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 Cheshire, which emergency has been created by excessive, abnormally high and unwarranted rental increases imposed by some owners of mobile home parks located therein; that unless mobile home parks rents and eviction of tenants 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 Cheshire.
SECTION 2. The town of Cheshire may, by its by-laws, 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 use and occupancy of mobile home park accommodations and evictions of tenants therefrom and may, by its by-laws, require registration by owners of mobile home park accommodations. Such rents, standards and evictions may 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, and issue appropriate orders which shall be binding on both the owner and tenants of such mobile home park accommodations. Violations of any by-law 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 may 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. Said town in its by-laws or said rent board by regulations may establish further standards and rules consistent with this act. If the maximum rent is not otherwise established, it shall be established by the board. Any maximum rent may be subsequently adjusted under this act.
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 order.
SECTION 5. The district court department shall have original jurisdiction, concurrently with the superior court, of all petitions for review brought pursuant to section fourteen of chapter thirty A of the General Laws. The superior court 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 Cheshire may, by its by-laws, regulate the evictions of tenants and the rent board, established under section two, may issue orders which shall be a defense to an action of summary process for possession and such orders shall be reviewable pursuant to sections four and five.
SECTION 7. This act shall take effect upon its passage.