Whereas, A serious public emergency exists in the city of Peabody with respect to the housing of a substantial number of citizens of said city, which emergency has been created by the threatened discontinuance of the use of certain mobile home parks by certain owners of said mobile home parks; that unless discontinuances of mobile home parks are regulated and controlled by the city of Peabody, such emergency will produce serious threats to the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Peabody, and will produce a drastic loss of housing units, will increase homelessness, and will cause the loss of many residents' life savings, especially the elderly.
SECTION 2. Said chapter 131 is hereby further amended by striking out section 3 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 3. Regulating rents. (a) The rent board established under section two shall make such individual or general adjustments of rents, either upward or downward for any mobile home park accommodation, or any class of mobile home park accommodations, as may be necessary to assure that rents for mobile home park accommodations are established at levels which yield to owners a fair net operating income for such accommodations. For the purposes of this section, the word "class" shall include all mobile accommodations within said city, or any categories of such accommodations based on size, age, construction, rent, geographic, or other common characteristics providing the board has by regulation defined any such categories.
(b) The following factors, among other relevant factors which the board by regulation may define, shall be considered in determining whether a controlled rental unit yields a fair net operating income: (1) increases or decreases in property taxes; (2) unavoidable increases or any decreases in operating and maintenance expenses; (3) capital improvement of the housing unit as distinguished from ordinary repair, replacement and maintenance; (4) increases or decreases in living space, services, furniture, furnishings or equipment; (5) substantial deterioration of the dwelling units other than as a result of ordinary wear and tear; and (6) failure to perform ordinary repair, replacement and maintenance.
SECTION 3. Said chapter 131 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 7 the following section:-
Section 7A. Discontinuance Permits. (1) Scope.
The provisions of this section regarding the discontinuance of the use of part, or all of the land owned and licensed as a mobile home park shall apply to all mobile home parks and mobile home park accommodations.
(2) Definition of "Discontinuance".
When used in this act the term "discontinuance" shall include any change of use or discontinuance of the use of part, or all of the land owned and licensed as a mobile home park requiring a two year notice pursuant to subsection 8 of section thirty-two L of chapter one hundred and forty of the General Laws. The term "discontinuance" shall include, but is not limited to, the licensee's conversion of the mobile home park, or part thereof, to a condominium or cooperative corporation.
(3) Discontinuance Prohibited.
It shall be unlawful for any person to discontinue the use of part or all of the land owned and licensed as a mobile home park without having first obtained a discontinuance permit from the city council subject to the provisions contained in this act.
(4) Discontinuance Permit Procedure.
(a) The city council shall consider an application for a discontinuance permit for a mobile home accommodation upon receipt of an application filed by the licensee or other authorized person. The city council shall forward said application within fourteen days to the rent control board.
(b) The rent control board shall schedule a public hearing within sixty-five days of receipt of the application. Notice of the time and place of such public hearing, of the subject matter, sufficient for identification, shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the city of Peabody once in each of two successive weeks, the first publication to be not less than fourteen days before the date of the public hearing and by posting such notice in a conspicuous place in city hall for a period of not less than fourteen days before the day of said hearing. The rent control board shall also notify all tenants living in the affected mobile home accommodations of the time, place and subject matter of the public hearing. No defect in the form of any notice under this section shall invalidate any grant or denial of a discontinuance permit unless such defect is found to be misleading.
(c) No vote by the city council to grant or deny a discontinuance permit shall be taken until a report with recommendations by the rent control board has been submitted to the city council or twenty-one days after said hearing have elapsed without submission of such report. After such notice, hearing and report, or after twenty-one days shall have elapsed after such hearing without submission of such report, the city council may vote to grant or deny the discontinuance permit. If the city council fails to vote on the proposed discontinuance permit within ninety days after such hearing, no action shall be taken thereon until after a subsequent public hearing is held with notice and report as above provided.
(d) No discontinuance permit may be granted except by a majority vote of the city council.
(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the rent control board may, without holding a hearing, recommend the denial of a discontinuance permit if a decision has been made with regard to the discontinuance of a mobile home park accommodation within the preceding twelve months, and if the park licensee fails, in the new application, to allege a substantial change of circumstances since the previous hearing which would merit the rent control board in hearing new evidence. In addition, the rent control board may recommend denial of the discontinuance permit without holding a hearing if the application is not in conformance with the requirements of this section or other applicable regulations.
(5) Discontinuance Permit Criteria.
In determining whether to recommend that the city council grant or deny a discontinuance permit, the rent control board shall consider the aggravation of the shortage of safe, decent and affordable mobile home park accommodations in Peabody, which may result from the discontinuance, especially for tenants of low and moderate income and handicapped or elderly persons on fixed incomes. In making such determination the rent control board shall make findings of the following factors:
(a) the benefits and detriments to the persons whom this act and this section seek to protect;
(b) the hardships imposed on the tenant residing in the mobile home accommodations proposed to be discontinued;
(c) circumstances demonstrating hardship and inequity to the licensee seeking a discontinuance permit;
(d) the rate of vacancy of mobile home accommodations in the city of Peabody at the time the licensee applies for a discontinuance permit and the average rental rates for said available accommodations;
(e) the availability of land zoned and otherwise suitable for development or expansion of mobile home parks.
The rent control board, in its discretion, may also review other relevant factors in making its report and recommendations.
For purposes of this act, the "vacancy rate" shall be defined as that percentage of the mobile home parks accommodations which are empty of mobile homes and are offered for rental to mobile home tenants. Further, to be considered a "vacancy" the rental offer of the mobile home park accommodation must be without entrance fee; without restrictions as to the age, size or character of the mobile home, and; without a requirement that the prospective tenant purchase a mobile home from the park owner.
In its report, the rent control board shall determine the current vacancy rate for comparable mobile home park accommodations in the city of Peabody. Any parties involved may submit evidence presented to the rent control board at the public hearing.
(6) Additional Provisions.
(a) The licensee or applicant seeking a discontinuance permit must make application to the city council for said permit within thirty days of serving the tenants with the notices required under the provisions of subsection 8 of section thirty-two L of chapter one hundred and forty of the General Laws.
(b) Notwithstanding the above, no eviction certificate shall be issued by the rent control board because of the discontinuance of the use of all or a part of a mobile home park unless a discontinuance permit has been issued by the city council.
SECTION 4. The provisions of this act shall not apply to mobile home parks which have sent out notices of a change of use or discontinuance under the provisions of subsection 8 of section thirty-two L of chapter one hundred and forty of the General Laws prior to the effective date of this act.