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Bill Number: 2374 Ratification Number: 129 Act Number 86 Introducing Body: House Subject: Uniform Standards Code for mobile homes
(A86, R129, H2374)
AN ACT TO AMEND ARTICLE 1 OF CHAPTER 17 OF TITLE 31, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE UNIFORM STANDARDS CODE FOR MOBILE HOMES, SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR A UNIFORM STANDARDS CODE FOR MANUFACTURED HOUSING, FURTHER DEFINE MOBILE HOME, CONFORM THE PROVISIONS TO FEDERAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS, PROVIDE FOR A MONITORING INSPECTION FEE AND AN ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING OFFICER AND PENALTIES.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
The Uniform Standards Code of Manufactured Housing Act
SECTION 1. Article 1 of Chapter 17 of Title 31 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
UNIFORM STANDARD FOR MANUFACTURED HOUSING
Section 31-17-10. Short title.
This article may be cited as 'The Uniform Standards Code for Manufactured Housing Act'.
Section 31-17-20. Definitions.
Unless clearly indicated otherwise, as used in this article:
(a) 'Manufactured home' or 'mobile home' means a structure, transportable in one or more sections, which, in the traveling mode, is eight body feet or more in width, or forty body feet or more in length, or when erected on site, is three hundred twenty or more square feet, and which is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities, and includes the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems contained therein; except that such term shall include any structure which meets all the requirements of this paragraph except the size requirements and with respect to which the manufacturer voluntarily files a certification required by the Secretary and complies with the standards established under this title.
(b) 'Manufactured home construction' means all activities relating to the assembly and manufacture of a manufactured home including, but not limited to, those component parts designed for durability, quality and safety.
(c) 'Person' means every person, firm, partnership or corporation.
(d) 'Manufacturer' means any person, resident or nonresident, who designs, constructs or produces manufactured homes.
(e) 'Manufacturer's representative' means any person who is an employee or otherwise acts as an agent or representative of a manufacturer for the purpose of promoting, offering for sale or selling the manufacturer's goods or services.
(f) 'Established place of business' means the office, building or display area where the exercise of the ordinary and regular functions of the business are conducted for the purpose of carrying on the business of the owner and where books, records, files, inventory and equipment necessary to properly conduct such business are maintained.
(g) 'Retail dealer' means any person who sells or offers for sale five or more manufactured homes or mobile homes to consumers in any one calendar year for the purpose of licensing.
(h) 'Retail salesman' means any person who is an employee or otherwise acts as an agent or representative of a retail dealer and holds himself out as promoting, offering for sale or selling the retail dealer's goods or services.
(i) 'Board' means the South Carolina Manufactured Housing Board.
(j) 'Secretary' means the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
(k) 'State Administrative Agency (SAA)' means the agency of the State which has been approved to carry out the state plans and to enforce the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act within South Carolina.
(l) 'Joint monitoring team' means a monitoring inspection team composed of personnel provided by various state administrative agencies for the purpose of monitoring or otherwise aiding in the enforcement of the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.
(m) 'Dealer' means any person engaged in the sale, leasing or distribution of new manufactured homes primarily to persons who in good faith purchase or lease a manufactured home for purposes other than resale.
(n) 'Written warranty' means (1) any written affirmation of fact or written promise made in connection with the sale of a consumer product by a supplier to a buyer which relates to the nature of the material or workmanship and affirms or promises that such material or workmanship is defect free or will meet a specified level of performance over a specified period of time; or (2) any undertaking in writing in connection with the sale by a supplier of a consumer product to refund, repair, replace, or take other remedial action with respect to such product in the event that such product fails to meet the specifications set forth in the undertaking, which written affirmation, promise or undertaking becomes part of the basis of the bargain between a supplier and a buyer for purposes other than resale of such product.
(o) 'Modular home' means a manufactured single family dwelling or an integral part over thirty-five feet in length, or over eight feet in width, so constructed that it may be transported from one site to another, temporarily or permanently affixed to real estate, made up of one or more components, and constructed with the same or similar electrical, plumbing, heating and sanitary facilities as on-site constructed housing.
Section 31-17-30. Declaration of policy and purpose; authority of Board to promulgate regulations.
(a) Manufactured homes, and their integral parts, because of the manner of their construction, assembly and use and that of their systems, components and appliances, including, but not limited to heating, plumbing and electrical systems, like other finished products having concealed vital parts, may present hazards to the life and safety of persons and to the safety of property unless properly manufactured. In the sale of manufactured homes, there is also the possibility of defects not readily ascertainable when inspected by purchasers. It is the policy and purpose of this State to provide protection to the public against those possible hazards and for that purpose to forbid the manufacture and sale of new manufactured homes which are not so constructed as to provide safety and protection to their owners and users.
