Mobile home rules urged
Commission offers tougher regulations

02/24/2000
BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE
News staff writer

MONTGOMERY The panel overseeing Alabama's mobile-home industry would immediately tighten installation standards, ban older trailers and inspect every new home under tougher regulations proposed Wednesday.

The Alabama Manufactured Hous ing Commission advisory board voted unanimously to urge Gov. Don Siegelman to endorse the changes, which also include requiring mobile home builders, dealers and installers to obtain bonds and liability insurance. Commission administrator Jimmy Sloan proposed the changes.

The new regulations could be implemented within months and do not require legislation. But the agency is requesting Siegelman's input before taking action.

"Our intent is to help people who are dealing with the industry feel protected," board Chairman Tom Gardner said.

Siegelman's office received the commission's four-page letter Wednesday afternoon and did not have a chance to review the recommendations, said spokeswoman Carrie Kurlander. Siegelman has said he would propose changes this year to improve oversight of the $3.1 billion industry.

The commission is hiring six new inspectors to check mobile-home installations, Sloan said. The agency previously had 11 inspectors to cover the state and Sloan hopes to double that, so the agency can inspect every home installed.

The proposals came in response to problems consumers outlined in town hall meetings across the state last month and a series of articles last year in The Birmingham News.

The News articles detailed how the state had surrendered oversight to the industry it was supposed to regulate. Consumer complaints were closed without homeowners' knowledge and more than half the state's

Group wants tougher rules

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