Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. The general court finds and declares that a serious public emergency exists with respect to the housing of a substantial number of citizens in the town of Middleborough, which emergency has been created by high and unwarranted rental increases imposed by some park owners of mobile home parks located therein; that unless mobile home park rents and evictions are regulated and controlled, such emergency will produce serious threats to the public safety, health and general welfare of the citizens of said town, particularly the elderly; that such emergency should be met by the commonwealth immediately and with due regard for the rights and responsibilities of the town of Middleborough.
SECTION 2. The town of Middleborough shall regulate rents for the use or occupancy of mobile home park accommodations in said town, establish a rent board for the purpose of regulating rents, minimum standards for the use or occupancy of mobile home park accommodations and the evictions of tenants therefrom and shall, by its by-laws, require registration by owners of mobile home park accommodations. Such rents, standards and evictions shall be regulated by the rent board so as to remove hardships, or correct inequities for both the owner and the tenants of such mobile home park accommodations. Said rent board shall have all powers necessary or convenient to perform its functions, may make rules and regulations, require registration by owners of mobile home park accommodations, under penalty of perjury, of information relating to the mobile home park accommodations, sue and be sued, compel the attendance of persons and the production of papers and information, issue appropriate orders which shall be binding on both the owner and tenants of such mobile home park accommodations. Violations of any by-laws adopted pursuant to this act or any order of said rent board shall be punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars for any one offense.
SECTION 3. In regulating such rents, for such mobile home park accommodations, the rent board established under section two shall make such individual or general adjustments, either upward or downward, as may be necessary to assure that rents for the mobile home park accommodations in said town are established at levels which yield to owners a fair net operating income for such units. The following factors, among other relevant factors, which the board by regulation may define, shall be considered in determining whether a controlled unit yields a fair net operating income:
(1) Increases or decreases in property taxes.
(2) Unavoidable increases or decreases in operating and maintenance expenses.
(3) Capital improvements to the park as distinguished from ordinary repair, replacement and maintenance.
(4) Increases or decreases in living space, services or equipment.
(5) Failure to perform ordinary repair, replacement and maintenance.
The rent board may refuse to grant a rent increase under this section, if it determines that the affected park does not comply with state sanitary codes of the commonwealth and any municipal codes or by-laws, and if it determines that such lack of compliance is due to the failure of the park operator to provide normal and adequate repair and maintenance.
SECTION 4. The provisions of chapter thirty A of the General Laws shall be applicable to the rent board, established under section two, as if said rent board were an agency of the commonwealth, including those provisions giving agencies the powers to issue, vacate, modify and enforce subpoenas and those provisions relating to judicial review of an agency.
SECTION 5. The district court department shall have original jurisdiction, concurrently with the superior court department, of all petitions for review brought pursuant to section fourteen of chapter thirty A of the General Laws. The superior court department shall have jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of this act and any by-laws adopted thereunder and may restrain violations thereof.
SECTION 6. The town of Middleborough may by its by-laws regulate the evictions of tenants and the rent board, established under section two, shall issue orders which shall be a defense to an action of summary process for possession and such orders shall be reviewable pursuant to sections two and three.
SECTION 7. This act shall take effect upon its passage.