March 23, 2009

ISSUE:    This is a housing product that is typically built or manufactured off-site and is placed or installed on leased or individually owned property.

   This housing product has increased in use, variety and design over the last number of years and is becoming an increasingly popular housing option for many residents. These homes can be placed in specific communities, where they are typically found, but have been seen in high-end resort communities and are being used as single family residences placed on private land. While manufactured housing buyers are typically second homes and retirees, there is an increasing number of young families using it as their primary residence. Manufactured housing, because of its changing look and the advancing technology surrounding construction of these homes, is fast becoming a popular option for consumers.

    DAR strongly supports housing choice and allowing opportunity for buyers to purchase the housing that reflects their interests, needs and desires. Manufactured housing is a viable option for the state of Delaware and should be allowed to compete in the marketplace. While DAR has not taken an official position on local zoning ordinances that restrict the placement of these homes, DAR does believe that equity should be achieved between all housing products. Additionally, DAR does believe that when these homes are placed in private rental communities, the law of contracts and private property rights should prevail in maintaining this as a competitive housing option in Delaware. Finally, as is discussed more fully in our policy on rent control, DAR does believe that community owners shall have the discretion to establish their rent schedule.

STATUS:    The 2008 session saw the passage of a landmark bill that establishes a mechanism for tenants to be notified of a pending sale of the community in which they live and establishes procedures, disclosures and timing of how this process will occur between the community owner and the tenants. This legislation represents months of detailed and difficult negotiations between the Delaware Manufactured Homeowner Association and the community owners that many believe will be a model for other states to follow.