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Maine Landlord-Tenant Laws

Maine Landlord Tenant LawsThis article is intended to be an online resource for Maine landlords.  We summarize key Maine Landlord-Tenant laws that are most applicable to residential rental units.

This article is not qualified legal advice.  Individuals seeking guidance need to work with a legal advisor who is qualified in the jurisdiction.  Maine Landlord Tenant Laws and statutes may vary from county to county or city to city, this article provides state level laws and statutes. 

Also, laws and statutes are subject to change and may cause sections of this article to be outdated.  We provide links to assist landlords and tenants to the state statute page for further research.

Click here if you are seeking renters insurance in Maine.

 

Quick Facts for Real Estate Investors Considering Maine

Maine landlord-tenant laws are considered Landlord-friendly.

There are 1.3 million residents in Maine.  Major metropolitan markets in Maine are:

  1. Portland: Estimated population of 538,500, which 27% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $990.
  2. Bangor: Estimated population of 152,148, which 28% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $836.
  3. Lewiston: Estimated population of 108,277, which 38% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $688.

 

 

 

SECURITY DEPOSIT LAWS IN MAINE

 

Does Maine require security deposits? 

Maine does not require security deposits.  Landlords may offer the tenant an option to purchase a security bond in lieu of a security deposit.  This is not a requirement. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6039)

 

Is a security deposit receipt required in Maine? 

Maine requires landlords to provide a receipt for cash payments of security deposit and rent payments.  Although it is good practice to provide a receipt for all payment types.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6022)

 

How much security deposit can a landlord charge in Maine? 

Maine limits the maximum security deposit to 2 months of rent.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6032)

 

 

Storage Requirements for Security Deposits in Maine: 

Security deposits must be kept in a bank or financial institution account that is beyond the claim of creditors.  Upon request, the landlord must disclose the name of institution and account number where the deposit is stored.  Landlords may use a single escrow account to store all of their property’s security deposits.(Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6038

 

 

Can security deposits be commingled with other assets in Maine? 

Landlords are not allowed to commingle. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6038)

 

Do landlords have to pay interest on security deposits in Maine? 

Maine does not require landlords to pay interest on deposits.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6038)

 

When must a landlord return the deposit by in Maine? 

Landlords must return the security deposits within 30 days for written agreements.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6033(2)(a))

 

For tenancy at will, within 21 days after termination of the tenancy or the surrender of property.  Whichever comes later.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6033(2)(b))

 

When can a landlord in Maine withhold security deposit?

At the end of a lease, the landlord is required to return the tenant’s security deposit.  However, landlords may withhold all or portions of a tenant’s security deposit for (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6033(2)):

 

  • Unpaid rent and/or fees
  • Unpaid utilities
  • Cover storage and holding costs for personal property if abandoned

 

 

 

Nonrefundable fees: 

No Statute.  Landlords can charge any non-refundable fees they deem fit.

 

Pet Deposits and Additional Fees:

No statute for pet deposits.

 

Require written description / itemized list of damages and charges?

Landlords are required to provide written and itemized list of damages. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6033(2))

 

What happens to Maine landlords that fail to comply returning the security deposit?

Landlords who fail to comply shall forfeit their to their right to withhold any portion of security deposit.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6033(3))

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RENTAL AGREEMENT LAWS IN MAINE

 

Rental agreements required in Maine:

Rental agreements are required for leases 12 months or longer.  We always recommend having a legal lease agreement to prevent future complications.

If you need a lease, Burbz offers an online Maine rental lease agreement.

 

What are the required lease provisions in Maine?

Maine requires certain provisions to be included in the lease agreement.  Besides both the landlord and tenant names, the landlord should also list:

  • Rent Amount and Due Date
  • Security deposit amount and terms
  • Process for requesting maintenance and repairs
  • Length of the lease agreement
  • Subleasing policy
  • Late Fees and Penalties
  • Landlord’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Tenant’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Pet policies
  • Cleaning Fees
  • Other fees

 

Landlords cannot include:

  • Tenant agrees to pay the landlord’s attorney fees
  • Tenant agrees to limitation of any liability or indemnifying the landlord or costs connected
  • Tenant waives their rights in Chapter 709 or 710-A
  • Requiring the tenant to acknowledge that the provisions in the lease, including tenant rules, are fair and reasonable

 

 

 

What are the rental agreement notice requirements in Maine: 

Fixed-End or Year-to-Year: Landlords must provide at least a 30 days notice, sent via first class mail.  It is recommended for landlords to include a termination date in the lease agreement. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6002)

Month-to-Month: At least 30 days. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6002)  Read our guide on Month-to-Month rent.

