Manufactured Homes – FAQs

Don’t see your question here? Email us at MHProgram@com.ohio.gov.

General

Q: I have matters before the Manufactured Homes Commission prior to January 21, 2018. Who do I contact now?

A.: The Department of Commerce will assume jurisdiction of manufactured homes in Ohio on January 21, 2018. Prior to that date, you should continue to conduct business with the Manufactured Homes Commission.

Q: Is the Department planning to overhaul the manufactured homes program when it assumes these responsibilities on Jan. 21, 2018?

A: No. You can expect a seamless transition. We won't make major changes on Jan. 21 – we will keep what works, and take a closer look at what might not be working.

Q: Will there be a process or a person to ensure work is coordinated across Commerce?

A: We are used to coordinating work across several areas, and the Division of Industrial Compliance will work closely with the Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing to ensure stakeholders continue to receive a high level of service. Any documentation, forms or processes to assist stakeholders will be assigned to the specific division within Commerce. All materials will make it clear who to contact. If you call the wrong place, we can quickly get you in touch with the right person.

Q: How will I know who to contact once Commerce assumes responsibility for the manufactured homes program?

A: The Department is working to assign specific Commerce staff members to this work, including identifying contacts for stakeholders to reach out to when they have a question or need assistance. These contacts will be experts in this area. Once this is determined, the names and contact information will be shared with all stakeholders in several ways, including in emails, and posted on the Commerce website.

Q: I have an idea, or a concern. Who can I share that with?

A: Feedback from stakeholders is critical to a smooth transition, and the success of the program ongoing. The Department is committed to ongoing two-way communication. You are encouraged to submit questions or feedback via email to MHProgram@com.ohio.gov or by calling 614-466-3902. The Department also will plan other opportunities to gather information, such as stakeholder meetings. Watch the website and your email for more information.

Q: How can I participate or give feedback about the Department’s new rules or new procedures?

A: The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) process contains specific steps that all Agencies must follow when drafting or updating rules. These steps include soliciting input from stakeholders at no less than four points in the process. The Department is committed to ensuring all stakeholders are aware of these opportunities, and will communicate them through email and on the Department’s website.

Q: Where can I get more information about this transition?

A: Comprehensive information about the transition is posted on the Commerce website: http://com.ohio.gov/MH.aspx. In addition, you can sign up for the Department’s mailing list by emailing MHProgram@com.ohio.gov or signing up here.

Q: What’s the Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing’s role in manufacturing?

A: The division will receive and track franchise agreements between manufacturers and dealers on makes of new homes for purposes of providing this information to titling agencies. Additionally, since we already have a robust dispute resolution program for other professions, the division may work with manufacturers who are a party to a complaint that goes to dispute resolution.

Q: Can we continue to discuss how we can coordinate where we cross over in regulation, i.e. if a manufactured homes park has a regulated water system?

A: Strong partnerships are critical to this transition, and to the success of the program. We welcome opportunities to partner with groups across the industry. We are reaching out to various groups to ask for feedback, as well as ideas on how we can strengthen the program. If you would like to set up a meeting to discuss a particular issue in detail, please contact us by email at MHProgram@com.state.oh.us or by calling 614-466-3902.

Q: How will you let manufactured homes residents know that Commerce assumed oversight on Jan. 21?

A: We are committed to stakeholder and consumer education – and that includes residents. We are talking with different stakeholder groups to find out the best way to communicate with their members, and welcome all feedback on how we can effectively reach out to residents. It’s critical that we engage with our stakeholder groups to help us share information with their members. We also will leverage our website and media resources.

Q: Will there be resident representation on the manufactured homes council that is being formed?

A: Language in the budget bill specifies the qualifications for each member of the Manufactured Homes Advisory Council. This includes two public members with no pecuniary or fiduciary interest in Ohio’s manufactured homes industry – one appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and one appointed by the Senate President. If you have any recommendations for someone to serve on the council, please submit them to your state legislator.

Q: Will the online seal report still be used? Can there be columns such as dealer or manufactured home park added to the seal report?

A: We will continue using the seal report come Jan. 21. If you have suggestions for changes to the seal report, please send them to MHProgram@com.state.oh.us.

Q: The Manufactured Homes Commission was working on a fully online license renewal system. Will Commerce be able to offer online license renewal?

A: Yes. Online renewals are scheduled to become operational in May 2018. The move of the program in no way affects the original timeline for that system conversion.


Inspections/Installations

Q: Who will be responsible for the regulation of manufactured home installers and inspectors?

A: The Division of Industrial Compliance, along with Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board and the Board of Building Standards (BBS), will be responsible for the regulation of manufactured home installers and inspectors. Both OCILB and BBS are housed at the division.

Q: Is it true that third party inspectors only will be used through July for training?

A: We have no immediate plans to eliminate the use of third party inspectors. If there is room for improvement in the inspection process, we will discuss those changes with stakeholders and make appropriate changes when we file new rules in July.

