Target 8 - Requirements Confuse Manufactured Home Owners
The state requires tie-down straps for all manufactured housing. But, those requirements often differ from county to county, which confuses many homeowners. And one Randolph County family found out the tie-downs they chose didn't stand up to the storms.
The frame of Don and Mary Biere's home lies twisted in their yard, shattered just like her favorite dishes.
"I was in bed already. My daughter came in and told me to get up," recalled Mary. "Then, Don said, 'Well, I'm listening to the radio and, if it gets too bad, we'll just go out and sit in the Buick.'"
Luckily, their daughter forced them to leave their home. When they returned, they found it pulled off its cinder block foundation, with stakes still hooked to the frame they were supposed to anchor. The tornado destroyed the Biere's home but missed their son's trailer home just a couple of hundred yards away.
"If they're not tied down on top of the blocks, well, those blocks can still shift," said David Lemonnier, a member of Randolph County's disaster team.
But, the Bieres did tie down their home, and their son's also was tied down. However, even if stakes meet regulations, they might not work for a particular home. And, Randolph County's lack of zoning doesn't help that problem.
"Right now, we don't have any particular zoning, so you can pretty well just do what you want to do," Don admitted.
The Missouri Public Service Commission said state laws still apply.
"Codes that apply to manufactured homes and modular homes are the same," stated the PSC's Ron Pleus,"and installation requirements are all the same."
The commission started a program last July to force manufactured home dealers, manufacturers and installers to have a license to install new homes. The program also lets the PSC randomly check older homes. But, the state has only five home inspectors, and they check only one out of every 10 homes.
So, Don plans to make sure his next home is anchored properly.
"Just lower the trailer down, and have it even with the ground," he explained.
And Mary advises homeowners to "be sure your trailer is anchored down real good."
And, owners can make sure their homes are installed according to state regulations. The Public Service Commission inspects manufactured homes for free if owners are worried about their foundations.
Manufactured homeowners can check the PSC website at the link to the right of this story.