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New rules govern used homes

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By Lorrie Kinkade

By LORRIE KINKADE

The Trimble Banner

New rules regarding the installation of manufactured and mobile homes may affect local residents.

Electrical Inspector Jack McKinney has been inspecting mobile homes in Trimble County for 15 years. On average, he is called to inspect the outside electrical connections for approximately 20 pre-owned homes per year. In the past, his seal has been all that was needed for utility companies to flip the switch supplying current to the residences.

However, since a new law went into effect Jan. 1, McKinney is prohibited from doing his job if the home was recently placed by anyone other than a certified installer.

The new law, part of HUD’s Manufactured Home Improvement Act applies to pre-owned mobile and manufactured homes, as well as recreational vehicles, in all 50 states. Essentially, the law requires owners have their homes set by state certified installers, which HUD claims reduces the likelihood that problems may occur later.

Dan Chapman, chief inspector with the Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction said owners of homes that have previously been set in a different location may have anyone they chose transport the home to a new location, however a certified installer must be the one to complete the set-up.

“There are more than 380 certified installers in Kentucky,” Chapman said last week. “The installer is responsible for the site prep, making sure the soil is acceptable, adhering to restrictions on pier height and making sure the interior data plate information is correct. This is also the person who makes sure everything is tied down properly and tests the electric and water,” he said.

Chapman said anyone who attempts to have electric connected to a home that lacks a current certified installer’s seal, as well as an electrical inspection tag, will be denied service until the home can be inspected.

“If a home was placed by a non-certified installer prior to the new law taking effect, but the owner failed to have the electrical service inspected or connected, they will still be required to have a certified installer or someone from this office come out,” he said. “That inspector will verify the home meets HUD requirements before an electrical inspection is done.”

Chapman said inspections scheduled through his office would likely be completed within 3-5 business days.

McKinney said he agrees with the reasoning behind the new law, but is concerned that not enough has been done to let the public know about the changes.

“I want people to know what needs to be done before they call me,” he said. “It’s a good idea to have a certified person install the home, but I think there will be problems if people don’t know about the changes.”

To contact the Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction, call (502) 573-0364 or obtain a list of qualified inspectors at www.dhbc.ky.gov.