(b) The Board may promulgate regulations embodying the fundamental principles adopted, recommended or issued as National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act by the federal government for manufactured homes built after June 15, 1976, and such other regulations for the proper enforcement and implementation of this article. The regulations promulgated by the S. C. Manufactured Housing Board shall first be approved by the Budget and Control Board prior to being submitted to the General Assembly.
Section 31-17-40. Sale, offer for sale of manufactured homes not in compliance with article prohibited; label or seal of compliance; products manufactured in foreign states or in this State.
No person may sell or offer for sale any manufactured home manufactured after June 15, 1976, unless its components, systems and appliances meet the criteria of compliance with the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act and have been properly certified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Section 31-17-50. Manufactured Homes bearing such label or seal of compliance acceptable throughout the State.
All manufactured homes or mobile home units bearing such label or seal shall be acceptable as meeting the requirements of this article throughout the State without further inspection fees except for final setup installation inspection fees not exceeding ten dollars and zoning and utility connection inspection fees. No setup installation regulations or standards can be enforced unless it meets the requirements of the National Manufactured Construction and Safety Standard Act of 1974. A copy of any setup regulation or standard other than the Federal Regulations and Standards shall be registered with the State Administrative Agency.
Section 31-17-60. Monitoring inspection fees.
The Board, as administrator, shall establish a monitoring inspection fee in an amount established by the Secretary. The fee shall be paid by the manufacturer to the Secretary or his agent who shall distribute the fees collected from all manufactured home manufacturers among the approved and conditionally approved states by the Secretary and based on the number of manufactured homes whose first location after leaving the manufactured plant is on the premises of a distributor, dealer or purchaser in that state and extent of participation of the State in the joint monitoring team program established under the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.
Section 31-17-70. Required electrical permit.
In municipalities and counties where building, construction or tax permits are issued no supplier of electricity in this State shall connect electrical power to any mobile home or manufactured homes after April 1, 1972, unless the owner of the mobile home or manufactured home presents to the supplier of electricity a permit which may be part of a building, construction or tax permit from an authorized officer of a municipality or county where the manufactured home is located that the manufactured home meets the requirements of this article. A sworn affidavit or other proof from the owner of the manufactured home that it bears the label or seal or compliance number of an approved independent third-party testing and inspecting agent or of a foreign state granted reciprocity or a HUD manufactured home label is sufficient evidence of compliance for the municipal or county official to issue the electrical permit.
The governing bodies of municipalities and counties of this State shall designate an officer to issue the permit.
This section shall not apply to any manufactured home or mobile home if it has been connected to electricity prior to April 1, 1972. An affidavit of the owner of the manufactured home that it has been connected prior to this date is satisfactory evidence for the officer of the municipality or county to issue the certificate.
Section 31-17-80. Violations of statutory provisions and regulations.
It shall be unlawful for any person on or after April 1, 1972, to violate any provision of Section 31-17-70 or the regulations made pursuant hereto. Any person violating any provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars for each offense.
Section 31-17-90. South Carolina Manufactured Housing Board; creation; composition; chairman; meetings; compensation; executive secretary; vacancies.
There is hereby created the South Carolina Manufactured Housing Board. The Board shall be composed of seven members as follows: a manufactured home or mobile home retail dealer owner, a representative of the fire and casualty insurance business, a full-time employee of a fire department, a manufactured home manufacturer, a representative of the banking and finance business, a member from the general public, and a manufactured home or mobile home retail dealer salesman. The members of the Board shall be residents of the State who shall be appointed by the Governor for terms of four years and until their successors are appointed and qualify, except that of those first appointed the manufactured home retail dealer owner, the representative of the fire and casualty insurance business and the full-time employee of the fire department shall serve for two years. The State Fire Marshal shall serve on the Board as a consultant and as an ex officio member. The Board shall meet annually and elect a chairman who shall serve for a term of one year. The Board shall meet at least annually but not more than once a month. All meetings shall be held at the call of the chairman. The members of the Board shall be paid the usual per diem, mileage and subsistence as provided by law for members of boards, commissions and committees for days on which they are transacting official business of the Board to be paid from monies appropriated from the General Fund of the State for such purposes. The Division of General Services of the Budget and Control Board shall supervise the enforcement of the laws and regulations of the South Carolina Manufactured Housing Board and shall employ and supervise personnel necessary to carry out the duties thereof.
