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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2638         FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2117

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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PRESENTED BY:

Patricia A. Haddad

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To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to manufactured housing communities.

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PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Patricia A. Haddad

5th Bristol

John J. Binienda

17th Worcester

Shaunna O'Connell

3rd Bristol

Christine E. Canavan

10th Plymouth

Stephen R. Canessa

12th Bristol

Susan Williams Gifford

2nd Plymouth


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2638        FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2117

By Mrs. Haddad of Somerset, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 2117) of Patricia A. Haddad and others relative to manufactured housing communities.  Housing. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

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In the Year Two Thousand Eleven

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An Act relative to manufactured housing communities.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1.  Chapter 6 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out section 108 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

              Section 108.  There shall be a manufactured housing commission, hereinafter referred to as the “commission”.  The commission shall consist of five members, not more than three of whom shall be of the same political party.  The governor shall appoint three members, one of whom shall be a resident of a manufactured housing community; one of whom shall be an owner of a manufactured housing community; and one of whom shall be an attorney authorized to practice law in the commonwealth with experience in legal issues regarding manufactured housing, landlord-tenant law, or real estate law, and who shall not be a resident or owner of a manufactured housing community.  The attorney general and director of the department of housing and community development shall each appoint one member who shall be an attorney authorized to practice law in the commonwealth with experience in legal issues regarding manufactured housing, landlord-tenant law, or real estate law, and who shall not be a resident or owner of a manufactured housing community.  In the event that the governor, attorney general or director cannot appoint an attorney with said experience, the attorney general may appoint an attorney with experience in mediation or alternative dispute resolution programs.  Each member shall serve a term of 2 years and may be reappointed upon expiration of his term. 

              Any member of the commission may be removed by the governor for neglect of duty, misconduct, malfeasance or misfeasance after being given a written statement of the charges against him and sufficient opportunity to be heard thereon.

              SECTION 2.  Chapter 29 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after section 2BBBB the following new section:-

              Section 2CCCC. There shall be established and set up on the books of the commonwealth a separate fund to be known as the Manufactured Housing Trust Fund, hereinafter referred to as the fund.  The fund shall be administered by the secretary of the executive office for administration and finance, and shall be credited with licensing revenues collected in accordance with section 32B1/2 of chapter 140 and any interest thereon.   Amounts credited to the fund shall be expended, without further appropriation, to support the manufactured housing dispute resolution program described in section 32T of said chapter 140, including, but not limited to, compensation of commission members as determined by the secretary of the executive office for administration and finance based on time actually worked on dispute resolution, and to support funding of court appointed receiverships of manufactured housing communities. 

              SECTION 3. Section 32A of chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the words “under the following section” and inserting in place thereof the following:- the following two sections.

              SECTION 4. Said Chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out section 32B and inserting in place thereof the following two new sections:-

              Section 32B.  The board of health of any city or town, in each instance after a hearing, reasonable notice of which shall have been published once in a newspaper published in such city or town, may grant, and may suspend or revoke, licenses for recreational camps, overnight camps or cabins, or motels located within such city or town, which license, unless previously suspended or revoked, shall expire on December thirty-first in the year of issue, but may be renewed annually upon application without such notice and hearing. Unless otherwise established in a town by town meeting action and in a city by city council action, and in a town with no town meeting by town council action, by adoption of appropriate by-laws and ordinances to set such fees, the fee for each original or renewal license shall be ten dollars, but in no event shall any such fee be greater than fifty dollars. Such board of health shall at once notify the department of environmental protection of the granting or renewal of such a license, and said department shall have jurisdiction to inspect the premises so licensed to determine that the sources of water supply and the works for the disposition of the sewage of such premises are sanitary. If upon inspection of such premises said department finds the sources of water supply to be polluted or the works for the disposition of the sewage to be unsanitary, or both of such conditions, said department shall forthwith notify such board of health and such licensee to that effect by registered mail and said board shall forthwith prohibit the use of any water supply found by said department to be polluted. Unless such licensee shall, within thirty days following the giving of such notice, correct the conditions at such premises to the satisfaction of both said department and such board the license so granted shall be suspended or revoked by such board. Any license so suspended may be reinstated by such board when the conditions at such premises, as to sources of water supply and works for the disposition of sewage, are satisfactory to said department and such board. The board of health of a city or town may adopt, and from time to time alter or amend, rules and regulations to enforce this section in such city or town.

             

              Section 32B1/2. The board of health of any city or town, in each instance after a hearing, reasonable notice of which shall have been published once in a newspaper published in such city or town, may grant, and may suspend or revoke, licenses for manufactured housing communities located within such city or town, which license, unless previously suspended or revoked, shall expire on December thirty-first in the year of issue, but may be renewed annually upon application without such notice and hearing. All applications shall include: a true and complete copy of the rules and regulations then in effect and approved by the attorney general for the manufactured housing community to be licensed; a certification from the attorney general that the rules and regulations have been approved pursuant to paragraph (5) of section thirty-two L; and a certification by an entity approved by the department of environmental protection stating that the sources of water supply and the works for the disposition of the sewage of such premises have been inspected and are sanitary and properly functioning. 

