RVDA: Notices Required for FEMA Trailer Sales

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January 31, 2012 by   4 Comments

RV dealerships have recently been investigated for failing to pass along a required federal disclosure certificate when they resell FEMA units, according to the  latest issue of RV Executive Today.

The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) reminded members that they are legally required to pass along the “Useable Travel Trailer Certificate” notice informing buyers that these FEMA units aren’t intended to be permanent housing.

The RV trailers that FEMA bought after Hurricane Katrina and auctioned off by the General Services Administration (GSA) require this special disclosure at the time of that sale and must be passed to all subsequent buyers.

Dealers should be particularly cautious of trailer trade-ins from 2005 and 2006 and the need to confirm the vehicles’ histories. A customer may “forget” to pass along the required disclosure to the RV dealer when trading in the vehicle for a new RV. RVDA said that the best way to research vehicle history is to run the VIN against the GSA’s database of Katrina trailers or ask the trailer manufacturer for a vehicle’s history.

Not all of the affected FEMA units are white boxy models – some were purchased directly from RV dealer inventory. RVDA said that relying on the vehicle’s title may not be reliable, since Katrina trailers weren’t titled until after their first sale at auction.

A similar issue is developing with oversized park model trailers that FEMA bought more recently and are now being auctioned through the GSA. Park models over 400 square feet must comply with HUD code, and as RVDA understands it, these oversized park models are not built to HUD codes. Customers may be unable to title these vehicles in their state, and they may run afoul of local building codes. Specifically, they may be unable to place these units in a zoned park model RV park.

All oversized compliant and non-compliant park models sold at GSA auctions come with a “Usable Park Model Trailer Certification” that the buyer must sign and pass along to all subsequent purchasers. The certificate disclaims government liability for any future issues arising from these vehicles. Dealers face liability if they fail to pass along the certificate.


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4 Responses to “RVDA: Notices Required for FEMA Trailer Sales”

  1. Steve on January 31st, 2012 2:28 pm

    I have looked online for the GSA database of Katrina trailers but cannot find it. Does anyone know where it is located at??

  2. jim on January 31st, 2012 10:48 pm

    I have a list not all 200,000 but I am not sure if it is legal because it also has whom purchase each unit and the price that they paid for it?

    I do know of one out side of the RV Industry that is attepting to put a list on a web site with in a month? Not sure how far he is yet and it is to be open to the public!

  3. jimmy b. on February 1st, 2012 2:14 pm

    I do hope that any Dealership watches out! My understanding is that GSA sold all units as Repairable units. This means that if a customer gets sick because of Formaldehyde then the Dealership put the Formaldehyde in to the trailer!

    Also, I believe that no insurance of any type will tell the difference between a FEMA Units or a Regular unit! So by this any dealership that services a Fema unit should take the Liablity of that unit! If a dealership replaces a A/C shroud, and the unit leaves the lot, and catches fire because of a bad connection, the dealership can be held responsible!

  4. richard sparks on February 3rd, 2012 6:07 pm

    Seven years later and still so much about those pesky FEMA trailers and it seems that most of the media is “warning/threatening” the dealers.I worked for multiple mfgs that dumped tons of FEMA trailers on the US Govt either directly and/or through retail dealers and even some questionable business folks who had very close kinfolks that held elected offices. Instead of warning the dealer(s) why hasn’t anyone ever ask those mfgs/questionable business folks that sold a trailer to the US Govt for $18,000 or more when the day before the hurrican they sold the same trailer for approximately $9,999.00 why didn’t the MFG(S) do the right thing and buy back all of those extremely cheaped built trailers and maybe the dealers would stop receiving all of the bad publicity in simple terms GET OFF THE DEALERS BACK MFGS!!!