Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. The general court finds and declares that a serious public emergency exists in the city of Springfield with respect to the housing of substantial number of citizens of said city, which relates to unwarranted rental increases imposed by some owners of mobile parks located therein; that unless mobile home park rents and eviction of tenants are regulated and controlled, such emergency will produce serious threats to the public health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of Springfield, particularly the elderly; that such emergency should be met by the commonwealth immediately and with due regard for the rights and responsibilities of the city of Springfield.
SECTION 2. The city of Springfield, may, by adoption of ordinances, regulate rents for the use or occupancy of mobile home park accommodations in said city, establish a mobile home rent board for the purpose of regulating rents, minimum standards for use or occupancy of mobile home park accommodations and eviction of tenants therefrom and may, by its ordinances, require registration by owners of mobile home park accommodations, information, under penalty of perjury, relating to the mobile home park accommodations. Such rents, standards and evictions may be regulated by the rent board so as to remove hardships or correct inequities for both the owner and the tenants of such mobile home park accommodations. The rent board shall consist of five residents of the city appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council after review by its planning and economic development committee. The first five appointments to this board shall be staggered in length of service, the first appointee to serve one year, the second appointee to serve two years, the third appointee to serve three years, the fourth appointee to serve four years and the fifth appointee to serve five years. All subsequent appointments shall be for five year periods. Said rent board shall have all powers necessary or convenient to perform its functions may make rules and regulations, require registration by owners of mobile home park accommodations, require information, under penalty of perjury, relating to the mobile home park accommodations, sue and be sued, compel the attendance of persons and the production of papers and information, and issue appropriate orders which shall be binding on both the owner and tenants of such mobile home park accommodation. Violations of any ordinance adopted pursuant to this act or any order of the mobile home rent board shall be punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars for any one offense.
SECTION 3. In regulating such rents, the mobile home rent board established under section two may make such individual or general adjustments, either upward or downward, as may be necessary to assure that rents for mobile home park accommodations in the city are established at levels which yield to owners a fair net operating income for such units. Fair net operating income shall be that income which will yield a return, after all reasonable operating expenses, on the fair market value of the property equal to the debt service rate generally available from institutional first mortgage lenders or such other rates of return as the board on the basis of evidence presented before it, deems more appropriate to the circumstances of the case.
Said city in its ordinance or the rent board by regulation may establish further standards and rules consistent with this act.
SECTION 4. The provisions of chapter thirty A of the General Laws shall be applicable to the rent board, established under the provisions of section two, as if said rent board were an agency of the commonwealth, including those provisions giving agencies the power to issue, vacate, modify and enforce subpoenas, and those provisions relating to judicial review of an agency order.
SECTION 5. The Springfield division of the district court department, shall have original jurisdiction, concurrently with housing court department and the superior court department, of all petitions for review brought pursuant to section fourteen of chapter thirty A of the General Laws.
The superior court department and the housing court department shall have jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of this act, and any by-laws adopted thereunder, and may restrain violations thereof.
SECTION 6. The city of Springfield may by its ordinances, regulate the evictions of tenants, and the rent board, established under the provisions of section two, may issue orders which shall be a defense to an action of summary process for possession and such orders shall be reviewable pursuant to sections two and three.
SECTION 7. The personnel of the mobile home rent board established under section two shall not be subject to the provisions of section nine A of chapter thirty or chapter thirty-one of the General Laws.
SECTION 8. This act shall take effect upon its passage.