LIVINGSTON, Texas — Escapees Club has filed a comment with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development concerning a proposed new definition of a recreation vehicle found in the rule entitled “Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations; Revision of Exemption for Recreational Vehicle.”
“We firmly believe that HUD should not regulate the building or usage of recreation vehicles,” said Jim Koca, Escapees Club advocacy director. “In addition, the RV manufacturing industry believes that HUD should not be involved in the regulation of RVs.”
Escapees RV Club is a total support network for all RVers, people who live and travel in their recreation vehicles throughout the United States. These members include full-timers as well as weekend vacationers.
Here is the complete comment submitted by the Escapees Club:
In the text of the proposed rule, HUD issues an invitation for commentary on questions drafted by HUD. Below are our comments to selected HUD questions:
As described in the preamble to this proposed rule, HUD has not exercised regulatory oversight over fifth wheel recreation vehicles that might meet the statutory and regulatory definitions of “manufactured home.” This proposed rule proposes to except fifth wheel recreation vehicles from regulatory oversight.
Question 3 — Should HUD take a different approach and begin exercising regulatory oversight of these units that meet the statutory and regulatory definitions of a “manufactured home?” What are the costs and benefits of bringing these units within HUD oversight? Should HUD exercise and regulatory authority over fifth wheels or other forms of recreation vehicles?
No. HUD should not regulate fifth-wheels or any other type of recreation vehicle.
HUD’s stated mission is to ‘strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers.’ However, HUD’s proposed regulation to exempt RVs is too narrow and seriously risks limiting the RV owners by preventing RV owners from buying RVs or choosing how to use an RV consistent with state and local laws.
Simply, HUD’s best option is not to regulate RVs, especially the use of RVs. Instead, HUD’s proposed regulation could impede many RV owners from using their RVs, in the manner they choose, by injecting HUD into the regulation of the use of RVs.
RV owners, including senior citizens and younger mobile workers, should be empowered to participate in their chosen community without limitations on the duration of the use of the RV. RV owners currently may reside in their RVs full-time and seasonally.
This is a matter between the RV owner, local housing authorities, and other local and state officials (e.g. the state’s department of motor vehicles), who are in the best position to address the regulation of the use of RVs.
Lastly, HUD’s regulation of RVs, including fifth wheels, takes HUD away from the regulation of housing and into the regulation of vehicles, which is outside of HUD’s authority.
It is important to note, that while RV owners can use their RVs as a dwelling, RVs of all types are subject to state registration as vehicles, regardless of the amount of time the owner resides in the RV. This widespread, established state level regulation of RVs as vehicles, and not as housing, would necessarily change if HUD began regulating RVs.
Executive Order 13132, Federalism, prohibits an agency from publishing any rule that has federalism implications if the rule either imposes substantial direct compliance costs on state and local governments or is not required by statute, or the rule preempts state law, unless the agency meets the consultation and funding requirements of section 6 of the executive order.
HUD regulation of RVs would substantially impact the definitions of RVs as vehicles and cause many state and federal agencies to modify or terminate their regulation of RVs as vehicles. Therefore, HUD should not move to regulate RVs of any type.
Escapees RV Club suggests other changes to the proposed rule.
The proposed rule impacts the full-time and seasonal-use recreation vehicle (RV) community by proscribing, and limiting, the usage of RVs to “only” for recreational use, precluding the use of RVs for full-time or seasonal use as a residence.
This limitation from a federal agency could supersede, due to historic interpretations of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, state or local laws or rules, driver licenses, insurance, and banking.
Even if HUD’s proposed regulation does not preempt state or local laws, if it is finalized, there is a substantial risk that federal rules will be inconsistent with local or state rules, or will place a great burden on RV owners.
It is important to note that many states incorporate the language of HUD’s rules, verbatim, into the language of the state’s laws. The incorporation of HUD’s language into state (and local) laws could limit the usage of RVs.
While HUD may claim that, at this time, they are not attempting to regulate the usage of RVs, the unintended, but potentially substantial, damaging effect of HUD’s language is a crippling limitation on the use of RVs.\
We urge HUD to rewrite the proposed rule to clarify, in the text of the rule and its accompanying notes, that the HUD definition of an RV is for the purposes of exempting RVs from the manufacturing requirements imposed upon manufactured homes and, in effect, from any regulation by HUD.
Moreover, we request that HUD modify the language of the proposed rule to state the following:
Recreation vehicles are not subject to this part, part 3280. A recreation vehicle is a factory built vehicular structure designed only for any recreational use, including, but not limited to, use as a primary residence or for permanent occupancy, built and certified in accordance with NFPA 1192-15 or ANSI A119.5-09 consensus standards for recreational vehicles and not certified as a manufactured home.
Or in the alternative, the language should be modified as follows:
Recreation vehicles are not subject to this part, part 3280. A recreation vehicle is a factory built vehicular structure designed only for recreational use and not as a fixture upon the land for primary residence or for permanent occupancy, built and certified in accordance with NFPA 1192-15 or ANSI A119.5-09 consensus standards for recreational vehicles and not certified as a manufactured home.
Other potential language for the proposed rule could include references to the intended use, in a manner that does not, implicate the duration the user dwells within the RV.
For instance, the proposed rule could state:
Recreation vehicles are not subject to this part, part 3280. A recreation vehicle is a factory built vehicular structure designed to be registered with a state transportation agency as a vehicle, built and certified in accordance with NFPA 1192-15 or ANSI A119.5-09 consensus standards for recreational vehicles and not certified as a manufactured home.
Or in the alternative, the language could include:
Recreation vehicles are not subject to this part, part 3280. A recreation vehicle is a factory built vehicular structure designed not to become a fixture upon the land subject to state and/or local property taxes, built and certified in accordance with NFPA 1192-15 or ANSI A119.5-09 consensus standards for recreational vehicles and not certified as a manufactured home.
Escapees RV Club would like to thank you for the opportunity to provide comment on the proposed rule. If other information is needed or required, please feel free to contact us.
SOURCE: Escapees Club bulletin