Section 1: Chapter 40P of the General Laws, as found in the Official Edition of 2018, is hereby repealed.
Section 2: LOCAL OPTION
Notwithstanding any general law to the contrary, any municipality, by majority vote of its governing body or through a local binding ballot question, may impose a limit on the size of annual rent increases and require that evictions be based on a limited number of defined just causes, for most dwelling units within the municipality.
Section 3: COVERAGE AND EXEMPTIONS
All dwelling units shall be covered, except for:
(1)Rental units in owner-occupied buildings with three or less units, or where the tenant shares bathroom or kitchen with the owner whose principal residence is at the property.
(2)Rental units whose rent is subject to regulation by a public authority. However, this exemption does not apply to dwelling units in the private market where housing vouchers are used.
(5)Facilities for the residential care of the elderly.
(6)Dwelling units for which a residential certificate of occupancy was obtained for the first time on or after January 1, 2021.
Where dwelling units are exempt, a notice of exemption must be provided with the lease for all tenancies.
Section 4: LIMITATION ON ANNUAL RENT INCREASES
Section 4(a): The limit on any annual rent increase for a covered dwelling unit as defined in Section 3 shall not exceed the annual change in the Consumer Price Index for the applicable area or 5 percent, whichever is less.
Section 4(b): For purposes of this section the current rent charged shall serve as the base upon which any annual rent increase shall be applied. If the dwelling unit is currently vacant, the last rent charged shall serve as the base. If there is no previous rent for a dwelling unit not exempted under Section 3(6), then whatever the owner first charges shall serve as the base.
Section 5: LIMITATION ON EVICTIONS TO JUST CAUSE
No eviction shall take place unless a court finds that the lessee of a covered dwelling unit has met the terms of one of the following:
(1)Failed to pay the rent entitled to the owner.
(2)Violated a legitimate contractual obligation.
(3)Created a nuisance or substantial damage.
(4)Used the dwelling unit for illegal purposes.
(5)Denied the lessor reasonable access to the unit in order to make necessary repairs or improvements required by the laws of the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof, or for the purpose of inspection or of showing the leased unit to any prospective purchaser or mortgagee.
(6)The person holding at the end of a lease term is a sublessee not approved by the lessor.
(7)In addition, it shall be a just cause if the owner 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 six-months written notice and an offer of relocation assistance of at least three-months rent.
(8)Any other just cause not inconsistent with the Consumer Protection Act (Chapter 93A of the General Laws).
Section 6: ENFORCEMENT AND JURISDICTION FOR ADJUDICATION
(1)Individual violations of sections 3, 4, and 5 of this Act call for a fine of at least $5,000.
(2)Jurisdiction for adjudication shall take place in the applicable housing court for the town or city in which any claims of violation are alleged to have occurred.
Section 7: Any municipality that has accepted and adopted the local option in section 2 may, by majority vote of its governing body or through a local binding ballot question, end its exercise of said option. Such action does not preclude the municipality from accepting and adopting the local option in section 2 at a later date.
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