[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Abington 4-3-2006 ATM by Art. 8.
Editor's Note: This Article also superseded former Ch. 35, Condominium Conversions, derived from Ch. 13 of the 1992 Town of Abington Bylaws, as amended.
The Town of Abington, acting by and through its Town Meeting, finds and declares that a serious public emergency exists within the Town with respect to the availability and affordability of rental housing to citizens of said Town, particularly to elderly and handicapped persons and to families of low and moderate income; that this emergency results from the aggravated local impact of factors set forth in Chapter 527 of the Acts of 1983, most particularly from limited rental housing development, prolonged increases in sales and rental housing costs exceeding increases in personal income, the increased pressures on the Town's housing stock from the metropolitan housing market and the conversion of existing rental housing to more expensive condominiums or cooperative sales housing; that this rental housing shortage generates serious threats to the public health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the Town; that increased protection of the present tenants of rental housing and of future occupants of converted units, requires local action including establishment of provisions protecting a greater portion of the rental housing stock, extending the effective conversion notice period, lessening tenant uncertainty regarding conversion plans, encouraging appropriate safety improvements to converted housing, and establishing a local permit system to regulate and oversee the conversion process; and that this Bylaw is accordingly adopted pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 527 of the Acts of 1983.
To provide the community with the ability to oversee and regulate the conversion of property for use as condominium or cooperative housing.
To assure compliance with state and local regulations for the construction and physical features of buildings which are to be used for condominiums.
To require landlords who seek to convert their rental property into condominium, cooperative, or other form of non-rental property to give their tenants a reasonable period of notice before evicting them in furtherance of the conversion. Such prior notice will provide the potentially displaced tenants with sufficient time to examine the housing market, evaluate available housing alternatives, formulate future housing plans, secure any necessary financing and decided whether to acquire the housing accommodations being converted or to relocate.
APPLICANT — A person who records, or proposes to record, the condominium instruments or on whose behalf the condominium instruments are recorded, thereby subjecting the property to condominium ownership, and includes successors or persons who come to stand in the same relation to the condominium development as all applicants.
- The Planning Board of the Town of Abington.
- CONDOMINIUM CONVERSION
- Creation of units for condominium or cooperative ownership in a building, which was at any time before the recording of the declaration wholly or partially occupied by persons other than purchasers and persons who occupied with the consent of the purchasers.
- CONDOMINIUM OR COOPERATIVE CONVERSION EVICTION
- An eviction of a tenant by a landlord or any agent thereof for the purpose of removing such tenant from a housing accommodation in connection with the initial sale and transfer of legal title to that housing accommodation to a prospective purchaser as a condominium unit, cooperative or similar form of ownership, or, an eviction of a tenant by any other person who has purchased a housing accommodation when the tenant whose eviction is sought was a resident of that housing accommodation as a condominium unit, cooperative or unit held in a similar form of ownership. A conversion eviction shall not include an eviction by reason of the tenants; substantial violations of the terms of the tenancy.
- CONDOMINIUM UNIT
- A unit of a condominium as that is defined in Chapter 183A of the Massachusetts General Laws or any successor statute with respect to condominiums (the "condominium statute").
- COOPERATIVE UNIT
- A unit in a housing cooperative as set forth in Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 157.
- ELDERLY TENANT
- A tenant who is a person or group of persons residing in the same housing accommodation any of who has reached the age of 60 years or over as of the date of receipt of the notice provided for hereunder.
- HANDICAPPED PERSON
- A person as defined in Sections 3(2) of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 as amended by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.
- HOUSING ACCOMMODATION
- Any building, structure, or part thereof or land appurtenant thereto, or any other real or personal property rented or offered for rent for living or dwelling purposes containing three or more dwelling units, together with all services connected with the use or occupancy of such property.
- The individual who holds legal title to any housing accommodations in any manner including, but not limited to, a partnership, corporation or trust. For the purposes of this Bylaw, the rights and duties of a landlord hereunder shall be the obligated of anyone who manages, controls, or customarily accepts rent on behalf of the landlord.
- LOW AND MODERATE INCOME HOUSING
- Households whose total income for the previous year was equal to or less than the qualification income for the Section 8 Housing Assistance Program as designated from time to time by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development pursuant to Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1927 as amended by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 and calculated pursuant to such regulations.
- RENTAL HOUSING AGREEMENT
- An agreement, verbal, written or implied between a landlord and a tenant for use or occupancy of a housing accommodation or for housing services.
- Any person entitled under the terms of a rental housing agreement to the use and occupancy of any housing accommodation or for housing services.
- UNJUSTIFIABLE RENT INCREASE
- Any rent increase exceeding that allowed by consumer price index, 10% maximum, and Tax Escalation Clause provisions of the Section 4(3) of Chapter 527 of the Acts of 1983.
This Bylaw shall be applicable to all multi-family dwellings located within the Town of Abington which contain three or more dwelling units which are proposed to be converted to condominium or cooperative ownership subsequent to the effective date of this Bylaw.
As required by Chapter 527 of the Acts of 1983 provisions which go beyond the protection in that Act do not apply to certain federally insured, Mass. Housing Finance Agency-financed, or adoptive-reuse-created units listed in Section 2 of that Act.