Q: There are a lot of outstanding jobs open throughout Ohio – how do we continue the inspections for permits already pulled?

A: Through Jan. 20, you should continue to request inspections as you do today, regardless of the date of the inspection. When the inspection process is handled by the division come Jan. 21, you will continue to schedule inspections as you do today, except your contact point will be the Division of Industrial Compliance.

We will obtain all existing records to ensure all permits obtained now or that have a scheduled inspection after Jan. 21 have the inspection completed as planned.

Q: Will we request inspections the same way?

A: Yes. The only change is that your contact point will be the Division of Industrial Compliance.

Q: Are the conversations to have local authorities conduct inspections still moving forward?

A: Every local authority that’s certified as an inspector today will continue to be certified. Local Health Departments will continue to have first right of refusal for park inspections.

Q: Can local health departments do a cost methodology for the manufactured homes duties in their area rather than an established fee across the state? The cost to manage these responsibilities isn’t the same in all areas.

A: This change has legal implications, and may require statutory or rule changes. We welcome the opportunity to discuss this in greater detail.

Q: Will anyone have exclusivity to conduct inspections?

A: On Jan. 21, things will continue as they are today. If there is room for improvement in the inspection process, we will discuss those changes with stakeholders and make any appropriate changes.

Q: How will inspection reports be submitted?

A: Inspection reports can be submitted to the Division of Industrial Compliance via email. We are exploring the need for faxed receipt or direct mailing.

Q: Will Commerce develop an inspection form?

A: Yes. Commerce has drafted the inspection forms, which will be available on our website shortly before the transition.

Q: Can flood plain administration be handled by the local administrator?

A: On Jan. 21st, the Division of Industrial Compliance will be enforcing all of the Commission’s existing rules regarding manufactured homes, including those rules regarding manufactured home placement within floodplains. The division will continue to manage floodplain development by requiring permits for any installations done within a park in a floodplain. For example, a permit would be required for special fill and grading for any new parks within a floodplain. Floodplain administration, however, which is part of the requirements of the National Flood Plain Insurance Program (NFIP), will continue to be handled by the local floodplain administrators who are designated by applicable law. If you have any questions about floodplain administration or who your floodplain administrator is, please contact the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which administers the Floodplain Management Program and is the NFIP coordinator in Ohio.

Q: Is there a way to have additions such as decks and carports inspected at the local level? Do building departments have the authority to do these inspections?

A: Additions to manufactured homes must comply with Ohio Residential Building Code. If a manufactured homes park falls within a local building department’s jurisdiction, the park owner should obtain a permit for any additions, and the construction should be inspected by the local building department.

Not every manufactured homes park falls within a local building department’s jurisdiction, which causes confusion. This is an opportunity for us to educate local building departments on where their jurisdiction of manufactured homes begins and ends, and to educate park owners and residents about their responsibilities.

Q: Can we implement a building code specific to manufactured homes, and the ancillary construction such as garages and decks?

A: This idea requires a more in-depth conversation between manufactured homes experts and code officials. We will schedule meetings to begin the conversation. Please let us know if you’d like to be included in these conversations.

Q: Who will conduct placement inspections within manufactured homes parks?

A: On Jan. 21, Commerce will inherit the current Manufactured Home Commission rules and the Ohio Administrative Code 4781, and will immediately begin enforcing those rules. Currently, the rules allow any licensed manufactured homes inspector to conduct installation inspections in Ohio, including individuals, companies and governmental entities. This practice will continue after Jan. 21. If there is room for improvement in the installation inspection process, we will discuss those changes with stakeholders and make appropriate changes when we file new rules in July.

Q: Is the Department planning to change the manufactured homes installation standards?

A: When the Department assumes jurisdiction over manufactured homes on Jan. 21, 2018, it will be governed by the same administrative rules that currently govern the Manufactured Homes Commission. This means the Department will initially inherit the same installation standards used by the Commission. The Department will be required to file new rules by July 21, 2018. These rules may include minor changes to the installation standards, depending on feedback received from stakeholders during the transition.


Manufactured Homes Parks

Q: Who will be responsible for the regulation of parks, including park licensing and inspections?

A: The Division of Industrial Compliance, along with the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB), will be responsible for the regulation of parks. OCILB is housed at the division.

Q: Will Commerce continue to license manufactured homes parks?

A: Yes. The Division of Industrial Compliance will delegate park licensure to the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board, which is housed at the division.

Q: Who will send license applications and invoices to manufactured homes parks?

A: The Division of Industrial Compliance/the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board staff will send applications and invoices to manufactured homes parks.

Q: Can all manufactured homes parks be required to post additional notices and information, such as Commerce has assumed responsibility for the manufactured homes program?

A: The existing rules for parks include the requirement to post information such as emergency contact in the park office. In July, there is an opportunity to require parks to post additional information, such as contact information for Commerce. We will welcome stakeholder feedback on this topic and others during the rule making process.

