Maine Landlord-Tenant Law: FAQs
Let’s understand Maine landlord-tenant law and regulations through the following –
Are there rent control/rent stabilization policies or laws in Maine?
The state of Maine has not established rent control or stabilization practices.
What is the maximum amount I can collect as a security deposit?
A landlord shall not demand or receive a security deposit in excess of 2 months’ rent.
Do I need to pay interest on the security deposit?
No, the landlord does not need to pay interest on the security deposit.
Are there requirements for where a security deposit must be held, for example, in a separate escrow account?
Yes, the security deposit must be held in a separate escrow account.
My tenant has moved out, what do I do with their security deposit?
Under Maine landlord-tenant law, the landlord must return the full security deposit within 21 days if not stated in the lease. If the lease specifies in writing that the security deposit will be returned within 30 days then 30 days after lease termination the security deposit may be returned. If there is cause for retaining the security deposit or any portion of it, the landlord shall provide the tenant with a written statement itemizing the reasons for the retention along with a full payment of the difference between the security deposit and the amount retained to the tenant’s last known address.
What is a common problem where security deposits are concerned?
At times landlords may try claiming deductions for items that are often characterized by the court as normal wear and tear. This situation may be prevented by realistically evaluating each deduction, providing proof of damage as well as including repair receipts and pictures.
May I charge a late rent or a returned payment fee?
According to Maine regulation a rent payment is late if it is not made within 15 days from the time the payment is due. It is only after such time that a landlord may assess a penalty no more than 4% of the amount due for 1 month.
Landlords may charge tenants a fee not to exceed $50 for a returned payment. The tenant is liable and subject to civil penalties if no payment is made.
- Landlords must give notice that the check has been dishonored. The notice must state to whom the check was payable, the amount, date, and number of the check, and the name of the bank on which the check is drawn.
- The notice must also contain a warning that failure to pay within 10 days will subject the tenant to additional costs which include court costs, processing charges incurred by the landlord, interest at the rate of 12% per year from the date of failed payment, and attorney’s fees.
How can I end a Maine lease agreement?
Unless otherwise specified within the lease, or if a tenant is a tenant at will; (a tenant without a written lease) landlords or tenants must give 30 day advance notice prior to lease termination.
What are the Landlord’s legal rights when a tenant remains after a lease has ended or terminated?
Under Maine landlord-tenant law, a landlord has 7 days to file an action, otherwise it turns into a tenancy at will which requires 30 days notice to terminate.
Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease agreement?
A landlord may be forced to release a tenant from a contractual agreement when the dwelling unit or premise is damaged and/or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, deeming the rental property unlivable, or If the tenant is called to active military duty. Additionally, a tenant may seek release from a rental agreement with the court when a landlord does not abide by the state’s landlord obligations.
How long does the eviction process take?
As with any legal matter, exact timing is almost impossible as it depends on many factors. Overall, with no complications, the eviction process usually takes approximately 4-5 weeks.
Can I require my tenants to obtain renter’s insurance?
Landlords may require tenants to obtain rental insurance.
How do I tell if my tenant has “skipped” out of the apartment?
Often times it’s best to look for the obvious, such as removal of personal goods, whether or not the tenant has come back to the premises at any time during a one week period, and simply no food in the refrigerator. It’s extremely important to document all of the “proof” gathered in order to determine abandonment. When in doubt, if payment of rent has not been made, the landlord may always file for eviction.
Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
A landlord may establish a “No Smoking” policy by providing so in the Lease.
Do I have to give the tenant notice before I enter the rental property?
Under Maine landlord-tenant law, the landlord shall have the right to enter the leased premises at reasonable times and hours, after 24 hours notice has been given to the tenant, unless in cases of emergency.
In Maine, how much advance notice must a landlord provide a renter before they vacate?
Under Maine landlord-tenant law, the tenant must receive either a 30-day or 7-day written notice of termination from the landlord, or they can combine both into one notice. Any notification must inform the tenant of their legal opportunity to challenge the eviction. It is referred to as a “Notice to Quit.”
What is the most a landlord can raise the rent in Maine?
For the calendar year 2023, the permitted increase percentage is 7.0%. For 2022, the permitted increase percentage was 4.3%.
Can a landlord enter without permission in Maine?
Not at all. The tenant must be given “reasonable notice” if the landlord wishes to enter the rental unit to perform non-emergency repairs or examine the dwelling. This implies giving at least a day’s notice.
In Maine, how long does it take to evict a renter?
The process and timeline for evicting a tenant in Maine can vary depending on the specific circumstances and reasons for the eviction.
Generally, if a tenant has violated the lease agreement, the landlord must first provide the tenant with a written notice to cure the violation or quit the premises. The amount of time given to the tenant to cure the violation or move out depends on the specific terms of the lease agreement, but it is typically at least seven days.
If the tenant fails to cure the violation or moves out within the specified time period, the landlord can then file a complaint for eviction with the court. The court will then schedule a hearing, and if the judge rules in favor of the landlord, a writ of possession will be issued.
The writ of possession gives the tenant a certain amount of time, usually between 48 and 72 hours, to vacate the property. If the tenant does not leave, the landlord can request a constable or sheriff to physically remove the tenant and their belongings from the property.
Overall, the eviction process in Maine can take several weeks or even months, depending on the specific circumstances and any legal challenges or delays that may arise.
Is Maine a landlord-friendly state?
Yes, Maine is a very landlord-friendly state. In fact, the state of Maine has some of the most progressive landlord/tenant laws in the nation when it comes to rental housing. For starters, a landlord’s right to evict for any violation of a lease or rental agreement (including nonpayment) is protected by law and enforced by local courts. Landlords also benefit from reasonable provisions for entry into units and access to common areas; notice requirements are all clearly delineated in law that are consistent from one municipality to another, so there’s no confusion as to what rights landlords have when it comes to accessing their own property.
Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. The law is subject to change due to both legislation and court decisions. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue. An attorney client relationship is not created by the presentation of this information.