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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.502

Introduced by Representatives Trombley of Grand Isle, Head of S. Burlington, Brooks of Montpelier and Moran of Wardsboro

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Housing; manufactured housing; installation standards

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to assure that manufactured housing, often affordable housing, is securely and competently installed by creating uniform installation standards by a board that will also handle licensing, complaint investigation, enforcement, and inspection services.

AN ACT RELATING TO INSTALLATION STANDARDS FOR MANUFACTURED HOUSING

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  20 V.S.A. chapter 169 is added to read:

Chapter 169.  Standards for Installation of Manufactured Housing

§ 2451.  DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of this chapter:

(1)  “Anchoring system” means a method of construction that when properly designed and installed will resist overturning and lateral movement of the manufactured housing.

(2)  “Board” means the installation standards board.

(3)  “Commissioner” means the commissioner of public safety.

(4)  “Dealer” or “retailer” means any person engaged in the retail sale or offer of sale, brokering, or distribution of manufactured housing, primarily to a person for use as a residence.

(5)  “Department” means the department of public safety.

(6)  “Federal manufactured housing construction and safety standard” means a standard for the construction, design, and performance of a manufactured house that meets the public need for quality, durability, and safety that has been adopted by the federal government pursuant to the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Acts of 1974, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5401 et seq.

(7)  “Installation” means the placement of a manufactured house on a permanent or temporary system, including site preparation and systems for supporting, restraining, blocking, leveling, securing, anchoring, connecting plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical systems and the multiple or expandable section of the house, and site preparation.

(8)  “Installation standards” means reasonable specifications for the permanent installation of a manufactured house to ensure proper siting, joining of all sections of the house, and the installation of stabilization, support, or anchoring systems.

(9)  “Installer” means any person who performs the installation of a manufactured house.

(10)  “Local enforcement agency” means the building inspector or other local government official with authority to issue permits or enforce building codes.

(11)  “Manufactured housing” or “manufactured house” means any structure that is all the following:

(A)  Transportable in one or more sections and, when in transit, is eight feet or more in width and 40 feet or more in length, or, when installed on a site, is 320 square feet or more in area.

(B)  Built on a permanent chassis.

(C)  Designed to be used as a dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when connected to required utilities, including plumbing, heating, and electrical systems.

(D)  Not a camper or recreation vehicle, presite‑built house, or a modular building.

(12)  “Manufacturer” means any person engaged in the manufacture or assembly of manufactured housing.

(13)  “New manufactured housing” means a manufactured house that has not been installed on a site.

(14)  “Site” means a designated lot or parcel of land designed for the installation of a manufactured house.

§ 2452.  MANUFACTURED HOUSING INSTALLATION STANDARDS
  BOARD; CREATION

(a)  There is created an installation standards board, consisting of 13 members, composed of:

(1)  The commissioner of public safety, or designee.

(2)  The commissioner of housing and community affairs, or designee.

(3)  One structural or civil engineer or architect licensed in this state for a minimum of five years and nominated by the board of professional engineers.

(4)  Ten members to be appointed by the governor:

(A)  Two public members who are not tenants or owners of manufactured housing, a manufactured housing park, or directly associated with the manufactured housing industry, except as a banker, appraiser, attorney, or other similar professional.

(B)  One installer of manufactured housing.

(C)  One dealer or retailer of manufactured housing.

(D)  One owner or operator of a manufactured housing park with 100 or fewer lots.

(E)  One owner or operator of a for-profit manufactured housing park with more than 100 lots.

(F)  One member of a cooperative manufactured housing park.

(G)  One municipal building code official.

(H)  One municipal fire chief.

(I)  One owner of a manufactured house not located in a manufactured home park.

(b)  Each member shall serve for a three‑year term and until a successor is appointed and qualified.  Initial appointments shall be staggered.

(c)  The board shall meet at least once every 90 days.  At the first meeting which shall be held no later than 90 days after the passage of this chapter, the commissioner shall appoint a chair from among the members.

(d)  The board shall:

(1)  Assure compliance with the Federal Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standard, as amended.

(2)  License and provide training for installers.                       

(3)  Ensure compliance with installation standards by conducting inspection of installed manufactured housing.

(4)  Provide a fair and effective recourse for consumers, including a dispute resolution procedure for issues between manufacturers, consumers, retailers, and installers.

(5)  Implement a consumer complaint resolution procedure.

