(last updated 12:30 p.m. March 26)
State-by-State News Roundup in the Manufactured Housing Industry
Updated Manufactured Housing News By State — Industry Response to and Updates about Coronavirus Measures
State orders to limit gatherings and reduce interaction as a measure against the spread of coronavirus have been put into effect in about half of the country, impacting the daily activity of more than 100 million people.
In many states, residents are required to stay home, and engage in essential activities only, including short trips for groceries, fuel, and prescriptions. Individuals must restrict visitors. Families staying together must keep to themselves. All other interactions must be practiced virtually, and at least six-feet apart if in person.
Additionally, essential labor practices in those states will continue, as detailed by each state. Manufacturing in some states remains an essential labor practice, and in most cases, retail operations, including home centers, are closing temporarily.
The state-wide order to stay-home and curb certain business activities includes exemptions for 16 business/industry types including home construction and inspection services.
The Montrose Press reports Matt Miles, developer of Midland Village in Grand Junction and Cimarron Creek and River Meadows in Montrose, won’t be collecting fees from the 1,000 homesites in the three communities. With each resident not paying an average of $500 per month, Miles says that he hopes his move will pump close to a half-million dollars into the local economies. Each community has a broad demographic containing about 60% adults with no children and 40% families.
The state has ordered all non-essential businesses to close and has asked residents to stay home. The governor has a list of essential businesses, which includes home construction.
The state of Delaware is under executive order for residents and most workers to stay home. On its list of essential Delaware businesses, residential construction is noted as an essential area that will remain open and operating.
The Florida Manufactured Housing Association is in conversation with officials at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation about the lawful and most effective way to close common areas and common area facilities at manufactured housing communities in the state. The state has closed entertainment venues, and is prohibiting larger gatherings.
Illinois is among the states that have ordered residents to stay home. Work activity is limited to essential businesses, which includes residential construction and associated trades.
IMHA Board of Directors has decided to reschedule the Annual Conference and Membership Meeting from April 22-23 until Sept. 16-17, 2020, at The Drake Oak Brook Hotel. Additional details will be provided as they develop.
The state has issued a stay-at-home order with exemptions for essential businesses, including Indiana’s construction and critical trades.
Ron Breymier, executive director for the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association said the organization has decided to suspend a hands-on continuing education training session for manufactured home licensed installers. The session was scheduled for April 22, 2020. Attempts are being made to reschedule for later in the year. The association also is working with state officials in an effort to classify manufactured home manufacturers, suppliers, and transporters/installers as positions of critical operation in case there is an effort to shut down production. State lawmakers are working on language requiring anyone who sells more than three manufactured homes to become licensed dealers whereas current law requires licensure if more than 12 manufactured homes are sold.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds suspended property tax collection and evictions, and the state is relaxing or extending deadlines on regulations in reaction to coronavirus outbreak.
The temporary changes come through a state public health emergency declaration that went into effect immediately. Regulatory changes include collection of property taxes and related penalties and interest.
The order also puts a hold on many evictions for renters and leaseholders in the state. It does not apply to non-lease arrangements and “emergency situations allowed by law”.
Kentucky has issued an order to halt non-essential business activity, with provisions made for residential construction. This is not a stay-home order.
The state of Louisiana has been added to the list of state under mandatory stay-at-home, or shelter-in-place, orders. All non-essential businesses have been ordered to cease operation and essential businesses including construction trades are able to operate.
Maryland has announced an executive order for non-essential businesses to close, and to curb large gatherings. While the order is not a “shelter-in-place” or stay-at-home order, it asks residents to stay home and limits business activities to those deemed essential, including residential construction.
The governor of Massachusetts has ordered the closure of non-essential businesses, which includes operating provisions for home building and the trades. This is not a stay-home order for residents.
Michigan is under a state order from the governor for residents to stay home and venture out for essential services only. Likewise, all non-essential businesses are closed. State provisions are in place for home construction and the trades during the executive order.
Skyline Champion Corporation, from Champion Homes headquarters in Troy, Mich., has announced reduced production in 13 facilities throughout the U.S. in states where mandatory lock-down has been implemented. That list is likely to grow as other states increase actions to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
“Skyline Champion is focused on the safety and well-being of our employees, distributors and customers we serve, and the communities in which we operate, while simultaneously ensuring business continuity across our operations,” President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Yost said. “We are well-positioned to navigate the uncertainty of the current environment due to our strong liquidity position, highly flexible, low cash-cost operating model, as well as our diversified customer channels and geographic mix.”
MMHA Spring Conferences June 2-3 has been canceled. MMHA staff is working remotely, but will remain available to assist members with their needs. The governor has issued a stay at home order for all residents and has closed the state’s non-essential businesses, with operating provisions made for residential construction and the building trades.
