Summary of the Maine Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

Posted in Blog  
  on Apr 25, 2016

There are a number of laws in the Maine Residential Landlord and Tenant Act which are intended to help settle disputes or clarify positions in this business relationship. Here is a summary of these laws based on the most common questions that are asked by tenants and landlords.

1. Surety bonds can be requested in lieu of a security deposit.

The two items are very different from each other, but unlike a security deposit, a landlord cannot require a surety bond. Security deposits are limited to 2x the amount that is charged in rent for use of the rental unit.

2. Tenants must be given a 7 day notice to quit.

Tenants can be evicted for the material breach of a rental agreement. This is defined as a lack of performing their major duties, such as paying the rent, under the lease terms. A 7 day notice to quit is required under Maine law and tenants must be notified of their right to contest the eviction in court.

3. If a tenant does not have a written lease, their tenancy terminates with the sale of a property.

The new owner of a property is only obligated to allow a tenant to stay for as long as they have prepaid their rent. There is no obligation to accept any additional rent. Tenants with a long-term lease of 2+ years have the right to record their lease with the Registry of Deeds, though this should occur before the property is sold.

4. Landlords can only reject TV installations for a good cause.

This includes the installation of a satellite dish. Good cause to reject an installation includes broken agreements with a tenant's preferred company, damage to the rental unit, or a valid complaint similar to these.

5. Late fees can be charged if rent is 15+ days overdue.

The maximum amount that can be charged as a late fee is 4% of one month's rent. This means a rental unit at $1,000/month has a maximum late fee of $40. Late fees must be part of the initial lease and in writing to be valid.

This summary of the Maine Residential Landlord and Tenant Act is not intended to serve as legal advice. For specific answers to your questions, seek legal assistance from a knowledgeable attorney and review the applicable state laws.


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