              Unless otherwise established in a town by town meeting action and in a city by city council action, and in a town with no town meeting by town council action, by adoption of appropriate by-laws and ordinances to set such fees, the fee for each original or renewal license for a manufactured housing community shall be ten dollars for each lot in the community, whether occupied or vacant, of which eighty percent shall be deposited into the Manufactured Housing Fund established in section 2CCCC of chapter twenty-nine.  The remaining twenty percent of the licensing fees shall be deposited into the general fund of the municipality pursuant to section fifty three of chapter forty four.  Such board of health shall at once notify the department of environmental protection of the granting or renewal of such a license for a manufactured housing community, and said department shall have jurisdiction to inspect the premises so licensed to determine that the sources of water supply and the works for the disposition of the sewage of such premises are sanitary. If upon inspection of any manufactured housing community the department finds the sources of water supply to be polluted or the works for the disposition of the sewage to be unsanitary, or both of such conditions, said department shall forthwith notify such board of health and such licensee to that effect by registered mail and said board shall forthwith prohibit the use of any water supply found by said department to be polluted. Unless such licensee shall, within thirty days following the giving of such notice, correct the conditions at such premises to the satisfaction of both said department and such board, the license so granted shall be suspended or revoked by such board. Any license so suspended or revoked may be reinstated by such board when the conditions at such premises, as to sources of water supply and works for the disposition of sewage, are satisfactory to said department and such board. The board of health of a city or town may adopt, and from time to time alter or amend, rules and regulations to enforce this section in such city or town. 

              No licensing or inspection fees incurred under this section shall be passed on, directly or indirectly, through a rent increase or otherwise, to any tenant, resident or occupant of the community.  

              All license applications shall include an acknowledgement signed by the licensee that said licensee is aware of the dispute resolution program created under section thirty-two T of this chapter.

              SECTION 5.  Said chapter 140 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out section 32C and inserting in place thereof the following section:-             

              Section 32C. Every board of health shall, from time to time, examine all camps, motels, and cabins licensed by it under authority of sections thirty-two B and manufactured housing communities licensed under thirty-two B1/2, and if, upon such examination, such camp, motel, cabin or manufactured housing community is found to be in an unsanitary condition, said board of health may, after notice and a hearing, suspend or revoke such license.

              SECTION 6.  Said chapter 140 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out section 32D and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

              Section 32D.  Whoever conducts, controls, manages or operates any camp, motel, or cabin licensed under section thirty-two B or a manufactured housing community licensed under section thirty-two B1/2 shall post, in a conspicuous place near the entrance to every such camp, motel, cabin or manufactured housing community or in a conspicuous place at the office of the manager on the site, a copy of the rules and regulations adopted thereunder, as most recently altered or amended.

              SECTION 7.  Section 32E of said chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby amended, by striking out the words “section thirty-two B”, in line 7, and inserting in place thereof the following words:- section thirty-two B1/2.

              SECTION 8.  Sections 32F, 32G and 32H of said chapter 140, as so appearing, are hereby amended by striking out the words “section thirty-two B”, each time it appears, and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following words:- section thirty-two B1/2.

              SECTION 9.  Section 32L of said chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the second sentence in paragraph (3) and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- A manufactured housing community owner shall not impose any conditions of rental or occupancy which restrict the resident in his choice of a seller of fuel, furnishings, goods, services or accessories connected with the rental or occupancy of a manufactured home lot, provided, however, that such seller is in compliance with applicable law and rules and regulations of the manufactured housing community approved by the attorney general or otherwise then in effect pursuant to paragraph (5) of section thirty-two L of chapter one hundred and forty, including rules imposing reasonable insurance requirements.

              SECTION 10.  Said section 32L of said chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out paragraph (5) and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-

              (5) If any manufactured housing community owner promulgates, adds, deletes or amends any rule governing the rental or occupancy of a manufactured home site in a manufactured housing community, a new copy of all such rules shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the attorney general and the director of housing and community development at least ninety days prior to the proposed effective date of such promulgation, addition, deletion or amendment. The director shall have forty-five days to review the rules for compliance with applicable housing law.  Upon completing said review, the director shall forward his conclusion to the attorney general, who shall have the remainder of said ninety day period to approve or disapprove the rules, unless the attorney general determines that an extension of the rules review period is warranted.  If the attorney general makes such a determination, the attorney general shall send written notification of such extension to the owner of the manufactured housing community, and such extension shall not exceed ninety days.  A copy of such rules shall be furnished to each manufactured housing community resident in such community along with a copy of the certified mail receipts signed by a representative of the attorney general. Such copies shall be furnished by the manufactured housing community licensee to said residents at least sixty days prior to the proposed effective date of such promulgations, addition, deletion or amendment.  If the attorney general does not take action prior to the expiration of the ninety day period or the expiration of any extension of the rules review period, such rules shall be deemed approved.  Nothing in this section shall preclude a private party from challenging such rules or portions thereof in a court of competent jurisdiction prior to or after such disapproval.

