SECTION 1. Chapter 239 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 2A the following section: -
Section 2B. In any city or town that accepts this section as provided in section 4 of chapter 4 of the General Laws, a lessor may not recover possession of a leased unit within a residential building consisting of six (6) units, or more, from a lessee seventy-five (75) years of age, or older, unless the court finds that: (1) the lessee has failed to pay the rent to which the lessor is entitled; (2) the lessee has violated an obligation or covenant of his or her tenancy not inconsistent with Chapter 93A of the General Laws, or this section, or the regulations issued pursuant thereto, other than the obligation to surrender possession upon proper notice; and the lessee has failed to cure such violation after having received written notice thereof from the lessor; (3) the lessee is committing or permitting to exist a nuisance in or is causing substantial damage to the leased unit, or is creating a substantial interference with the comfort, safety or enjoyment of the lessor or other occupants of the same or any adjacent accommodations; (4) the lessee has used or permitted a leased unit to be used for any illegal purposes; (5) the lessee, who had a written lease agreement which terminated or is a tenant at will, has refused, after written request or demand by the lessor, to execute a written extension or renewal thereof or lease for a further term of like duration, at a rental rate that does not exceed one-hundred five percent (105%) of the rental rate under the prior lease agreement or at will tenancy, and on such terms that are not inconsistent with or violative of any provision of Chapter 93A of the General Laws, or of this section; (6) the lessee has refused the lessor reasonable access to the unit for the purpose of making necessary repairs or improvements required by the laws of the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof, or for the purpose of inspection as permitted or required by such lessee's lease agreement or by law, or for the purpose of showing the leased unit to any prospective purchaser or mortgagee; (7) the person holding at the end of a lease term is a sublessee not approved by the lessor; (8) the lessor seeks in good faith to recover possession of a leased unit for his or her own use and occupancy or for the use and occupancy by his or her spouse, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brother, sister, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law, and has provided the tenant with 180 days written notice and an offer of a relocation assistance payment equal to at least three months’ rent; or (9) the lessor seeks to recover possession for any other just cause, provided that his or her purpose is not in conflict with the provisions and purposes of Chapter 93A of the General Laws or this act.
A lessor must notify the clerk’s office of the city or town in which the leased unit is located prior to initiating judicial proceedings in compliance with this section.
A lessor who recovers possession of a leased unit in violation of this section shall be punished by a fine not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00). Each such recovery in violation of this section shall constitute a separate offense. The district and superior courts and the housing court shall have jurisdiction over an action arising from a violation of this section and shall have jurisdiction in equity to restrain any such violation. It shall be a defense to a lessee in an action pursuant to this section that a lessor attempted to recover a leased unit in violation of this section.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
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