Summary of Condominium, Cooperative Ordinance
WHEN IT APPLIES
The ordinance exempts certain kinds of properties, including mobile homes, publicly owned or subsidized or federally assisted housing accommodations, hotels and other transient housing, public institutions, school dormitories, limited equity coops for low to moderate income persons, etc. An owner may check with the Boston Rental Housing Center to ascertain whether the ordinance applies to a particular building.
The owner of a building in Boston consisting of four or more rental units may convert his or her building to condominiums or cooperatives, but the landlord must comply with the ordinance, which gives additional eviction rights to any tenants living in the units at the time of the initial sale or transfer of legal title as a condo or coop. Initial sale or transfer includes any activity leading to a change in ownership to a condo or coop, including marketing or advertisement as a condo or coop.
TENANTS’ RIGHTS UNDER THE ORDINANCE
- Notice Periods: Elderly, disabled, and/or low or moderate-income tenants must be given a five-year condominium or cooperative conversion eviction notice before a landlord can commence an eviction action for condominium conversion. All other tenants are entitled to a one-year notice.
- Right of First Refusal to Purchase Unit: Tenants are entitled to purchase their units before anyone else has a chance to buy them, on the same or more favorable terms as those which are offered to the public. This must be done in the form of a 90-day Purchase and Sale Agreement.
- Relocation Assistance: A landlord must provide elderly, disabled, or low or moderate income tenants with assistance in locating accessible and comparable apartments within the City of Boston.
- Limitations on Rent Increases: Rent increases are restricted during the notice period to the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or 10%, whichever is less.
- Just Cause Evictions: Tenants under notice may not be evicted without a good reason. Landlords must prove such reason, or “just cause”, in court.
- Relocation Benefit: Tenants who voluntarily vacate their units during the notice period and are current in their rent are entitled to a relocation benefit from their landlords. As of 12/3/2014, when the ordinance was last extended, elderly, disabled and/or low or moderate-income tenants are entitled to a relocation benefit per household of $10,000. Everyone else is entitled to a relocation benefit of $6,000 per household.
NOTE: Tenants being displaced because of condo or coop conversion who reside in other Massachusetts cities and towns may have rights pursuant to the State condominium law, Chapter 527.