Q: What is the average age of the almost 1,600 parks in Ohio?

A: Once Commerce has full access to all of the Commission’s computer systems, we can analyze the data.

Q: Are there any plans to require parks to upgrade utilities such as water and sewer to ensure they are adequate and safe?

A: We understand the concerns around this issue. This is one of many topics Commerce staff will look into to ensure all Ohioans have adequate systems in place, such as properly running water and sewer systems. Commerce will continue conversations with stakeholders over the years to come on this issue, and we look forward to working together to identify solutions to this problem. Training and Continuing Education.

Q: Can we look at increasing the number and types of continuing education classes?

A: The continuing education requirements for installers and inspectors remains the same, and are set forth in rules. We already are exploring options to provide more classes in additional formats, such as online classes, webinars and in-person courses. Please continue to share ideas about what changes to continuing education would be beneficial.

Q: Can we update the training for field installers to address gaps in knowledge and differences in the level of details of manufactures’ instructions?

A: Strengthening training is a priority. We are working with HUD in regard to the current training standards, and ways in which we can make improvements. Please continue to share your ideas. We are also working with our existing Certified Training Agencies to ensure they are prepared to offer installer training beginning Jan. 21.

Q: What are Commerce’s plans to develop guidelines for “abandoned” and “nuisance” determinations?

A: We are aware of the problems presented by abandoned and nuisance properties. There are many entities involved (such as local law enforcement, local municipal officials, state agencies), and many of the solutions may require statutory and rule changes. We want to reduce the problem in the manufactured homes communities, and will work with partners to find the best solution. We will convene a group of stakeholders to help identify solutions.

Q: How will Commerce manage complaints about abandoned or nuisance homes?

A: We are developing a process to handle all complaints, with the knowledge that these complaints are complex and require additional steps and process. Suggestions and feedback are welcome.


Manufactured Homes Brokers/Dealers and Salespersons

Q:Who will be responsible for the regulation and licensing of manufactured home brokers/dealers and salespersons?

A: The Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing (REPL) will be responsible for the regulation and licensing of brokers/dealers and salespersons.

Q: Will there be any change to the license renewal cycle for manufactured home brokers/dealers and salespersons?

A: No. The renewal cycle will remain the same. Brokers/dealers' licenses will next expire on March 31, 2019. Salespersons' licenses will next expire on June 30, 2019.

Q: Will my broker/dealer or salesperson license number change?

A: While the prefix to your license may change, your license number will remain the same.

Q: Are physical inspections of dealerships going to be resumed after Jan. 21?

A: Yes; with the additional resources that we bring to the table, the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing will conduct physical inspections immediately for new applications. We also intend to integrate visits into our other audits and inspections across Ohio to those active dealerships where an inspection has not previously been conducted.


Local Health Districts

Q: Will local boards of health still have the ability to continue doing inspections?

A: Yes. When Commerce takes over manufactured homes regulation, local boards of health will continue to conduct inspections. Changes may be made to the program as Commerce works to improve services. If changes are made, Commerce will ensure there is adequate communication to the boards.

Q: What fees will Local Health Districts be paid for inspections?

A: On Jan. 21, Commerce will inherit the current Manufactured Home Commission rules and the Ohio Administrative Code 4781, and will immediately begin enforcing those rules as our own. This means that the Division of Industrial Compliance will charge and collect the same fees as the Manufactured Home Commission does today. If there is a need for fees to be changed, we will discuss those changes with stakeholders and make appropriate changes when we file new rules in July.

Q: When will Local Health Districts see an agreement from Commerce?

A: Commerce is working with the Manufactured Homes Commission on contract renewals, and we anticipate that we will have an answer to this question in the coming weeks.

Q: When can Local Health Districts conduct inspections?

A: Once Commerce takes over on Jan. 21, Local Health Districts can continue with their inspections just as they did under the Manufactured Home Commission.

Q: When can Local Health Districts conduct inspections?

A: Once Commerce takes over on Jan. 21, Local Health Districts can continue with their inspections just as they did under the Manufactured Home Commission.

Q: Will Local Health Districts be required to conduct re-inspections? If so, how will they be notified, and what will they be paid?

A: The Division of Industrial Compliance intends to treat any failed inspections as an enforcement matter to be handled by division personnel. We do not intend to require re-inspections by the Local Health Districts, but welcome input from our stakeholders on this matter.

Q: Can Local Health Districts contract with neighboring jurisdictions to conduct inspections?

A: On Jan. 21, Commerce will inherit the current Manufactured Home Commission rules and the Ohio Administrative Code 4781, and will immediately begin enforcing those rules. The current rules do not permit Local Health Districts to inspect any districts but their own. We will discuss changes with stakeholders and make appropriate changes when we file new rules in July if there is a need to change whether local health districts should be permitted to contract with neighboring jurisdictions.