Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. The town of Raynham may by its by-laws regulating the discontinuance of the use of part or all of the land owned and licensed as a mobile home park:
(1) The provisions of this act 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) 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 shall not be limited to, the licensee's conversion of the mobile home park, or part thereof, to a condominium or cooperative corporation.
(3) 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 board of selectmen subject to the provisions contained in this act.
(4) (a) The board of selectmen shall consider an application for a discontinuance permit for a mobile home park accommodation upon receipt of an application filed by the licensee or other authorized person. The board of selectmen shall forward said application within fourteen days to the rent board in the town of Raynham.
(b) The rent 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, or the subject matter, sufficient for identification, shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the town of Raynham 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 town hall for a period of not less than fourteen days before the day of said hearing. The rent board shall also notify all tenants living in the affected mobile home park 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 board of selectmen to grant or deny a discontinuance permit shall be taken until a report with recommendations by the rent board has been submitted to the board of selectmen 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 board of selectmen may vote to grant or deny the discontinuance permit. If the board of selectmen fails to vote on the proposed discontinuance permit within ninety days after such hearing, no action shall be taken thereon until after 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 board of selectmen.
(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the rent 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 board in hearing new evidence. In addition, the rent 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) In determining whether to recommend that the board of selectmen grant or deny a discontinuance permit the rent board shall consider the aggravation of the shortage of safe, decent and affordable mobile home park accommodations in the town of Raynham 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 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 park 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 park accommodations in the town of Raynham 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 board, in its discretion, may also review other relevant factors in making its report and recommendations.
For the purposes of this act, the "vacancy rate" shall be defined as that percentage of the mobile home park 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 board shall determine the current vacancy rate for comparable mobile home park accommodations in the town of Raynham. Any parties involved may submit evidence presented to the rent board at the public hearing.
(6) (a) The licensee or applicant seeking a discontinuance permit must make application to the board of selectmen 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 foregoing, no eviction certificate shall be issued by the rent 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 board of selectmen.
SECTION 2. The provisions of this section 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; provided, however, that the provisions hereof shall apply to any mobile home parks which send out new or amended notices of change of use or discontinuance pursuant to the provisions of said subsection (8) of said section thirty-two L subsequent to the effective date of this act.