(6)  Adopt rules regarding all the following:

(A)  Uniform manufactured housing installation standards.

(B)  The design and content of all forms and applications required under this chapter.

(C)  Licensing, license renewal, qualifications for licensure, and licensing fees.

(D)  Complaint, dispute resolution, disciplinary, and penalties procedures.

(E)  Bonding and letter of credit requirements.

(F)  Any other area required to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

§ 2453.  MANUFACTURER’S WARRANTY SEAL; INSTALLATION
  STANDARDS

(a)  No manufactured housing used or intended to be used as a residential dwelling may be installed in this state unless the board has issued a manufacturer’s warranty seal and the seal is attached to the mobile home.

(b)  Installation standards shall not apply to:

(1)  Manufactured housing installed prior to July 1, 2007.

(2)  Manufactured housing installed to provide temporary shelter as the result of a disaster, unless the housing continues in use after one year from the date of installation.

(c)  Manufactured housing may be installed only pursuant to one of the following standards:

(1)  Vermont installations standards adopted by the board.

(2)  A design prepared by a registered professional engineer or licensed architect for the site.

(3)  The manufacturer’s installation instructions provided that the instructions meet or exceed the Vermont installation standards.

§ 2454.  INSPECTORS

Inspections of manufactured housing installation may be performed only by a local enforcement agency or the state fire marshal, or designee.  An inspector shall:

(1)  Conduct appropriate inspections, prior to occupancy, of any premises on which an installation is being or has been completed to ensure that all installations of manufactured housing are in compliance and consistent with this chapter.

(2)  Order correction of any violation of this chapter or discontinuance of installation until the violation is corrected, and approve violation corrections and continuation of installation work.  The board shall be notified immediately of any orders issued under this subdivision.

(3)  Issue certificates of compliance upon approval that the manufactured housing has been installed in compliance with the provisions of this chapter.  No manufactured home may be occupied without a certificate of compliance.

§ 2455.  COMPLAINTS

(a)  A consumer, park owner, manufacturer, retailer, or installer aggrieved by an action of the board or an inspector or having a dispute regarding the installation of a manufactured house may file with the board a written complaint in a form provided by the board.

(b)  The board shall take action on any complaint within 60 days of receipt.  The board may conduct further investigation or schedule a hearing, or both. 

§ 2456.  LICENSING; QUALIFICATIONS

(a)  No person shall install any manufactured housing unless the person holds a valid license issued by the board or a valid license as an architect or engineer. 

(b)  Applications for biennial licensure shall be made on forms provided by the board and shall be accompanied by proof of the surety bond required by this chapter and the payment of the initial licensing fee or license renewal fee in the amount of $150.00.

(c)  The board shall issue a license to any individual 18 years or older who has filed an application and has complied with all the following:

(1)  At least two years’ experience as a manufactured housing installer or proof to the board’s satisfaction of equivalent installation experience.

(2)   Successfully completed six hours of training on manufactured housing installation standards.

(3)  Satisfactorily demonstrated compliance with any other requirements of the board.

(d)  The board shall issue a renewal license upon application and payment of the renewal fee, provided the applicant:

(1)  Is not in violation of any provisions of this chapter.

(2)  Provided evidence that a surety bond is in force as required by this chapter.  

(3)  Has completed all continuing education requirements established by rule of the board.

§ 2457.  DISCIPLINARY ACTION; ENFORCEMENT

On its own or based on a sworn written complaint, the board shall conduct a hearing and take disciplinary action against any person licensed under this chapter who is found to have violated any of the following:

(1)  Practiced fraud or deceit in procuring or attempting to procure a license under this chapter.

(2)  Willfully or repeatedly violated provisions of this chapter.

(3)  Installed manufactured housing under a suspended or revoked license.

(4)  Any other violation of this chapter.

(b)  The board may take disciplinary action by:

(1)  Reprimand.

(2)  Revocation, suspension, limitation, or restriction of a license.

(3)  Requiring participation in a program of continuing education.

(4)  Imposing an administrative fine for not more than $1,500.00 for each violation.

(c)  Any person installing manufactured housing without a license shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(d)  Nothing in this chapter shall limit an aggrieved party from seeking redress pursuant to 9 V.S.A. § 2453 for any unfair or deceptive trade practices committed relative to the installation of manufactured housing.

Sec. 2.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on passage.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us