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General Laws

Section 1. As used in this chapter, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:—

“Affected municipality”, a city or town in which publicly-assisted housing is located.

“Affiliate”, an entity owned or controlled by an owner or under common control with the owner.

“Affordability restriction”, a limit on rents that an owner may charge for occupancy of a rental unit in a publicly-assisted housing development or a limit on tenant income for persons or families seeking to qualify for admission to such housing.

“CEDAC”, the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation established in chapter 40H.

“Chief executive officer”, the mayor, city manager or city council in a city or the board of selectmen in a town unless otherwise designated by a municipal charter.

“Department”, the department of housing and community development or its designee as set forth in this chapter.

“Designee”, a municipality, local or regional housing authority, nonprofit or for-profit corporation or other entity qualified to do business in the commonwealth which is selected by the department to operate publicly-assisted housing that is decent, safe and sanitary affordable housing under subsection (b) of section 3.

“Enhanced section 8 vouchers”, vouchers provided under 42 U.S.C. 1437f (t) or other substantially equivalent assistance.

“Extremely low income”, a household income of not more than 30 per cent of the area median income, adjusted for household size, as periodically determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“Government program”, a program that provides government assistance under a program set forth in the definition of publicly-assisted housing.

“Low income”, a household income of not more than 80 per cent of the area median income, adjusted for household size, as periodically determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“Owner”, a person, firm, partnership, corporation, trust, organization, limited liability company or other entity, or its successors or assigns, that holds title to publicly-assisted housing.

“Prepayment”, (a) the payment in full or the refinancing of a governmental-insured or government-held mortgage loan indebtedness prior to its original maturity date; (b) the voluntary cancellation of mortgage insurance on a publicly assisted housing development; or (c) the payment in full of a government contract, any of which would have the effect of removing either: (i) the affordability restrictions applicable to publicly-assisted housing; or (ii) a requirement to renew any such affordability restrictions.

“Preserve affordability”, with respect to publicly-assisted housing, to undertake reasonable and diligent actions to retain, renew or secure subsidies affecting publicly-assisted housing in order to maintain at least the same number of units affordable to low, very low and extremely low-income households, respectively, as are currently occupied by such households, and to maintain as affordable to such households generally all units that are currently vacant, to the extent of available subsidies and taking into account the need to ensure that the publicly-assisted housing provides quality housing to its tenants. To the extent that the department determines that existing affordability does not provide quality housing to the tenants, the department shall consider affordability to a range of incomes for such units not to exceed 80 per cent of area median income as defined by United States Department of Housing and Urban Development; provided, however, that no tenant shall be displaced pursuant to the determination; and provided further, that units affordable to low, very low and extremely low-income households that are not retained, renewed or secured at the publicly-assisted housing shall be replaced with comparable deed-restricted publicly-assisted housing units at an alternative site to the extent of available subsidies and to the extent feasible.

“Protected low-income tenant”, a low-income tenant residing in publicly-assisted housing on the date of termination of the government program and whose rent was restricted by that government program.

“Publicly-assisted housing”, a housing unit or development that receives government assistance under any of the following programs: (i) section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. section 1437f, as it applies to new construction, substantial rehabilitation, moderate rehabilitation, property disposition and loan management set-aside programs or any other program providing project-based rental assistance; (ii) the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, 26 U.S.C. section 42; (iii) section 101 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965, 12 U.S.C. section 1701s, as it applies to programs for rent supplement assistance thereunder; (iv) section 202 of the Housing Act of 1959, 12 U.S.C. section 1701q; (v) the below market interest rate program codified at section 221(d)(3) of the National Housing Act, 12 U.S.C. section 1715 (d)(3) and (5); (vi) section 221(d)(4) of the National Housing Act, 12 U.S.C. section 17151 (d)(4), to the extent the project’s rents are restricted pursuant to a government agreement; (vii) section 236 of the National Housing Act, 12 U.S.C. section 1715z-l; (viii) section 515 of the Housing Act of 1949, 42 U.S.C. section 1485; (ix) section 521 of the Housing Act of 1949, 42 U.S.C. section 1490a; (x) the Urban Development Action Grant, 42 U.S.C. section 5318, to the extent that the affordability of dwelling units subject to such program are restricted pursuant to a government agreement; (xi) the Housing Development Action Grant, 42 U.S.C. section 1437, to the extent the project’s rents are restricted pursuant to a government agreement; (xii) section 13A of chapter 708 of the acts of 1966; (xiii) the voucher program provided for annually in item 7004-9024 of section 2 of the general appropriation act as that program applies to project-based rental assistance; (xiv) the Massachusetts low income housing tax credit program established in section 6I of chapter 62; (xv) the State Housing Assistance for Rental Production, established pursuant to chapter 574 of the acts of 1983; or (xvi) chapter 121A to the extent that the affordability of dwelling units are restricted pursuant to a written agreement with the affected municipality.

“Purchase contract”, a binding written agreement whereby an owner agrees to sell publicly-assisted housing including, without limitation, a purchase and sale agreement, contract of sale, purchase option or other similar instrument.

“Regulatory agreement”, an affordable housing restriction that establishes an owner’s obligations created pursuant to the efforts of the department or its designee to preserve affordability and which is consistent with section 31 of chapter 184; provided, however, that in any project that is eligible for participation in the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Mark Up to Market Program, the restriction, insofar as it relates to the limiting of the level of rents, shall not apply to units covered by a section 8 housing assistance payment contract so long as such contract is effective.

“Sale”, an act by which an owner conveys, transfers or disposes of property by deed or otherwise, whether through a single transaction or a series of transactions, within a 2 year period; provided, however, that a disposition of publicly-assisted housing by an owner to an affiliate of such owner shall not constitute a sale.

“Subsidy”, public financial assistance including, but not limited to, grants, loans, rental assistance, tax credits, tax abatements, mortgage financing, mortgage insurance, assistance pursuant to any government program or any other form of assistance intended to make housing affordable to low, very low and extremely low-income households.

“Tenant”, a person entitled to possession or occupancy of a rental unit within publicly-assisted housing, including a subtenant, lessee and sublessee.

“Tenant organization”, an organization established by the tenants of publicly-assisted housing for the purpose of addressing issues related to their living environment and which meets regularly, operates democratically, is representative of all residents in the development, is completely independent of owners, management and their representatives and which has filed a notice of its existence with CEDAC; provided, however, that no owner or other third party shall be required to ascertain the organization’s compliance with this definition.

“Termination”, the cessation, discharge or removal of an affordability restriction affecting publicly-assisted housing in the absence of a simultaneous replacement of that restriction with an equivalent affordability restriction including, but not limited to: (i) nonrenewal or termination, in whole or in part, of a government program contract; (ii) expiration, in whole or in part, of an affordability restriction under a government program or the requirement to renew the restriction; (iii) payment in full of a government program mortgage loan; or (iv) prepayment of a government program mortgage loan.

“Time for performance”, the date for delivery of the deed or other document evidencing a sale pursuant to a purchase contract or any extension thereof.

“Very low income”, having a household income of not more than 60 per cent of the area median income, adjusted for household size, as periodically determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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