RVIA Analyzes New HUD Rule

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The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently released a final rule which updates the definition of RV to definitively exempt RV from HUD’s regulation. This new rule includes two provisions that have prompted the RV Industry Association to raise concerns: Requiring PMRV manufacturers to display a “Manufacturer’s Notice” and tying the rule specifically to the 2015 versions of the NFPA and ANSI standards.

RVIA has listed three things members should know about this new rule:

  1. 1. HUD Does not regulate RVs, including PMRVs and fifth wheels – The new exemption states, “An RV that meets the requirements of this section is exempt from [Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards]” and HUD states multiple times in its response to commenters that its intent is to unequivocally clarify that RVs are beyond the scope of its regulatory mission. RVs are defined as: Vehicles or vehicular structures not certified as manufactured homes; designed only for recreational use and not as a primary residence or for permanent occupancy; and either: built and certified in accordance with NFPA 1192-15 or ANSI A119.5-15; or self-propelled vehicles.
  2. 2. PMRV manufacturers will still need to display a separate “Manufacturer’s Notice” – The new rule will require park model RV manufacturers to display a Manufacturer’s Notice in each PMRV kitchen and provide this notice to the final purchaser at the completion of the sale. HUD asserts that its requirement is distinguishable from the association’s because (1) HUD’s requirement for a Manufacturer’s Notice applies to all RVs built and certified to ANSI A119.5-15 standards, not just RVs with the RVIA seal; and (2) HUD requires its notice be placed more conspicuously than the RVIA seal and serves to inform consumers about the standard to which the unit was built, which the Agency believes differs from the purpose of an RVIA seal. The HUD Manufacturer’s Notice must be displayed in “a temporary manner in the kitchen” and delivered to the consumer prior to completion of any sale. The title, MANUFACTURER’S NOTICE, must be clearly legible and at least 1 inch in size. The content must be typed using letters at least a half inch in size, and must state: “The Manufacturer of this unit certifies that it is a Park Model Recreational Vehicle designed only for recreational use, and not for use as a primary residence or for permanent occupancy. The manufacturer of this unit further certifies that this unit has been built in accordance with the ANSI 119.5-15 consensus standard for Park Model Vehicles.”
  3. 3. The rule will specifically reference the 2015 ANSI and NFPA Standards –Finally, RVIA encouraged HUD not to tie the NFPA and ANSI standards to any particular year, and merely incorporate broader references to the standards. This would allow the regulations to account for future updates of the standards without requiring a change in language. The final rule, however, still references the 2015 editions of the standards. The Agency addressed RVIA’s suggestion, stating that it must reference specific editions due to the Federal Register’s rules for incorporation by reference to non-governmental publications.

Overall, the rule is a win for the RV industry. In the new rule, HUD creates a clear distinction between manufactured housing, which it regulates, and RVs, which it does not. This provides regulatory certainty and will ensure that HUD does not exceed the scope of its mission and begin regulating RVs in the future. The rule takes effect on Jan. 15.

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