The business association representing the manufactured home industry in South Carolina issued a recommendation that homebuyers only buy homes from companies that have a state license.
South Carolina law requires that home dealers have a license, according to Mark Dillard, Executive Director of the Manufactured Housing Institute of South Carolina.
“If the person doesn’t have a license, they are selling illegally,” Dillard said. “If the seller is willing to break that basic law, you can expect them to violate other consumer protection laws as well.”
Under South Carolina law, any person or company that sells, buys or offers three or more manufactured homes in any 12-month period is classified as a manufactured home dealer and must have a license from the SC Manufactured Housing Board.
If a person buys from a unlicensed manufactured home seller, they lose most of the consumer protections provided under South Carolina law, Dillard said.
A properly licensed home dealer has to comply with a whole chapter of consumer protection rules. The regulations govern how the home has to be installed properly, how refunds must be given and bans unethical business practices, he said.
“The state licensing board can order a licensed dealer to fix problems, make refunds and other remedies to protect consumers,” Dillard said. “But if the seller is unlicensed, the homebuyer has nowhere to go.”
A licensed dealer must undergo training and testing and have a bond for consumer refunds, he added.
“When people learn about the importance of buying only from an licensed dealer they avoid the unlicensed companies like the plaque,” he said. “The buyers who mess up are the ones who aren’t aware of this law.”
Potential homebuyers can get a list of home retail companies that are licensed, bonded and professional society members in good standing by going to www.MHISC.com and clicking on “Find A Home.”
Mark Dillard, Executive Director
(803) 771-9046 Ext. 4