In case of any vacancy, the appointment to fill the vacancy shall be in the same manner as provided for the original appointment from the area in which the vacancy exists to serve a full term. No member of the Board shall participate in any proceeding before the Board involving his licensed business.
Section 31-17-100. Board license required; fees; form of license; display of license; denial; suspension or revocation.
(1) No person shall engage in the business of selling, wholesale or retail as a dealership, retail salesman, manufacturer or manufacturer's representative, in this State without being licensed by the Board. The license shall authorize the holder to engage in the business permitted, by the license. All license applications shall be accompanied by the required fee and surety bond.
(2) All licenses shall be granted or refused within thirty days after proper and complete application. All licenses shall expire June thirtieth of each year, unless sooner revoked or suspended. Applications shall be deemed valid for a period of thirty days.
(3) The annual license fee shall be as follows:
(a) For retail dealership manufactured or mobile homes, twenty-five dollars for each established place of business.
(b) For manufacturer's representative manufactured or mobile homes, twenty dollars.
(c) For retail salesmen, ten dollars.
(d) For manufacturers, each established place of business twenty-five dollars.
(4) Licenses shall not be required for a licensed real estate salesman or broker who negotiates for sale or sells a manufactured or mobile home for any individual who is the owner of not more than two manufactured or mobile homes.
(5) Fees charged shall be minimum fees and persons from without the State shall be charged the actual fees as designated by the Board. The fees shall be paid in the manner prescribed by the Board.
(6) Each license shall be issued in only one person's name who may be the individual owner, stockholder, co-partner, salesman or other representative of a manufacturer, retailer or other entity required to be licensed. It shall be the duty of each dealer to conspicuously display the licenses in his established place of business. Manufacturers or manufacturers' representatives shall be required to carry their licenses on their person at all times when they are doing business in this State and shall be shown upon request.
(7) The Board shall prescribe the form of license and each license shall have printed thereon the seal of its office. All individual licenses shall be sent to the resident address of the licensee. All established place of business licenses shall be sent to the address of that place of business.
(8) Pursuant to regulations as may be promulgated by it, the Board may deny the issuance of a license or revoke or suspend any license.
(9) The Board may order any person subject to the provisions of this article to comply with adopted state or federal standards in the manufacture, sale or delivery of manufactured homes or mobile homes.
Section 31-17-110. Licensees required to furnish bond.
All licensees for a manufactured housing license shall, at the time of making application, furnish a corporate surety bond in the sum of ten thousand dollars. The bond shall provide against any misappropriation of funds belonging to the purchaser, any alteration on the part of the salesman to deceive the purchaser as to the manufacture or construction of the product or any false and fraudulent representations or deceitful practices in selling or representing a product and any failure to fulfill warranty obligations. Applicants for a manufacturer's license shall at the time of making application for a license or renewal furnish a corporate surety bond in the sum of seventy-five thousand dollars for the first year he is licensed, fifty thousand dollars for the second year he is licensed and twenty-five thousand dollars for the third and each subsequent year he is licensed.
Section 31-17-120. Penalties for selling without a license; hearing; appeal.
(a) Any retail dealer, retail salesman, manufacturer or manufacturer's representative selling without having first obtained a license shall be subject to an administrative penalty. Such person shall be issued a citation directing him to appear before an agent of the Board appointed to act as the administrative hearing examiner. The examiner may impose an administrative penalty not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars for each violation. The person to whom a citation has been issued may forfeit appearance by payment of the imposed administrative penalty. If, upon appearance, the examiner shall determine that the administrative penalty should be imposed the person cited may appeal the decision to the Board at its next regular meeting. The appeal shall be in writing. Appeals from the Board shall be to the court of common pleas, de novo.
(b) Any person who violates the provisions of this article may have his license suspended by the Board for not more than one year. The Board shall hear all cases where a violation has been committed. The Board shall give the licensee at least thirty days' notice of the time and place of the hearing and of the charges against him. Any person aggrieved by any ruling of the Board denying a license or suspending or revoking a license may appeal to the Board within fifteen days after the ruling. The appeal shall be in writing. The full Board shall state in writing its findings and determination after the hearing and its decision in the matter. If the Board determines and orders that an applicant is not qualified to receive a license, no license shall be granted. If the Board determines and orders that a licensee has wilfully or through gross negligence been guilty of a violation of this article, his license may be suspended, revoked or a license may be issued for a probationary period.
Section 31-17-130. Declaration of authority of Board.
