Paul Bambei

Paul Bambei

The National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) says the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) decision to not require that porches be included in the 400-square-foot limit on park model RVs until new regulations are published on this topic is a boon for the industry.

“This is great news for consumers, for private park operators and for the park model RV industry,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC president and CEO, in a press release. “This is what ARVC had requested along with our industry partners.”

HUD Administrator Pamela Beck Danner issued a memo on Oct. 1 stating that factory-built porches would be included in HUD’s calculation of the square footage of park model RVs beginning April 1.

But ARVC co-signed a letter to HUD with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) in which the three associations sought to delay the enforcement of HUD’s new square footage guidelines until after new rules could be adopted that clearly define park model RVs as recreational vehicles. ARVC also rallied park operators across the country to contact their congressional representatives to request that enforcement of the new HUD guidelines be delayed pending the outcome of proposed legislation that would clearly define park model RVs as recreational vehicles in the HUD code.
HUD’s Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) clearly felt the heat during its Dec. 2 meeting on this topic.

“The issue was placed on the MHCC’s agenda as a direct result of the political pressure from the campground industry, which mobilized park owners across the United States to write to their Members of Congress to support HR 5658, ‘The Recreational Vehicle Certainty Act,’ and to ask for a grandfather provision for park models already in campgrounds,” Bambei said. “Our members embraced our call to action and played a major role in HUD’s latest memorandum.”

In total, nearly 800 park owners sent approximately 2,700 electronic letters to 335 members of Congress in the ARVC grassroots campaign for park owners. The MHCC also recommended at its Dec. 2 meeting that specific language be adopted to more clearly define those RVs that are exempt from HUD’s manufactured housing standards. That language referred to the NFPA and ANSI standards to which RVs are built as defining them as RVs, rather than a complicated set of criteria that includes specific square footage requirements and tow vehicle restrictions.

“While it remains to be seen how HUD will handle the new RV definition recommendation, park model manufacturers and especially RV campgrounds can rest assured that, for now, porches on the chassis will not be counted toward the 400-square-foot limit on park model RVs,” said Jeff Sims, director of state relations and program advocacy for ARVC. “The park model RVs that are in campgrounds today and the park model RVs they buy tomorrow can have porches that do not count toward the size limit. This also means no state or local regulators should have issues with park model RV porches, either.”

Matt Wald, RVIA’s executive director of park model RVs, said he was pleased with HUD’s response. “We are extremely grateful to Administrator Danner as well as the MHCC for taking the time to understand the RV and campground industry’s perspective on this issue and working with us toward a consensus outcome where RVs are clearly defined as recreational units and manufactured housing is clearly defined as housing in a way that everyone knows exactly where the line between them is,” he said, adding, “We look forward to finalizing that consensus process in the coming months.”