The 2020 Tunica Show has been canceled and the annual event will return in 2021. The state of Mississippi on March 17, 2020, declared a State of Emergency in response to measures against the spread of the coronavirus.
“Tim Fagerburg, with the State Fire Marshal’s office spoke to MMHA retailers on a conference call regarding the department’s activity and structure during this time,” Mississippi Manufactured Housing Association Executive Director Jennifer Hall said. “He stated that the seven deputy inspectors with the department will continue to work from their homes and they conduct home installation inspections. Mr. Fagerburg stated that he is working from home as instructed by the Insurance Commissioner and going into the office three times a week and processing the property locators to the inspectors. He asked that installers and retailers please be patient as we work through this difficult period.
“The Governor declared a State of Emergency and he has closed all state agencies and asked each department head to only allow employees to work that are essential. Most of these employees are working from home. Retailers should contact each of the county or city permit offices and find out how they are conducting business,” Hall said. “Some permit offices are only allowing one person in the office at a time. Some offices are requiring folks to call and make appointments to follow the 10-person suggested rule by the CDC and the State Health Officer. These are unique and challenging times that we are dealing with on a day to day basis. MMHA encourages each of you to take the necessary precautions to create a safe working environment for your employees. Also please protect your families and loved ones during this most difficult time.”
The state Health Department also has recommended and asked that all Mississippi restaurants and bars halt indoor food and drink service to the public.
The state list of essential businesses that can continue to operate includes construction. However, the state has asked for necessary project only, and the most minimal staffing possible for those essential tasks.
New Mexico has ordered residents to stay at home and non-essential businesses to close. The mandate includes measures against mass gatherings. Residential construction is deemed essential business in the state.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered all non-essential workers in New York to stay home. “What I do will affect you, and what you do will affect me… We need everyone to be safe otherwise no one can be safe,” he said.
The list of essential businesses published by the state of New York approves construction, including skilled trades and “firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes”.
Bob Capenos, the executive director for the New York Housing Association, said the association’s meeting and training courses have been postponed at least two months. A memo from state courts puts a hold on eviction notices and proceedings until further notice. In addition, a presentation on the new tax filing system for community owners has been posted.
The Manufactured Housing Institute postponed the Congress and Expo, which was to be held April 6-8 at the MGM in Las Vegas. MHI currently is attempting to reschedule the event for dates no earlier than May.
The state of Ohio has listed manufacturing, including construction, and general construction as essential business activities under the executive order to shutter all non-essential businesses.
Tim Williams, executive director for the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association said a member group, Greenlawn Communities, has reduced lot rent to residents by 50% for the month of April. Greenlawn operates eight communities with a total of 1,400 homesites, as well as a retail location, in the state of Ohio.
The state of Oklahoma has ordered gatherings be limited to 10 or fewer people, event spaces closed, and has warned older residents and residents with compromised immune systems to shelter in place.
Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order for Oregonians to stay home for anything other than essential services, and asked that businesses close. The order includes provisions for essential businesses including construction, as needed, with the caveat that workers maintain social distancing standards.
Residents and most workers in the state of Pennsylvania are under executive order to stay home. Only essential businesses are allowed to operate, which excludes residential construction other than emergency work on residential buildings. The state of Pennsylvania has several home building facilities that are likely to be significantly impacted by the action.
The state of West Virginia has issued a stay-at-home order. Its list of essential businesses has yet to be released but should be available on the W.V. governor’s page shortly.
Amy Bliss with the Wisconsin Housing Alliance sent out a statement about social gatherings in manufactured home communities.
“I’ve been asked for some guidance to community owners who have community centers where their residents gather,” she said. “While there is no one perfect answer, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has some questions to ask yourself about whether to cancel events or not. For those that are dealing with an at-risk elderly population, it is advisable to be cautious.”
Below are the questions DHS suggests you might ask yourself when making a determination on gatherings in your community spaces:
- My event doesn’t quite make the 50-person threshold. What should I do?
- The following will help you consider the importance of your event as weighed against the need to protect others from the spread of COVID-19.
- Critical service – Does your event or service provide essential services (such as education or health care) to community residents?
- Is it necessary to the public? What negative consequences would occur if this event was not held?
- Community situation – Is there known sustained community transmission in the host community? Are other organizations in the community canceling smaller events?
- The risk to participants – Are people at risk for serious illness from COVID-19 participating?
- Will people be in close physical proximity?
- How long will people be in contact with each other?
Check MHINsider for all of the updated news on manufactured housing industry events, meetings, and conferences.