SECTION 1. Chapter 40P of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, is repealed.
SECTION 2. The General Laws are hereby amended by inserting after chapter 49A the following chapter:-
LIMITATION ON ANNUAL RENT INCREASES AND EVICTIONS
Section 1. A city or town may accept this section in the manner provided in section 4 of chapter 4 of the General Laws. The acceptance of this local option by a municipality shall take effect no later than 180 days after adoption. A municipality which accepts this section shall adopt an ordinance or bylaw which effectuates the provisions of this section no later than 180 days after acceptance.
Section 2. A city or town accepting this section may, by local charter provision, ordinance, by-law, majority vote of its governing body or through a local binding ballot measure 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. (a) For the purposes of this chapter, dwelling units shall not include:
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.
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.
Facilities for the residential care of the elderly.
Dwelling units for which a residential certificate of occupancy was obtained for the first time on or after January 1, 2021.
(b) Where dwelling units are exempt, a notice of exemption must be provided with the lease for all tenancies.
Section 4. (a) The limit on any annual rent increase for a covered dwelling unit as defined in Section 3(a) shall not exceed the annual change in the Consumer Price Index for the applicable area or 5 percent, whichever is less.
(b) For purposes of this chapter the rent charged at the time this chapter was adopted 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(a), then whatever the owner first charges shall serve as the base.
Section 4. (a) A lessor may not recover possession of a dwelling unit unless it can be shown that lessee:
Failed to pay the rent entitled to the owner.
Violated a legitimate contractual obligation.
Created a nuisance or substantial damage.
Used the dwelling unit for illegal purposes.
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.
The person holding at the end of a lease term is a sublessee not approved by the lessor.
Any other just cause not inconsistent with Chapter 93A of the General Laws
(b) 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.
Section 5. (a) Any violation of the provisions of this chapter within a jurisdiction that has adopted the provisions of this chapter shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $5,000.
(b) 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.
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