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 Easton, which emergency has been created by excessive, abnormally high and unwarranted rental increases imposed by ownership of mobile home park accommodations located therein, that unless mobile home park accommodation rents and eviction of tenants are 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 an emergency should be met by the commonwealth immediately and with due regard for the rights and responsibilities of the town of Easton.
Section 2. The town of Easton 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 or occupancy of mobile home park accommodations and eviction of tenants therefrom and may, by its by-laws, require registration by owners of mobile home parks under penalty of perjury, of information relating to the 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 parks, 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 no more than $1000.00.
Section 3. (a) 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 accommodations. (b) The following factors, among other relevant factors, which the board by regulation may define, shall be considered in determining whether controlled mobile home park accommodations yield 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 improvements of the mobile home park as distinguished from ordinary repair, replacement and maintenance; (4) increases or decreases in space, services, equipment, etc; (5) substantial deterioration of the mobile home park other than as a result or ordinary wear and tear; and (6) failure to perform ordinary repair, replacement and maintenance.
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 relating to judicial review of an agency order.
Section 5. (a) The Taunton 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 original jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of this act and any by-laws adopted thereunder and may restrain violations thereof.
Section 6. The town of Easton may by its by-laws regulate the eviction of tenants and the rent board established under section two, may issue orders which shall be a defense to actions of summary process for possession and such orders shall be reviewable pursuant to section four and five.
Section 7. The personnel, if any, of the rent board established under section two shall not be subject to section nine A of chapter thirty of the General Laws or chapter thirty-one of the General Laws.
Section 8. If any provision of this act or the application of such provision to any person or circumstance shall be held to be invalid, the validity of the remainder of this act and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
Section 9. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
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