Sunday, June 23, 2019

Colorado Judge Upholds HOA Covenants Against Modular Housing

One of the hottest markets for modular construction in the United States is Colorado. On of the states with the most new modular construction factories being built is Colorado. And you guessed it, Colorado is also a state that won’t let modular homes into some communities.

Notice the full foundation

An article in Canon City Daily Record explains how The Gold Canon Subdivision Property Owner Association filed a complaint May 20 against Colorado Springs-based Westover Homes (Westover Homes is part of Challenger Homes) alleging Westover Homes had delivered portions of two residential housing structures, violating established and recorded covenants.

The covenant reads in part, “All construction shall be new. No building previously used or constructed at another location nor any building or structure originally constructed as a mobile dwelling or structure may be moved onto a lot or building site …”

A cease and desist notice was delivered to the defendant, notifying him of the “breach of covenants and anticipated harm to the plaintiffs,” but according to the complaint, the defendant “continued its breach by having a crane lift and move the housing units onto a pre-poured foundation.”

Let’s jump back a couple of weeks when HUD Secretary Ben Carson began his campaign to bring affordable housing into all neighborhoods. HUD homes would ease the need for housing if they were allowed into subdivisions like Gold Canon in Colorado. But that’s not what is happening here.

This is an IRC modular home being built in a community with a tight set of rules against manufactured homes implying an IRC modular home is the same as a HUD code home. Using those same community covenants, a panelized new home builder might have the same problem.

Ben Carson has spoken about this type of discrimination lately and I believe he may soon use the Fair Housing Act’s Anti-Discrimination sections to include types of houses which would discriminate against homeowners that can’t find lots to build an affordable home in certain regions.

I don’t expect this lawsuit to make national headlines but if there are enough other discrimination cases filed against a type of homes (modular, manufactured) with certain groups of people excluded from communities with similar restrictive covenants I think Ben Carson’s Agency will begin to take notice and see if the Fair Housing Act has the teeth needed to begin letting not only modular housing into closed communities but also HUD manufactured homes.

I’m not Chicken Little selling umbrellas but if might not be a bad idea to check which way the wind is blowing in DC these days.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Canon City Daily Record article


Anonymous said...

Maybe we stop calling them "IRC Modular". How about call them what they are, either "modular" or "industrialized" homes, constructed to the International Residential Code and placed on a permanent foundation, therefore not mobile, identical to a site-built home.

Maybe then. local officials or the courts won't look at them as a lesser structure.....

Bill Hart said...

The rest of the country seems to warm to the it seems ironic..that word or phrase..what goes around come around..anyway..those of us who remember post WW2 prefabs being a dirty word arnt in the bulk of the new homebuying demographic much any more anyway!!!..we first read the obits, not the ads for new homes. AND just drop the word MOD, MODULAR and use PREFAB, the media LOVES it!

Tom Hardiman said...

Gary. MHBA filed an amicus brief in a similar case in Michigan that went to the State Supreme Court. The case was heard several months ago but we are still awaiting the outcome.