              SECTION 11.  Said section 32L of said chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in paragraph (7), the words “thirty-two S” and inserting in place thereof the following:- thirty-two T.

              SECTION 12.  Said section 32L of said chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby further amended in paragraph (7A), by striking out the words “director of housing and community development or the director’s designee”, in line 96, and inserting in place thereof the following:- the manufactured housing commission.

              SECTION 13.  Section 32P of said chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out lines 21 through 34 and inserting in place thereof the following:- The rules set forth below govern the terms of your lease or occupancy with this manufactured housing community. If these rules are changed in any way, the addition, deletion or amendment must be delivered to you, along with a copy of the certified mail receipts indicating that such change has been submitted to the attorney general and the director of housing and community development and a copy of the approvals thereof by the attorney general or a certificate signed by the owner stating that the attorney general has not taken any action with respect thereto within the period set forth in paragraph (5) of section thirty-two L of chapter one hundred and forty . This notification must be furnished to you at least sixty days before the change goes into effect. The law requires all of these rules and regulations to be fair and reasonable or said rules and regulations cannot be enforced.

              SECTION 14. Section 32R of said chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby amended in paragraph (c) by striking out the words “at least fifty-one percent” each time it appears, and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following words:- more than fifty percent.

              SECTION 15.  Section 32S of said chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the words “thirty-two S”, in line 4, and inserting in place thereof the following:- thirty-two T.

              SECTION 16. Said Chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by adding after section 32S the following new section:-

              Section 32T.  (a) There shall be a manufactured housing dispute resolution program to assist the manufactured housing community with resolving disputes.   A resident, owner or operator of a manufactured housing community may file a complaint with the attorney general alleging a violation of sections 32A to 32S, inclusive, of chapter 140, regulations promulgated by the attorney general pursuant to said sections, or community rules approved pursuant to paragraph (5) of section thirty-two L of said chapter 140.  All complaints filed under this section shall be in writing and include an acknowledgement signed by the party making the complaint that said party is aware of the dispute resolution program created under this section. 

              (b) The attorney general shall review all complaints filed under this section, and may take action upon them or refer them to the manufactured housing commission for resolution. 

              (c) Upon receipt of a complaint from the attorney general, the commission shall assign one of its members to conduct a mediation between the parties involved in the dispute.  All members of the commission may serve as mediators except members who are residents or owners of a manufactured housing community.   The mediator may gather information he deems necessary to determine whether a violation has occurred.  After hearing from the parties involved in the dispute, the mediator shall then provide recommendations for the resolution of the dispute.  If the parties accept the mediator’s proposal, or subsequently negotiate a settlement, the mediator shall notify both parties in writing of the terms agreed to by the parties involved in the dispute.  If the parties fail to agree to a resolution of the dispute during the mediation process, one or both parties may request that the commission hear and decide the dispute.  Said request shall be made in writing within thirty days of the close of the mediation.  All requests for a hearing shall include a fee of twenty-five dollars paid by the party requesting a hearing, subject to adjustment pursuant to section 3B of chapter 7, which the commission shall deposit into the manufactured housing fund established in section 2CCCC of chapter 29. 

              (d) The hearing shall be conducted by three members of the commission; 1 of whom shall be the member who is the resident of a manufactured housing community; and 1 of whom shall be the member who is the owner of a manufactured housing community.  The third member who hears the complaint shall not be the member who conducted the mediation of the complaint, and shall be chosen on an alternating basis from the two remaining commission members who are eligible to hear the complaint. Within forty five days after the hearing, the commission shall issue a written decision as to whether a violation has occurred, and shall order appropriate relief if any against the owner, the resident, the operator or any of the parties. 

              (e) No costs incurred under section 32T, including but not limited to costs to file or defend a complaint, or monies a party is ordered to pay, shall be passed on, directly or indirectly, through a rent increase or otherwise, to any tenant, resident or occupant of the community.  

              (f) All commission hearings and judicial review of commission decisions under this section shall be conducted pursuant to chapter thirty A.

              (g)  The attorney general, on request of the commission or his own initiative, or any party to the commission hearing, may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to enforce the decision.

              (h)  The commission may promulgate regulations to carry out its duties under this section.

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