Chapter 184 of the General Laws is hereby amended by the addition of a new section 21A, as follows:
1.In any city or town which votes to adopt the provisions of this section, tenants of residential buildings with three (3) or more units, or their designees, as set forth herein, shall have the right of first refusal to purchase such buildings at fair market value, for the purpose of maintaining affordable housing and preventing tenant displacement.
2.At the time of execution of an agreement for the purchase and sale of a residential building with three (3) or more units, except for an owner-occupied building with three (3) units, the owner/seller of the building must give written notice of the agreed-upon sale to all tenants aged 18 or over, and to the municipality, in such form as shall be specified by ordinance or bylaw. The price specified in a good faith, arm’s length purchase and sale agreement shall be prima facie evidence of the fair market value of the property.
3.The tenants, or any such non-profit housing entity as the tenants may form or formally designate, shall have forty-five (45) days in which to make a deposit to the owner, equal to five per cent (5%) of the agreed-on sales price, as set forth in the purchase and sale agreement, which shall be held in escrow by the seller’s agent or attorney. The tenants, or their designee, shall also execute a purchase and sale agreement with the seller, which shall have priority over the original purchase and sale agreement, contingent on financing.
4.The tenants or their designee shall have an additional one hundred and twenty (120) days from execution of the purchase and sale agreement to secure financing for and close the purchase of the building.
5. Tenants may assign or transfer their right of first refusal to an owners’ cooperative, a community development corporation, a land trust, or such other non-profit housing organization as will hold the property in perpetuity as limited-equity affordable housing. Such assignment transfer shall be in writing, on a form specified by the municipality.
6. Any municipality which votes to adopt the provisions of this section and which is not otherwise authorized to establish a housing trust fund, which shall be a revolving fund, is hereby so authorized. Funds from including, but not limited to, linkage fees, gifts or bequests, and duly authorized community preservation act funds, may be deposited in the housing trust fund. Any municipality which has a housing trust fund may authorize a grant or loan from the fund for purposes of purchases of real property under this section.
7. Any owner of any a residential building with three (3) or more units, including an owner-occupied building with three (3) units, may offer in writing to sell such building to the tenants or their designee at any time. In such a case, fair market value shall be negotiated between buyer and seller based on one or more professional appraisals. Once a price is agreed to, the parties shall proceed with the transaction as set forth in subsections 3 through 5 of this section.
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