Week-to-Week: At least 30 days. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6002)

 

 

What happens when the tenant remains without consent after the rental agreement expires or terminates?

Maine allows the landlord to bring an forcible entry and detainer (FED) with a 7 day notice.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6001(1-B))

 

 

Does the lease automatically renew in Maine? 

No statute.

 

Rent Increase Notice:

Landlords are required to provide at least 45 days written notice for an increase to rent.  Landlords who increase prior to the 45 damages can be liable to return the money unlawfully obtained, plus interest and pay for reasonable attorney’s fees.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6015)

 

Rent Grace Period for Residential:

Maine has 15 days for grace period before landlords can proceed with a notice.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6028)

 

 

Prepaid Rent:

No Statute.  Landlords may accept prepaid rent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LATE FEES AND LIMITS IN MAINE

Late Fees for Residential:

Landlords cannot charge more than 4% of the monthly rent due.  The late fee needs to be stated in the lease agreement.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6028)

 

 

 

 

MAINE LEASE TERMINATIONS / NOTICES TO QUIT

 

In Maine, lease agreements between landlords and tenants can be terminated.  Read our blog for landlords about handling early lease terminations.  Here are the cause and effects:

 

What is the Pay or Quit for Nonpayment requirement in Maine?

Maine requires a 7 day notice to pay rent, providing a Pay-Or-Quit Notice.  Landlords cannot send the notice until rent has officially been 15 days late. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6002)

 

 

How many days must a landlord allow before terminating for a Lease Violation?

Landlords must provide a 7 day notice to remedy or quit. This includes changing locks without permission or providing keys (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6025), causing substantial damage, permitted a nuisance within the premises, violated a tenancy law or has caused the rental unit to be uninhabitable.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6002(1B))

 

 

Maine allows immediate lease termination if the tenant is responsible for:

No Statute.  A 7 day notice is the earliest a tenancy can be terminated.

 

 

 

How many days when terminating for illegal drug-related activities?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

MAINE LAWS ON REPAIRS

 

Maine requires landlords provide a habitable property for tenants to live and enjoy.  There are specific provisions defining how tenants can remedy repairs if the landlord fails to do so.  

How many days must the tenant give for non-emergency repairs? 

Tenants must provide written notice 14 days for needed repairs.  Notice must be sent in writing by certified mail  with a return receipt requested.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6026(2))

Can tenant withhold rent for landlords’ failure to provide essential services (i.e. water, heat, etc.)?

Tenants may hire a professional to make the required repairs after 14 days and deduct the actual and reasonable cost, or the fair and reasonable value of work, from rent.  This cannot exceed the greater of $500 or half the monthly rent amount.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6026(2))

 

 

 

 

 

MAINE TENANT LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Tenant must maintain a fit and habitable premise and is prohibited from intentionally or negligently damaging or removing any part of the premise.  Tenants must conduct themselves and others in a manner not to disturb the neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment of their premises. 

 

 

 

 

 

MAINE EVICTION LAWS

 

Can landlords do a ‘self help’ eviction?

In Maine, it is illegal for landlords to attempt to evict a tenant not through a court order.  The tenant is entitled to recover actual damages or $250, whichever is greater.

Are landlords allowed to lock out tenants by changing locks?

Landlords cannot change locks. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6014(1))

Are landlords allowed to turn off utilities?

Landlords cannot change locks. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6014(1A))

 

Do landlords have to make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages when re-renting the rental unit?

Yes.  Landlords have a duty to mitigate damages. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6010-A)

 

 

 

MAINE LAWS ON RETALIATION

 

Maine laws state a landlord cannot terminate a lease, refuse a lease renewal or raise rents when:

 

  • Tenant submitted, or threatened to, a complaint to government agency for building or health code violation
  • Tenant has sent written complaints to the landlords about repairs
  • Tenant has organized or joined a tenants’ union, or similar organization

 

Maine defines a period of 6 months that would result in a retaliatory action. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6001(3))

 

 

 

 

LAWS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

 

Maine has no statutes to protect a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape or stalking.  Burbz encourages landlords to work with these victims in good faith and help prevent or reduce the situation.  This includes changing locks or letting the victim out of their lease agreement to find a safer home.

Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence provides support for victims and children of domestic violence.  The statewide hotline is 1-866-834-HELP.  Or, 1-866-834-4357.

