Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. The general court finds and declares that: a serious public emergency exists with respect to the housing of a substantial number of citizens in the town of Kingston; this emergency has been created by excessive, abnormally high and unwarranted rental increases imposed by some owners of manufactured housing communities located in the town; unless manufactured housing community rents and eviction of tenants are regulated and controlled, this emergency will produce serious threats to the public health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the town, particularly the elderly; and this emergency should be met by the commonwealth immediately and with due regard for the rights and responsibilities of the town of Kingston.
SECTION 2. The town of Kingston may, by its by-laws, regulate rents for the use or occupancy of manufactured housing accommodations in the town, establish a rent board for the purpose of regulating units, minimum standards for use or occupancy of manufactured housing communities and eviction of tenants therefrom and may, by its by-laws, require registration by owners of manufactured housing communities under penalty of perjury, of information relating to the manufactured housing communities. 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 manufactured housing communities. The rent board shall have all the powers necessary or convenient to perform its functions, may make rules and regulations, require registration by owners of manufactured housing communities, under penalty of perjury, of information relating to the manufactured housing communities, 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 manufactured housing communities. Violations of any by-law adopted pursuant to this act or any order of the rent board shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.
SECTION 3. (a) In regulating rents for such manufactured housing communities, the rent board established under section 2 may make such individual or general adjustments, either upward or downward, as may be necessary to assure that rents for manufactured housing communities in the town are established at levels which yield to owners a fair net operating 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 other rates of return that the board, on the basis of evidence presented before it, considers more appropriate to the circumstances of the case. The fair market value of the property shall be the assessed valuation of the property or other valuation that the board, on the basis of evidence presented before it, considers more appropriate to the circumstances of the case. (b) The town in its by-laws or the rent board by regulation may establish further standards and rules consistent with this act.
SECTION 4. Chapter 30A of the General Laws shall apply to the rent board, established under section 2, as if the 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. (a) The Plymouth division of the district court department shall have original jurisdiction, concurrently with the superior court, of all petitions for review brought pursuant to section 14 of chapter 30A of the General Laws. (b) The superior court shall have jurisdiction to enforce this act and any by-laws adopted under this act and may restrain violations thereof.
SECTION 6. The town of Kingston may by its by-laws regulate the eviction of tenants, and the rent board, established under section 2, may issue orders which shall be a defense to actions of summary process for possession, and such orders shall be reviewable pursuant to sections 4 and 5.
SECTION 7. The personnel of the rent board established under section 2 shall not be subject to section 9A of chapter 30 or chapter 31 of the General Laws.
SECTION 8. This act shall take effect upon its passage.