Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to immediately provide a solution to a housing emergency in the commonwealth, therefore it is hereby declared an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY. The general court finds and declares that a serious public emergency exists within the commonwealth, with respect to the housing of a substantial number of citizens of the commonwealth who are mobile home owners and residents. This housing emergency has been created by the lack of sufficient production of housing that is affordable for rental or purchase by low and moderate income citizens and by the elderly, by prolonged increases in housing costs at a rate substantially exceeding increases in personal income and by increased costs of new housing construction and finance, all of which have been combined to make mobile home ownership the only viable form of home ownership for many elderly and low and moderate income citizens. It has also been created by increased local restrictions on the siting of mobile homes, by the absence of the development of new mobile home parks, and by the increased value of mobile home park land for other uses which has led and continues to lead to mobile home park discontinuances. A substantial and increasing shortage of mobile home sites and mobile home accommodations, especially for the elderly and persons and families of low and moderate income and the substantial and increasing cost and difficulty of relocating mobile homes, have been and will continue to be the result of this emergency. Unless mobile home owners receive further protection in relocating their homes upon mobile home park discontinuances than the law now affords, this increasing shortage of mobile home park sites and increasing cost of relocation will generate serious threats to the public health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the commonwealth, particularly the elderly and persons of low and moderate income. It is therefore necessary that such emergency be dealt with immediately.
SECTION 2. Section 32L of chapter 140 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out subsection 7, as appearing in the 1984 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following two subsections:-
7. Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this section shall constitute an unfair and deceptive trade practice under the provisions of paragraph (a) of section two of chapter ninety-three A. Enforcement of compliance and actions for damages shall be in accordance with the applicable provisions of section four to ten, inclusive, of said chapter ninety-three A.
7A. Any mobile home park licensee having given notice, pursuant to this section, of a pending discontinuance shall survey within the period of notice given to tenants, all of the mobile home parks within a one hundred mile radius which are known to the licensee or which reasonably can be ascertained by him, to determine if any mobile home sites are available or will become available during the notice period. The licensee shall prominently post at the park all of the information received regarding such available spaces. Such survey shall be done at least once each year during the two year notice period. The second survey shall be completed and posted not less than one hundred and twenty days prior to the end of the notice period. The mobile home park licensee shall pay to any tenant who is entitled to receive notice pursuant to this section, relocation benefits of two thousand dollars. Such relocation benefits shall be payable within fourteen days of the departure of such tenant and the removal of the mobile home unit from the park. In the event that the tenant fails to remove the unit from the park and the park owner is required to remove said unit pursuant to the provisions of chapter two hundred and thirty-nine, the relocation benefits shall be reduced by an amount equal to the documented out-of-pocket moving costs incurred by the park owner for the physical removal of the said unit. Any mobile home park licensee shall provide to each tenant who is entitled to receive relocation benefits pursuant to this section, a rental agreement. Such agreement shall begin on the date of the issuance of the notice of discontinuance. The provisions of such rental agreement shall not alter in any manner the tenancy arrangement existing between the park owner and tenant prior to issuance of the notice of discontinuance, except with respect to the amount of annual rent, which may be increased by an amount not to exceed the increase in the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers, published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, from the calendar year immediately preceding the date upon which such rental agreement is commenced plus the proportionate amount of any documented increase in real estate taxes or other municipal fee or charge; provided, however, that the total amount of such increase shall not exceed ten per cent of the annual rent charged in the immediately preceding year; and provided, further, that once a tenant has received a notice of discontinuance, his rent shall not be increased unless a year has passed from the date of the last increase imposed upon such tenant.
SECTION 3. Said section 32L of said chapter 140 is hereby further amended by striking out subsection 10.
SECTION 4. Said chapter 140 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 32Q the following section:-
Section 32R. In any instance in which a mobile home park owner has been sent a certified letter from an incorporated home owners' association indicating that such association has at least fifty-one per cent of the home owners residing within said park as members and has articles of incorporation specifying all rights and powers, including the power to negotiate for, acquire and operate the mobile home park on behalf of the member residents, then, before a mobile home park may be sold for any purpose and before it may be leased for any purpose that would result in a discontinuance, the owner shall notify said association by certified mail of any bona fide offer that the owner intends to accept, to buy the park or to lease it for a use that would result in a discontinuance. The park owner shall also give notice by certified mail to the incorporated home owners' association of any intention to sell or lease the park for a use which will result in a discontinuance within fourteen days of any advertisement or other public notice by the owner or his agent that the park is for sale or the land upon which the park is located is for lease.
The notice to the home owners' association shall include the price, calculated as a single lump sum amount which reflects the present value of any installment payments offered and of any promissory notes offered in lieu of cash payments or, in the case of an offer to rent the capitalized value of the annual rent, and the terms and conditions of the offer. Any incorporated home owners' association entitled to notice under this section shall have the right to purchase, in the case of a third party bona fide offer to purchase, or to lease in the case of a third party bona fide offer to lease, the said park, provided it meets the price and substantially equivalent terms and conditions of any offer of which it is entitled to notice under this section by (1) executing a contract or purchase and sale or lease agreement with the owner within forty-five days of notice of the offer and (2) obtaining any necessary financing or guarantees within an additional forty-five days. No owner shall unreasonably refuse to enter into, or unreasonably delay the execution of a purchase and sale or lease agreement with a home owners' association that has made a bona fide offer to meet the price and substantially equivalent terms and conditions of an offer for which notice is required to be given pursuant to this section. Failure of the incorporated home owners' association to execute such a purchase and sale agreement or lease within the first forty-five day period or to obtain a binding commitment for financing within the second forty-five day period shall serve to terminate the right of such association to purchase or lease the mobile park home. The time periods herein provided may be extended by agreement of the association and the owner. Nothing herein shall be construed to require an owner to provide financing to any association or to prohibit an owner from requiring an association which is offering to lease a park to have within its possession a sum equivalent to the capitalized value of the proposed rent of the park and requiring that a portion of such sum, of an amount necessary to pay the rent on said park for a period of no greater than two years, be kept in escrow for such purpose during the term of the lease.
The right of first refusal created herein shall inure to a home owners' association for the time periods hereinbefore provided, beginning on the date of notice to the home owners' association. The effective period of such right of first refusal shall obtain separately for each substantially different bona fide offer to purchase the park or to lease it for a purpose that would result in a discontinuance, and for each offer substantially equivalent to an offer made more than three months prior to the later offer; provided, however, that in the case of a substantially equivalent offer made by a prospective buyer who has previously made an offer for which notice to a home owners' association was required by this section, the right of first refusal shall obtain only if such subsequent offer is made more than six months after the earlier offer. The right of first refusal shall not apply with respect to any offer received by the owner for which notice to a home owners' association is not required pursuant to this section.
No right of first refusal shall apply to a government taking by eminent domain or negotiated purchase, a forced sale pursuant to a foreclosure, transfer by gift, devise or operation of law, or a sale to a person who would be included within the table of descent and distribution if there were to be a death intestate of a park owner.
In any instance in which the incorporated home owners' association of a mobile home park is not the successful purchaser or lessee of such mobile home park, the seller or lessor of such park shall prove compliance with this section by filing an affidavit of compliance in the official records of the county where the property is located within seven days of the sale or lease of the park.
SECTION 5. The provisions of this act shall not apply to a licensee who has complied with the notice provisions of sections thirty-two J and thirty-two L of chapter one hundred and forty of the General Laws prior to July first, nineteen hundred and eighty-six.