SECTION 1: The fourth paragraph of section 8A of chapter 239 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out “Any tenant or occupant intending to invoke the provisions of this section may, after commencement of an action under this chapter by the landlord, voluntarily deposit with the clerk any amount for rent or for use and occupation which may be in dispute, and such payments shall be held by the clerk subject to the provisions of this paragraph.”
And replacing in its place thereof the following language -:
“Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that the originally scheduled trial date is continued for any reason, and upon motion of any party, the court after hearing shall require the tenant or occupant claiming under this section to deposit with the clerk of the court, the plaintiff’s attorney, or other secure depository each month (or at such other intervals as the court deems just) the amounts due for use and occupancy, calculated according to the fair market value of the premises, which amounts shall be held in escrow pending final disposition, unless the court determines that such requirement would result in undue hardship to the tenant or occupant. In the event that a tenant or occupant fails to comply with an order requiring deposit, the court upon motion shall order the matter to be scheduled for bench trial at the earliest date available and make such further orders as the court deems just.”
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