and their sales staffs.�ݬ� Hundreds of people from
industry, government and consumer groups attended.�� Individual home buyers
and park residents complained of unexpectedly high rental and purchase costs,
sometimes so high that people had to walk away from their homes.�ݬ� The Task
Force is calling for tougher regulation of sales practices and stronger
protections for consumers in home purchase and loan contracts.�� These include
licensing of sales people, new disclosures in loan transactions, and a new
definition of predatory lending practices that would be illegal under state
law, although the Task Force failed to write an exact definition of a loan
that would be considered "predatory" in nature.
The most controversial solution is conspicuously absent from the report, the
possibility of rent controls for Oregon's 1,500 manufactured home parks.��
Although the panel heard a number of complaints about skyrocketing rents, it
made no recommendation for governmental action.�� The omission has residents
up in arms.�� Renter activists are taking their case directly to the state
legislature.�� Park owners are vehemently opposed to government regulation of
park rents. The group also did not agree on a proposal that would allow
tenant associations rather than only individuals to bring legal action
against landlords for violation of state landlord-tenant laws.
Draft recommendations include:
Requiring state licenses for manufactured-home salespeople, coupled with a
requirement that salespeople attend state or industry-directed classes and
then pass a state examination. Violators of a code of ethics would face
Expanding the authority of the state Driver and Motor Vehicle Services
branch to conduct background and criminal history checks of dealers.
Requiring providers of park improvement packages to give buyers a list of
the costs of items contained in the park package, and to disclose which site
improvements will be owned by park owners and which will be owned by
residents who pay for the improvements.
Creating an industrywide uniform purchase and sales contract for
manufactured housing transactions that conspicuously discloses contract
Allowing consumers to rescind a purchase agreement within three days of a
signing a deal.
Directing the Department of Justice to adopt industrywide advertising
Directing the state Department of Justice to list its law enforcement
priorities in manufactured housing. The state would then apply sanctions
uniformly based on those priorities.
Supporting various tax incentives that would make it easier for residents
to buy parks.
Sources used to create this article include Gordon Oliver and the Oregonian.