Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Declaration of Emergency. 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 Wales, which emergency has been created by excessive, abnormally high and unwarranted rental increases imposed by some owners of mobile parks located therein; that unless mobile home park rents and eviction of tenants is regulated and controlled, such emergency will produce serious threats to the public health, safety 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 Wales.
SECTION 2. General Powers. The town of Wales 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, setting minimum standards for use or occupancy of mobile home park accommodations and regulating evictions of tenants therefrom and may by its by-laws, require registration by owners of mobile home park accommodations and under penalty of perjury, require information relating to the 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. Such rent board shall have all powers necessary or convenient to perform its functions. It may make rules and regulations, sue and be sued, compel the attendance of persons and the productions 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-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.
SECTION 3. Standard for Adjusting Rents. (a) In regulating 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 mobile home park accommodations in said town are established at levels which yield to owners a fair net operating income for such units. Fair net operating income shall be that income which will yield a return, after all reasonable operating expenses, on the fair market value of the property equal to the debt service rate generally available from institutional first mortgage lenders or such other rates of return as the board, on the basis of evidence presented before it, deems more appropriate to the circumstances of the case. The fair market value of the property shall be the assessed valuation of the property or such other valuation as the board, on the basis of evidence presented before it, deems more appropriate to the circumstances of the case.
(b) Said town in its by-laws or said rent board by regulation may establish further standards and rules consistent with this act.
SECTION 4. Incorporation of Administrative Procedure Act. 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 these provisions giving agencies the power to issue, vacate, modify and enforce subpoenas, and those provisions relating to judicial review of an agency order.
SECTION 5. Conference of Jurisdiction. (a) The eastern Hampden division of 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.
(b) 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. Defense to Summary Process for Possession. The town of Wales may by by-law regulate the eviction 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 two and three.
SECTION 7. Exemption from Civil Service. The personnel of the rent board established under section two shall not be subject to the provision of section nine A of chapter thirty of the General Laws or chapter thirty-one of the General Laws.
SECTION 8. This act shall take effect upon its passage.