The Board may carry out the responsibilities as the state administrative agency for South Carolina of the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974; provided, that the manufactured home or mobile home dealer, the manufactured home representative, and the manufactured home or mobile home retail salesman do not enforce the federal act to ensure no conflict of interest.
Section 31-17-140. State administrative oversight responsibilities. The Board shall oversee the handling of manufactured home consumer complaints that may be due to electrical, mechanical or structural defects or non-conformances to the HUD National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, standards and regulations. As part of this responsibility, the manufactured home manufacturers will be inspected and monitored for compliance with federal manufactured home standards and regulations. In the conduct of its responsibilities under this section, the Board shall recognize the need for life safety requirements as a part of its general oversight function and shall receive advice in the life safety area from the State Fire Commission and State Fire Marshal to insure that fire prevention is a part of the overall program under the terms of this article.
Section 31-17-150. Inspection. The Board, by its authorized representatives, may enter, at reasonable times, any factory, warehouse or establishment, in which manufactured homes are manufactured, stored or held for sale for the purpose of ascertaining whether the requirements of the Federal Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 and the regulations of the Board have been and are being met.
Section 31-17-160. Reports. Each manufacturer, distributor and dealer of manufactured homes or mobile homes shall establish and maintain such records, make such reports and provide such information as the SAA administrator or the Secretary may require to determine whether such manufacturer, distributor or dealer has acted or is acting in compliance with this article or the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 and shall upon request of a person appointed by the administrator or the Secretary permit such person to inspect appropriate books, papers, records and documents relevant to determining whether such manufacturer, distributor or dealer has acted or is acting in compliance with this article.
Section 31-17-170. Penalties for violation of National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, standards; regulations; hearings.
(A) Civil Penalties.
1. Any person who violates any of the following provisions relating to manufactured homes or regulations promulgated by the Board shall be liable for a civil penalty of not to exceed one thousand dollars for each violation. Each such violation shall constitute a separate violation with respect to each manufactured home, except that the maximum penalty shall not exceed one million dollars for any related series of violations occurring within one year from the date of the first violation. No person shall:
a. Manufacture for sale, lease, sell, offer for sale or lease, or introduce or deliver, or import into the State any manufactured home which is manufactured on or after the effective date of any applicable Federal Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 which does not comply with such standard.
b. Fail or refuse to permit access to or copying of records, or fail to make reports or provide information; or fail or refuse to permit entry or inspection as required by Sections 31-17-150 and 31-17-160 of this article.
c. Fail to furnish notification of any defect as required by 42 U.S.C. S5414.
d. Fail to issue a certification required by 42 U. S. C. S5415 or issue a certification to the effect that a manufactured home conforms to all applicable Federal Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards of 1974, if such person in the exercise of due care has reason to know that such certification is false or misleading in a material respect.
e. Fail to establish and maintain such records, make such reports, and provide such information as the Manufactured Housing Board may reasonably require to enable it to determine whether there is compliance with the Federal Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974; or fail to permit, upon request of a person duly authorized by said state agency, inspection of appropriate books, papers, records and documents relative to determining whether a manufacturer, distributor or dealer has acted or is acting in compliance with this article or with the Federal Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.
f. Issue a certification pursuant to 42 U. S. C. 5403 (a) if said person in the exercise of due care has reason to know that said certification is false or misleading in a material respect.
2. Paragraph (a) of subsection 1 shall not apply to the sale or the offer for sale of any manufactured home after the first purchase of it in good faith for purposes other than resale.
3. Paragraph (a) of subsection 1 shall not apply to any person who establishes that he did not have reason to know in the exercise of due care that such manufactured home is not in conformity with applicable Federal Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, or any person who, prior to such first purchase, holds a certificate by the manufacturer or importer of such manufactured home to the effect that such manufactured home conforms to all applicable Federal Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, unless such person knows that such manufactured home does not so conform.
(B) Criminal penalties.
Any person or officer, director or agent of a corporation who wilfully or knowingly violates any of the provisions enumerated in state law, in any manner which threatens the health or safety of any purchaser shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than one year or both.
The Manufactured Housing Board is authorized to conduct hearings and presentations of views consistent with regulations adopted by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and to adopt such rules and regulations as are necessary to carry out this function.
Section 31-17-180. Disposition of penalties; fees.
All penalties or fees collected under the provisions of this article shall be deposited in the General Fund of the State."
Present members of board to continue to serve
SECTION 2. The present members of the Board shall continue to serve until their current terms of office expire at which time their successors shall be selected as provided in this act.
SECTION 3. The analysis lines preceding the Code sections in this act are not intended as parts of the sections but are only for purposes of identification.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect upon approval by the Governor.