Prebuilt Homes: Manufactured Housing and Standards
The term “manufactured home” was adopted in 1980 by the United States Congress to describe a type of house that is constructed in a factory to comply with a building code developed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In the past, manufactured homes were called “mobile homes,” a term that many people still use. However, “mobile” is no longer an accurate name because fewer than five percent of such homes are ever moved off the owner’s original site.
WARRANTIES & OTHER PROTECTIONS FOR THE HOME PURCHASER
Federal standards and written warranties protect buyers of manufactured homes. Every manufactured home now offered for sale has a small red and silver seal that certifies that the home has been inspected during construction and meets federal home construction and safety standards. These standards were developed to assure a suitable level of performance in every manufactured home constructed in the U.S. Such standards, together with the manufacturers’ warranties, serve to protect you — the home buyer.
Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Mobile Home Inspections
What is the purpose of the activity? – Mobile home functions fall under the Bureau of Motor Vehicle Field Operations, which monitors the quality of manufactured homes.
What services does the department provide? – The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles regulates mobile home inspections under the Bureau of Motor Vehicle Field Operations. The bureau monitors the quality of manufactured home units by ensuring manufacturers’ compliance with construction standards established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and provides additional consumer protection by training, testing and licensing individuals that set-up and install manufactured/mobile homes. The department is under contract with HUD to inspect manufactured/mobile homes as they are built in Florida manufacturing facilities to ensure compliance with HUD Code. The bureau also resolves consumer complaints and partners with law enforcement.
What is the difference between a mobile home and modular home? – Both mobile homes (also known as manufactured homes) and modular homes are built in a factory and transported to the site of installation, but differ significantly in the code/standard to which they are constructed.
- Mobile homes are built according to Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (HUD Code). They are usually installed on temporary foundations. They are not considered real property and are taxed similar to an automobile (unless installed on a permanent foundation).
- Modular homes are designed, built, permitted and inspected to the Florida Building Code, and must be installed on permanent foundations that are designed and built specifically for that home by a contractor licensed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. It is a violation of Florida law for a mobile home installer to install a modular home. Modular homes are considered real property and taxed and insured as a home. Through October 1, 2011, the Florida Department of Community Affairs is responsible for inspecting modular homes, which it fulfills by contracting with private entities for inspection. Thereafter, modular home inspections will fall under the purview of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
How well does the department perform? – During Fiscal Year 2009-10, the department did not meet the standard for the percent of new manufactured home warranty complaints to new mobile homes titled or the number of mobile homes inspected in plants. The latter standard was adjusted down for Fiscal Year 2011-2012 to align with decreased demand.
Current issues – Department Reorganization. Pursuant to Ch. 2011-66, Laws of Florida, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reorganized its structure, and as a result the former Bureau of Mobile Home Compliance and Enforcement is now an activity under the new Bureau of Motor Vehicle Field Operations. This bureau is now under the Division of Motorist Services, which was formerly the Division of Motor Vehicles.
Where can I get more information?
Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Division of Motor Vehicles Options for Legislative Consideration, Sunset Memorandum No. 07-S18, December 2007.
Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Overview, Sunset Memorandum No. S07-05, April 2007.
The Auditor General reports on department operations are available on its website.
Agency Sunset Review Update of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Florida Senate, Interim Report 2009-217, September 2008.
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles: Agency Sunset Review, Florida Senate, Interim Mandatory Review 2008-215, February 2008.
Fiscal Year 2011-12 Legislative Budget Request, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Fiscal Year 2009-10 Annual Report, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Agency Report to the Sunset Advisory Committee: Sunset Review,Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, January 2007.
Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Management and Organizational Structure Study: Final Report, KPMG, June 2009.
Motor Vehicle Administration Benchmarking Analysis, CEM Benchmarking, Inc., November 2008.
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Office of Inspector General reports are available by contacting Julie Leftheris, Inspector General, at (850) 617-3104.
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