What is the Eviction Process in Maine
The eviction process in Maine can be completed fairly quickly, especially when dealing with the non-payment of rent. Evictions can only happen with appropriate notice and court order, so it is important to follow these specific steps when dealing with a problematic tenant.
1. Serve The Tenant With a Proper Notice.
Maine allows for a 7 day notice and a 30 day notice to be served to tenants. The 7 day notice is reserved for major breaches of a rental agreement, including the failure to pay rent on time. The 30 day notice is used for any reason that fits within the state's laws. If the 30 day notice is being used to remove a month-to-month tenant, it must be served within 7 days of the original term or a 30 day extension is automatically granted. No notice is required if a lease has expired without a renewal, but court action is still required to remove a tenant that does not want to leave.
2. There Must Be a Good Faith Effort To Serve This Notice In Person.
Landlords may serve the required notice in person, but there must be 3 good faith attempts documented. For this reason, it may be prudent to utilize a third-party process server for this step. If the tenant cannot be served in person, then the notice may be mailed with a second copy posted in a prominent position.
3. A Summons And Complaint Must Be Filed.
Landlords must petition the court for the removal of a tenant. Once the complaint is filed, the sheriff's office will deliver the summons to the tenant at least 7 days before the hearing regarding the eviction.
4. The Hearing Is Mandatory.
If either party does not attend the hearing, then a default judgment will be issued for the party that does arrive. If the landlord prevails, then a Writ of Possession can be requested to have the sheriff's office remove tenants by force if necessary. If the tenant prevails, then the eviction process must start over.
5. Mediation Can Be Requested.
All landlord/tenant mediation happens at the local courthouse. Tenants have the right to request meditation through the court clerk. Appeals must happen before the Writ of Possession is issued or within 30 days of the judgment, whichever occurs first. An appeal requires a tenant to place any rent that is owed into an escrow account. By following these steps which outline the eviction process in Maine, landlords can restore their property in a month or less in many instances.
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