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General Laws

Section 1. The following terms as used in this chapter shall, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, have the following meanings:

“Acquisition”, the taking of real property by eminent domain, negotiated sale, or other means, by or for any public agency, or by any person or agency authorized to take by eminent domain, or by a corporation established under the provisions of chapter one hundred and twenty-one A.

“Bureau”, the bureau of relocation in the department of housing and community development.

“Business”, any lawful activity, except a farm operation, conducted primarily

(a) for the purchase, sale, lease, and rental of personal and real property, and for the manufacture, processing, or marketing of products, commodities or any other personal property;

(b) for the sale of services to the public;

(c) by a nonprofit organization; or solely for the purpose of qualifying for moving and related expenses, for assisting in the purchase, sale, resale, manufacture, processing or marketing of products, commodities, personal property, or services by the erection and maintenance of an outdoor advertising display or displays which do not necessarily have to be located on the premises on which any of the cited activities are conducted.

“Comparable replacement dwelling”, one which is:

(a) safe and sanitary, in conformance with the regulations of the department of public health entitled Article II of the state sanitary code, established pursuant to section one hundred and twenty-seven of chapter one hundred and eleven;

(b) functionally equivalent and substantially the same as the acquired dwelling with respect to number of rooms, area of living space, type of construction, and state of repair, provided it is standard and adequate in size to accommodate the displaced person;

(c) in an area not generally less desirable than the area in which the acquired dwelling is located and as similar as possible with regard to housing values, public utilities, and public and commercial facilities;

(d) within the financial means of the displaced person, the gross cost of which is not greater than twenty-five percent of gross income;

(e) reasonably accessible to the displaced person’s present or potential place of employment;

(f) available on the market to the displaced person;

(g) open to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex or national origin and consistent with the requirements of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

“Displaced person”, any person who, on or after the effective date of this act, moves from real property, or moves his personal property from real property, as a result of the acquisition of such property or the receipt of a written order to vacate real property, for a program or project undertaken by an agency or person required to provide relocation assistance under this act.

“Dwelling”, a single-family building, a single-family unit, including a nonhousekeeping unit, in a two-family or multifamily building, a unit of a condominium or cooperative housing project, a manufactured home, or other residential unit.

“Farm operation”, any activity which is conducted solely or primarily for the production of one or more agricultural products or commodities, including timber, for sale or home use, and customarily produces commodities in sufficient quantity capable of contributing materially to the operator’s support.

“Gross income”, projected annual income from all sources of each member of the family residing in the household who is at least eighteen years of age.

“Initiation of negotiations”, the date the acquiring agency makes the initial written offer to the owner of real property to be acquired for a project of an amount established by the agency as just compensation for the property. In instances where acquisition does not occur, initiation of negotiations shall mean the date of vacating.

“Person”, shall mean any natural person, trust, corporation, limited or general partnership, association, foundation, society, joint stock company, joint venture, or any form of business entity or enterprise, but shall not include an agency of the commonwealth.

“Personal property”, property which is:

(a) tangible property situated on the real property vacated or to be vacated by a displaced person and which is considered personal property and is non-compensable as real property, and

(b) in the case of a tenant, fixtures and equipment, and other property which may be characterized as real property under state or local law, but which the tenant may lawfully, and at his election, determines to move and for which the tenant is not compensated in the real property acquisition. In the case of an owner of real property, the determination as to whether an item of property is personal or real shall depend upon how it is identified in the acquisition appraisals and the closing or settlement statement with respect to the real property acquisitions; provided, that no item of property which is compensable under state and local law to the owner of real property in the real property acquisition may be treated as tangible personal property in computing actual direct losses of tangible personal property.

“Public agency”, any department, agency, board, commission, authority, or other instrumentality of the commonwealth or of a political subdivision of the commonwealth; or of two or more subdivisions thereof.

“Relocation agency”, an agency qualified under section two.

“Relocation payment”, any of the following types of payments:

(a) for families and individuals, for moving and related expenses, for assistance in the purchase of a replacement housing unit, or for assistance in the rental of a replacement housing unit;

(b) for business concerns, including nonprofit organizations and farms, for actual reasonable moving expenses, for the actual direct loss of tangible personal property, for actual reasonable expenses in searching for a replacement business, or for a fixed sum in lieu of the above equal to the business concern’s average annual net earnings, but not less than two thousand five hundred dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars.

“Relocation plan”, the plan submitted by a displacing agency to the bureau pursuant to sections four and eight.

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