Section 7: Relocation payments; alternative and additional payments; exemption from attachment or execution; exclusion from determination of eligibility for certain public benefits
Section 7. I. (A) Any agency or person specified under this act which acquires real property, or issues an order to vacate real property for purposes of rehabilitation, or demolition, or other improvement, shall make fair and reasonable relocation payments to displaced persons and businesses, upon proper application, for:
1. actual documented reasonable expenses in moving himself, his family, his business, farm operation, or other personal property;
2. actual direct losses of tangible personal property as a result of moving or discontinuing a business or farm operation, but not to exceed an amount equal to the reasonable expenses that would have been required to relocate such property, as determined by the relocation agency; and
3. actual reasonable expenses in searching for a replacement business or farm.
(B) Any displaced person eligible for payments under subsection (A) who is displaced from a dwelling and who elects to accept the payments authorized by this subsection in lieu of the payments authorized by subsection (A), may receive a moving expense allowance not to exceed three hundred dollars, determined in accordance with the prevailing fixed payment schedule of the department of highways, and a dislocation allowance of two hundred dollars.
(C) Any displaced person eligible for payments under subsection (A) who is displaced from his place of business or from his farm operation and who elects to accept the payment authorized by this subsection in lieu of the payment authorized by said subsection (A), may receive a fixed payment in an amount equal to the average annual net earnings of the business or farm operation, except that such payment shall not be less than two thousand five hundred dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars. In the case of a business, no payment shall be made under this subsection unless the business (1) cannot be relocated without a substantial loss of its existing patronage, and (2) is not part of a commercial enterprise having at least one other establishment not being acquired, which is engaged in the same or similar business. For purposes of this subsection, the term ''average annual net earnings'' means one half of any net earnings of the business or farm operation, before federal and state income taxes, during the two taxable years immediately preceding the taxable year in which such business or farm operation moves from the real property, or during such other period as the relocation agency determines to be more equitable for establishing such earnings, and includes any compensation paid by the business or farm operation to the owner, his spouse, or his dependents during such period.
II. (A) In addition to payments otherwise authorized by this act, an additional payment not in excess of fifteen thousand dollars shall be made to any displaced person who is displaced from a dwelling actually owned and occupied by such displaced person for not less than one hundred and eighty days prior to the initiation of negotiations for the acquisition of the property. Such additional payment shall include the following elements:
1. The amount, if any, which when added to the acquisition cost of the dwelling acquired, equals the reasonable cost of a comparable replacement dwelling which is decent, safe, and sanitary and adequate to accommodate such displaced person, reasonably accessible to public services and place of employment and available on the private market. The reasonable cost of a comparable replacement dwelling shall be determined by analysis of existing available standard dwellings which are functionally equivalent and substantially similar to the acquired dwelling and located in a comparable, but not less desirable, neighborhood, in accordance with a method approved by the bureau of relocation, unless otherwise provided by federal law.
2. The amount, if any, which will compensate such displaced person for any increased interest costs which such person is required to pay for financing the acquisition of any such comparable replacement dwelling. Such amount shall be paid only if the dwelling acquired was encumbered by a bona fide mortgage which was a valid lien on such dwelling for not less than one hundred and eighty days prior to the initiation of negotiations for the acquisition of such dwelling. Such amount shall be equal to the excess in the aggregate interest and other debt service costs of that amount of the principal of the mortgage on the replacement dwelling which is equal to the unpaid balance of the mortgage on the acquired dwelling, over the remainder term of the mortgage on the acquired dwelling, reduced to discounted present value. The discount rate shall be the prevailing interest rate paid on savings deposits by commercial banks in the general area in which the replacement dwelling is located.
3. Reasonable expenses incurred by such displaced person for evidence of title, recording fees, and other legal and closing costs incidental to the purchase of the replacement dwelling, but not including prepaid expenses.
(B) The additional payment authorized by this section shall be made only to such a displaced person who purchases and occupies a replacement dwelling which is decent, safe, and sanitary not later than the end of the one year period beginning on the date on which he receives final payment of all costs of the acquired dwelling, or on the date on which he moves from the acquired dwelling, whichever is the later date.
III. In addition to amounts otherwise authorized by this act, a payment shall be made to any displaced person, not eligible to receive a payment under subdivision II, who actually and lawfully occupied the dwelling from which he is displaced for not less than ninety days prior to the initiation of negotiations for acquisition of such dwelling. Such payment shall assist the displaced person:
(A) To pay any increase in cost required to lease or rent for a period of four years, a decent, safe, and sanitary comparable replacement dwelling of standards adequate to accommodate such person in an area similar with regard to economic rents to the area of displacement, but not generally less desirable in regard to public utilities and public and commercial facilities, and reasonably accessible to the displaced person's place of employment, but not to exceed four thousand dollars. The cost of a comparable replacement dwelling shall be determined by analysis of existing available standard dwellings which are functionally equivalent and substantially the same as the dwelling from which the person is displaced, provided it is standard, in accordance with a method approved by the bureau of relocation, unless otherwise provided by federal law;
(B) To make a down payment, including incidental expenses described in clause 3 of subsection (A) of subdivision II, on the purchase of a decent, safe, and sanitary dwelling of standards adequate to accommodate the displaced household, and shall be in an amount equal to the amount which would have been required to pay any increase in rent for comparable replacement housing over a four year period as defined above. In no event may the total payment exceed four thousand dollars.
All determinations required to carry out subdivisions I, II, and III shall be determined by regulations issued pursuant to section twelve, unless otherwise provided by federal law.
Any person aggrieved by a determination as to eligibility for, or the amount of, a payment authorized by this act, may have his claim reviewed by the head of the displacing agency through a grievance procedure approved by the bureau of relocation. Where such person is not satisfied with the agency's determination after such review and reconsideration, he is entitled to review of this claim by the bureau of relocation and the disposition of the bureau of said claim shall be final.
Relocation payments granted under the provisions of this chapter shall not be subject to attachment by trustee process or otherwise, nor shall they be subject to be taken on execution or other process. Payments received under this chapter shall not be considered as income for such purposes as establishing eligibility or the extent of eligibility of any person or family for publicly sponsored housing or public assistance programs including, without limitation, state and federal assistance to veterans.