When Ohio’s state senators meet in the coming days to consider the future of the independent commission responsible for the safety of manufactured homes, we believe facts will overcome fiction. From the moment Gov. John Kasich and his administration proposed to eliminate the Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission, the air has been full of misleading information and derogatory comments directed at almost 1 million Ohioans who live in manufactured homes.

Thankfully, House lawmakers rejected the plan to gut the commission and move it to the state’s Commerce Department. Everyone involved in this segment of Ohio’s housing industry, from manufacturers and retailers to residents, urge senators to do the same. The attack on the commission is rooted in the myth that manufactured homes are less safe than homes built on site.

Manufactured homes are safe. They are well-built. They are owned by people who care for their properties. And they are helping people regardless of their income achieve the dream of home ownership. Today’s manufactured homes meet fire safety codes that are tougher than most, if not all, local fire standards. A 2013 study by the National Fire Protection Association found that manufactured homes have fewer fires and civilian fire injuries per 100,000 occupied housing units than other residential homes.

The fire safety code that governs construction of today’s manufactured homes is regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. All homes are inspected both in the factory and on site to ensure fire code and installation safety compliance. Among other safety requirements, the HUD code requires that homes be built with two exits that are not next to each other and do not require the use of other doorways for escape. It also mandates standards for designs and construction materials that limit flame spread and smoke generation, as well as requiring all bedroom windows to open in an emergency.

You don’t hear that when the administration tries to scare people into thinking that there is a problem. They also don’t speak the truth about concerns regarding the availability of fire hydrants in some manufactured home communities or the quality of the drinking water.

Finally, there are the insults leveled at the homes and the people who live in them. We can only hope the governor has been misled by staff members, and that he doesn’t mean it when he says the homes are “some of the most dangerous, most unhealthy places to live in Ohio.”

In place for the past 10 years, the Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission is an independent agency, with a team of trained professionals knowledgeable about the homes and the way they are built and installed.

As the Senate convenes to review this issue, we hope they will consider joining their House colleagues by rejecting the Kasich plan and vote to maintain the independent safety oversight provided by the commission for an important and growing number of homeowners in our state. 

Tim Williams

Executive director

Ohio Manufactured Homes Association