 

 

 

MAINE LAWS FOR LOCKS AND LANDLORDS

Maine does not have any statewide laws regarding locks.  Tenants may not change the lock without giving notice and providing a set of keys within 48 hours.  A victim is allowed 72 hours.

 

 

 

 

MAINE PET LAWS & PET POLICIES

Maine Landlord-Tenant Laws does not have any specific pet laws.  Landlords are legally allowed to create their own pet policies and requirements.  Including tolerance for breeds, size, types, and more.  Read our guide to pet policies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DO LANDLORDS IN MAINE NEED A RENTAL LICENSE?

 

According to Maine Landlord-Tenant Laws, landlords do not need a rental license in Maine.

Landlords and owner of a residential rental property do not need to register the property.  Local cities may have different requirements, we recommend you research the local city specific laws. 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTICE OF ENTRY LAWS IN MAINE

Do landlords in Maine have to provide notice of entry? 

Maine require landlords to provide a reasonable notice, at least 24 hours notice is presumed reasonable.   (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6025(2))

  • Non-emergency maintenance and repairs
  • Improvements to property
  • Inspections
  • Showing prospective tenants, contractors, mortgagees or buyers.

 

When can a landlord enter without notice:

Landlords can enter without notice in the case of an emergency or if it is impracticable to do so.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6025(2))

 

 

Can landlords enter for non-emergency maintenance and repairs?

Yes. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6025)

 

 

Can landlords enter for showings?

Yes. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6025)

 

 

 

Can landlords enter for emergencies without notice?

Yes. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6025)

 

 

Can landlords enter during Tenant’s extended absence?

No Statute.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6025)

 

 

Can landlords enter for pesticide use?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

MAINE SUBLEASE AND ASSIGNMENT PROVISIONS

Landlords should include a clause in the lease agreement to prevent subleasing.

 

 

 

 

TENANT ABANDONED PROPERTY IN MAINE

 

Maine Landlord-Tenant Laws does not have any statutes declaring procedure for holding or storing terminated or abandoned tenants possessions.  Generally, landlords should hold onto the property for at least 30 days and attempt to notify the tenant at their last location.  We suggest holding onto the records for at least 12 months.

 

 

 

 

 

REQUIRED RENTAL AGREEMENT DISCLOSURES FOR MAINE LEASES

 

Maine Landlord-Tenant Laws requires the following be included with all Rental Agreement Disclosures:

 

Lead Paint Disclosure:  Yes.  Federal law requires every landlord to disclose known information on lead-based paint and hazards.  Landlords must provide this EPA-approved pamphlet.

Smoking Disclosure:  Landlords must provide a smoking policy disclosure that notifies the tenants of smoking limits on premises and if an area has been designated for smoking.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6030-E)

Bedbug Disclosure:  Within 5 days of a notice for bedbug infestation, the landlord must conduct an inspection.  If no bedbugs were found, within 10 days the landlord must contact a pest control agent.  Landlords must disclose to prospective tenants if an adjacent unit or units currently have an infested or are being treated for.

Radon Testing:  Unless a mitigation system has been installed, every 10 years the landlord shall have the air of the building tested for presence of radon.  For residential, landlords have to test within 12 months of occupancy.  Landlords must notify the tenant within 30 days in a written notice the presence of radon in the building, including the date and results of the most recent test.  Landlords can be fined $250 per violation of not notifying.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6030-D)

Residential Energy Efficiency Disclosure:  Prospective tenants may request a 12-month history of energy consumption from the energy supplier.  (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6030-C)

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES

 

 

MAINE RELATED COURT INFO & LINKS

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14 Chapter 709 §6000 – Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6017 – Residential Landlord and Tenant

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14 Chapter 710 §6021 – Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6030-G – Rental Property

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14 Chapter 710-A  §6031 – Me. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §6039 – A Security Deposits on Residential Rental Units

Maine State Housing Authority

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Maine

Maine Bureau of Insurance

Maine Bureau of Insurance – A Consumer’s Guide to Homeowner Insurance

Maine State Housing Authority – Rental Housing Guide (PDF Guide)

Maine Attorney General – Model Landlord-Tenant Lease (PDF Guide)

 

 

Maine Small Claims Court Limits:

$6,000 is the limit for small claims court.

 

 

Maine Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims:

No.  Hearings occur at the Maine District Court.

Maine Judicial Branch

Maine District Court

Maine Attorney General

Maine Bar Association

 

 

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