SECTION 1. Findings and Purpose. The general court finds and declares that a serious state of emergency exists in the city of Boston with respect to housing, whereby the inadequate supply of affordable housing and the inadequate affordability of housing deemed affordable is impacting quality of life and public health, contributing to housing insecurity, rent burden, homelessness and increasing evictions, that rising housing costs and speculative real estate practices disproportionately impact protected classes, including households of color, and further finds that imposition of a fee on certain real estate transfers shall be applied, at the discretion of the city and with exemptions as detailed in this act, in order to mitigate the impacts of speculative market practices through the production of affordable and deeply affordable housing and by discouraging rapid repeat sales of property.
SECTION 2. Transfer Fee. Except where otherwise exempted pursuant to this act, the city of Boston may impose a fee of up to 2 per cent of the purchase price upon the transfer of any real property interest or the transfer of a controlling interest in a trust, limited liability company, or other entity that directly or indirectly holds an interest, in any real property situated in the city of Boston, as follows: (A) a fee in the amount of one (1) percent of said purchase price shall be due and payable by the seller; and (B) a fee in .the amount of 1 percent of said purchase price shall be due and payable by the purchaser. In the case of a transfer of a controlling interest, the city of Boston may define by ordinance what constitutes a controlling interest and the calculation of the fee.
SECTION 3. Payment of Fees to City. Fees established via this act shall be paid to the city of Boston; provided that, the city of Boston may, in lieu of collecting such fees, enter into an agreement with the Suffolk county registry of deeds regarding the collection of such fees. The city is authorized to adopt an ordinance to provide for the collection and liening of any outstanding transfer fee. The city shall have such remedies to collect said amount as provided by law with respect to the collection of real property taxes.
The city shall deposit all fees received pursuant to this act into the neighborhood housing trust established by the city pursuant to chapter 665 of the acts of 1956, provided that, in order to address a range of housing needs, the city may, in an ordinance accepting the provisions of this act, reserve, and appropriate through the city's annual budgetary filings, all or a portion of fees received pursuant to this act for programs designed to further housing acquisition, affordability, creation, preservation, stability or related purposes and to address disparities in housing access and opportunity.
SECTION 4. Affidavit and Deed. A copy of the deed or other instrument evidencing such transfer shall be provided to the city and shall be accompanied by, (a) an affidavit signed under oath or under the pains and penalties of perjury by the purchaser and seller attesting to the purchase price, (b) the applicable fee owed, and (c) the basis, if any, upon which the transfer, or one or both of the parties to the transfer, is claimed to be exempt in whole or in part from said fee or fees. Upon receipt of such payment and/or satisfactory evidence of exemption, the city or its designee shall promptly thereafter issue a certificate indicating that the fee has been paid or that the purchaser or seller, or the transfer, is exempt from the fee. The Suffolk county register of deeds shall not record or register a deed unless the deed is accompanied by such certificate.
SECTION 5. Exempt Transfers. The following transfers of real property interests shall be exempt from the fee established by this act: (1) transfers between family members, as may be defined by ordinance; (2) transfers of convenience, as may be defined by ordinance; (3) transfers to the government of the United States or any other instrumentality, agency or subdivision thereof, or the commonwealth or any instrumentality or subdivision thereof; or (4) transfers for which the sale price is under $2,000,000.
SECTION 6. Acceptance of Fee by Ordinance; Further Exemptions and Regulation. The city may, by ordinance, accept and determine the amount of the fee, pursuant to the structure detailed in section 2, and may adopt additional exemptions for economically vulnerable populations, affordable housing developments, units of housing subject to deed restrictions, homeowners or beneficiaries of a city-approved homebuyer program, or other parties. The city may also specify requirements or conditions under which exemptions are granted and adopt regulations to implement or enforce said fee, consistent with this act.
SECTION 7. Annual Report. The city shall prepare and issue an annual report that (i) identifies fee receipts by payer category including buyers and sellers, location and unit type; and (ii) quantifies affordable housing programs funded, including type and purpose.
SECTION 8. Severance Clause. The determination or declaration that any provision of this act is beyond authority of the general court or is preempted by law or regulation shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provisions.
SECTION 9. Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon signing.
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The General Court provides this information as a public service and while we endeavor to keep the data accurate and current to the best of our ability, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.