Maine Eviction Laws
Under a number of circumstances, a Maine landlord can take steps to evict a troublesome tenant. The reasons to start a Maine eviction process include the following:
- Failure to pay rent
- Breach of a material provision in the lease
- Unlawful or criminal activity
- Significant damage to the rental unit
- Owner wishes to occupy unit
- Failure to vacate on termination of lease term
A landlord cannot evict a tenant without the appropriate notice and court action, which includes a court order called a Writ of Possession. A landlord who decides to force the tenant out by changing the locks, intimidating the tenant, entering and removing the tenant’s personal belongings, or by attempting to shut off the utilities is liable to the tenant for any damages incurred or $250, whichever is greater, plus any court or legal fees
In Maine, a utility company will check to see if a tenant is occupying a unit and will not shut off utilities despite a landlord’s request if the utilities are in the name of the tenant.
Maine Tenant Eviction Notice - Notice to Vacate
The Maine eviction process begins with either a 7-day eviction notice or a 30-day eviction notice, both of which must be in writing unless the tenant is leasing a unit without a written lease.
- 7-Day Notice
This notice is used if the tenant fails to pay rent or violates a major term in the lease. This includes causing substantial damage, changing the locks without permission and not supplying a duplicate key to the owner, disturbing other tenants or committing a criminal offense.
The written notice must contain certain provisions, however, including the following:
- Reason for eviction such as failure to pay the rent.
- That the tenant may contest the eviction in court.
- That the tenant may reinstate the lease if all rent owed is paid along with any filing fees and service of process fees before the Writ of Possession is issued by a court.
If there is no lease agreement, this is a “tenancy at will” and the landlord need not give the tenant a reason to vacate but the written notice must still be given and can be either a 7-day or a 30-day notice. A notice can only be served for rent nonpayment once 7-days has passed since the due date.
30-Day Eviction Notice
A written 30-day notice to quit may be given for any reason except for a discriminatory purpose or for retaliation. It may only be served within 7 days of the original term or the tenant may remain for another 30-days ( if automatic renewal and lease is month-to month) and the reason for the eviction must be within the termination clause contained in the lease.
When a Tenant Eviction Notice is Not Required
For written leases that do not automatically renew at the end of the lease term, a landlord is not required to give any notice but still must file a court action to evict the tenant. This rule also applies to employees who rent from their employers.
For more information on Maine Eviction Laws please go to:
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