Notice Requirements and Purchase Opportunities in Massachusetts

Chapter 40T of the General Laws requires owners of publicly-assisted housing to provide 24 and 12 month notices to the tenants, tenant organization, municipality, state technical finance corporation and state housing department, prior to terminating an “affordability restriction” relating to rent or income limits.

Where an owner seeks to sell publicly-assisted housing, the law also grants the state housing department or its designee an opportunity to submit an offer to purchase the property as well as a right of first refusal. The owner must notify the department prior to a sale, after which the department has 90 days to submit a purchase offer, though the owner is under no obligation to sell. Upon the expiration of the 90-day offer period, but not later than two years after the original notice to the department, the owner may execute a purchase contract with a third party. However, within seven days of execution, the owner must submit the third-party purchase contract, along with a separate proposed purchase contract to the department, containing substantially the same terms and conditions, which the department has 30 days to accept. Both the opportunity to submit an offer and the right of first refusal are exempt from certain situations, including: eminent domain; forced sale pursuant to or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure; a sale to a purchaser that preserves affordability as determined by the department; sales of projects with only project-based Section 8 assistance in which the buyer agrees in a regulatory agreement to renew in whole all such contracts or successor program; a sale to an owner affiliate not deemed to be a termination; a sale of publicly-assisted housing that is still 15 years from its first scheduled termination date; and a sale pursuant to a purchase contract in effect on the effective date of Chapter 40T. The purchase rights continue to apply for four years after the last termination event. Furthermore, for three years following a termination, the rent charged to a low-income tenant who does not receive an enhanced voucher may be increased annually by no more than the consumer price index plus three percent. For the same three-year period, any tenant who resided in the housing as of the termination date may not be evicted except for good cause.

From 2010 - 2012, more than 8,600 units of affordable housing were preserved. 

Contributed By: 
National Housing Law Project

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