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 town of Warren with respect to the housing of a substantial number of the citizens of said town, which emergency has been created by excessive, abnormally high and unwarranted rental increases imposed by some owners of mobile home parks located therein: that unless mobile home park rents and eviction of tenants are regulated and controlled, such emergency and the further inflationary pressures resulting therefrom will produce serious threats to the public health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of Warren, particularly the elderly; that such emergency should be met by the commonwealth immediately and with due regard for the rights and responsibilities of the town of Warren.
SECTION 2. The town of Warren may, by the adoption of by-laws, regulate rents for the use or occupancy of mobile home park accommodations in said town, establish a rent board for the purpose of regulating rents, minimum standards for use or occupancy of mobile home park accommodations and evictions of tenants therefrom and may, by its by-laws, 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 tenants of such mobile home park accommodations. Said board shall have all powers necessary or convenient to perform its functions. Said board may make rules and regulations, require registration by owners of mobile home park accommodations, 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 accommodations. Violations of any by-laws adopted pursuant to this act or any order of said 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 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 town 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 yields 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 rate of return as said board, on the basis of evidence presented before it, deems more appropriate to the circumstances of the case. The fair market value of the property shall be the assessed valuation of the property or such other valuation as said board, on the basis of evidence presented before it, deems more appropriate to the circumstances of the case.
Said town in its by-laws, 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 section two, as if said 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 Spencer division of the district court department shall have original jurisdiction, concurrently with the superior court, of all petitions for review brought pursuant to section fourteen of chapter thirty A of the General Laws.
The superior 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 town of Warren may by by-laws regulate the evictions of tenants, and the rent board, established under section two, may issue orders which shall be a defense to an action of summary process for possession and orders shall be reviewable pursuant to sections two and three.
SECTION 7. The personnel of the 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 acceptance by the town of Warren.