A condominium or cooperative conversion issued by the Planning Board is required for conversion of existing structures to condominium or cooperative ownership, and such permits shall be required prior to the filing of a master deed pursuant to the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 183A.
Anyone wishing to apply for a condominium or cooperative conversion permit shall give notice to the tenants according to this Bylaw and Chapter 527 of the Acts of 1983, and then shall file an application with the Town Clerk for transmittal to the Planning Board.
Any application for a condominium or cooperative conversion permit shall be accompanied by a filing fee under the fee schedule established by the Planning Board and approved by the Board of Selectmen, and by copies of notices of intent and other items required by the Planning Board.
Within 60 days of the receipt of a properly executed application at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Planning Board, the Planning Board shall hold a public hearing. Notice of the time and place of such public hearing, of the subject matter, sufficient for identification, and of the place where texts and maps thereof may be inspected shall published in the newspaper of general circulation in the Town once in each of two successive weeks, the first publication to be not less than 14 days before the day of the hearing and by posting such notice in a conspicuous place in the Town Hall for a period of not less than 14 days before the day of said hearing. Notice of said hearing shall also be sent by mail, postage prepaid, to the applicant, owners, and tenants.
Within 30 days following the public hearing, the Planning Board shall take final action on the application. Failure to take final action shall be deemed to be a grant of the permit applied for.
Condominium or cooperative conversion permits can only be granted by at least four members of the Planning Board voting in the affirmative.
A copy of the attested condominium or cooperative conversion permit shall be a part of and attached to the master deed recorded pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 183A. The applicant shall notify the Town Clerk within 10 days of recording a master deed.
Permits shall expire if a master deed is not filed within 12 months of permit issuance, and an eighteen-month period shall elapse before a subsequent permit application may be filed.
The Planning Board must approve any such application if it finds that the applicant has fully complied with all the conditions and requirements of the Bylaw.
An applicant who intends to convert a rental building to a condominium or cooperative ownership is required to give each tenant in such building notice of this intention. Such notice must precede application for a condominium or cooperative conversion permit as per § 35-5B.
No applicant will be allowed to bring an action to recover possession of the premises (i.e., to evict a tenant) within the 12 months following the recording of a master deed, or within 24 months of such recording in the case of low and moderate income, handicapped or elderly tenants as defined in § 35-3.
The notice of intention to convert must set forth generally the rights of a tenant under this Bylaw and must include a copy of this Bylaw as an attachment. The notice shall be mailed postage prepaid by registered mail, return receipt requested, to the tenant at the unit or any other mailing address provided by the tenant.
The Board shall have the right to deny an applicant a condominium or cooperative conversion permit if sufficient testimony is presented indicating that the tenants' right under § 35-6A to G of this Bylaw were violated prior to the application's filing date. The Board shall also have the right to revoke a permit if sufficient testimony at a subsequent hearing called upon petition of five tenants is presented to indicate that tenants' rights have been violated during the applicable twelve- or twenty-four-month periods. The Board shall exercise these rights when it determines that the intent of this Bylaw has been so compromised.
No tenant may be given notice by the applicant to vacate the premises within the applicable twelve- or twenty-four-month period provided in § 35-6A above, except by reason of substantial violations of the terms of the tenancy.
Any tenant under a lease entered into a subsequent to the effective date of this Bylaw shall have the right at any time after receipt of a notice to convert pursuant to this Bylaw, to terminate the lease upon notice. Such termination shall be without penalty or other termination charge to the tenant.
Within 60 days after recording a master deed pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 183A, the applicant shall offer to sell each unit or proposed unit to the tenant who rents or leases that unit. Such an offer shall be in the form of a properly executed purchase and sale agreement. The terns and conditions shall be substantially the same as, or more favorable than, those offered to the general public for the 90 days following expiration of said tenants' right to purchase pursuant to 5.4(e) of Chapter 527 of the Acts of 1983. The tenants' right to first purchase expires 90 days after receipt of the applicant's offer to sell.
The tenant in a conversion condominium or cooperative shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the applicant to enter the unit in order to inspect the premises, obtain data or show the unit to prospective or actual workers or purchasers. The applicant shall give the tenant at least two days' notice of his intent and may enter only at reasonable times.
It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in any act of harassment against a tenant which is designed to, or is likely to result in the termination of the tenancy by the tenant. Conduct which shall be considered harassment shall include, but not be limited to, the following: failure of the landowner to make repairs in a timely and professional manner; imposition by the landowner of unjustifiable increases in the rental price of a unit; failure of the landowner to provide the tenant with essential services; verbal harassment and/or threats by the landowner against the tenant.
Any person violating any provision of this Bylaw, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $25 for each offense. Each one-day period that willful violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
This Bylaw shall not interfere with or annul any Bylaw, rule, regulation or permit, provided that, unless specifically exempted, where this Bylaw is more stringent, it shall control.
The provisions of this section are severable. If a court declares invalid any such provision or its application to any person or circumstance, the invalidity shall not affect the validity of any other provision or application.