Given the lingering economic malaise in the real estate market, living in a lower cost manufactured home may be a good alternative to trying to purchase a traditional home. Such homes may also be a good option for temporary housing for those who are displaced by natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes. If you decide to go this route, make sure you focus on safety for you and your family.
In the 1970s, Congress took note that one of the the biggest dangers to residents of manufactured homes is the propensity of the homes to tip over or roll in high winds if not properly secured. Given the high number of deaths and injuries attributed to unsecured manufactured homes, Congress enacted the Manufactured Housing and Construction Safety Standards Act of 1974 ("the Act") which imposed the same standards on manufactured homes as those that apply to conventional wood and brick homes. The type of stabilizing system was not specified, such as tie down systems, welded security points or concrete bedding, just that whatever system is used be able to withstand wind speeds of 115 miles per hour or, roughly, the same forces as that of an F1 tornado.
Audits conducted since the Act was enacted reveal that the biggest problem with it is lack of enforcement. As such, consumers are still at risk and manufactured housing residents must take steps to protect themselves. To protect yourself, your family or your tenants, review sales documents to make sure that a tie-down disclosure statement is included. Get underneath your home and inspect the tie-down system after familiarizing yourself with how it should be installed. Finally, if you have the resources hire a structural engineer to inspect the system to make sure everything is as it should be.
Statistics show that you can’t rely on the manufacturer, the seller, the installer or even your landlord if you have one. Take steps to satisfy yourself that your home is safe.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.