This is a summary of Maine Landlord-Tenant laws that apply to residential (non-commercial) rentals. These references were compiled from the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated and various online sources to serve as a reference and for people wanting to learn about Maine landlord-tenant laws, Maine eviction laws, and Maine renters’ rights. 

However, this guide is not comprehensive and PayRent does not warrant the accuracy of this information. Statutes can change any time the state legislature passes a new law. Additionally, counties and cities may have different regulations. Given its limitations, this guide is not an adequate substitute for legal advice from a knowledgeable lawyer.  If you are dealing with a landlord-tenant issue, you seek guidance from a qualified attorney. If you need help finding an attorney, we’ve included a list of attorney referral services in this guide.

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Rules and Regulations Governing Maine Landlord-Tenant Laws

Maine Lease Terms Provisions

Security Deposits

  • What is the maximum allowable security deposit?
    The security deposit cannot exceed two month’s rent. (14 M.R.S. § 6032)
  • Are security deposits required to earn interest?

No. There is no Maine law requiring security deposits to earn interest.

  • Do landlords need to store security deposits in a separate bank account? 

Yes, Maine law states that the deposit may not be treated as an asset to be commingled with the assets of the landlord or any other entity or person. A landlord may use a single escrow account to hold security deposits from all of the tenants.  (14 M.R.S. § 6038)

  • Are non-refundable fees, such as pet fees, prohibited?

No. There is no Maine law forbidding non-refundable fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge. 

  • How long do landlords have to return security deposits?

Landlords must return the security deposit within 30 days if there is a written rental agreement, but the rental agreement can specify a shorter time. Landlords have 21 days to return deposits for tenancies at will. (14 M.R.S. § 6033(2))

  • Can landlords withhold security deposits?

Yes. Landlords can use the deposit to cover the costs of storing and disposing of unclaimed property, nonpayment of rent, and nonpayment of utility charges that the tenant was required to pay directly to the landlord.  (14 M.R.S. § 6033(2))

  • Are landlords required to itemize damages and fees deducted from security deposits?

Yes. Landlords must provide the tenant with a written statement itemizing the reasons for the retention of the security deposit or any portion of it. (14 M.R.S. § 6033(2))

  • Do landlords have to issue receipts upon receiving security deposits?

Yes, but only for cash payments.  (14 M.R.S. § 6022(1))

  • Are there any specific requirements for record-keeping for deposit withholdings?

No. There is no Maine law specifying record-keeping requirements.

  • What happens when a landlord does not return a security deposit within the required timeframe?

The landlord forfeits their right to withhold any portion of the security deposit. (14 M.R.S. § 6033(3))

Rent

  • Is there a cap on how much landlords can charge for rent? (rent control)

No. There are no state rent control laws in Maine.

  • Does rent need to be paid using a certain method of payment?

No. There is no Maine law requiring a certain payment method for rent.

Fees

  • Can landlords charge late fees when rent is late?

Yes. Landlords can charge late fees up to 4% of the monthly rent amount. (14 M.R.S. § 6028(2))

  • Do landlords have to allow for a grace period for paying rent before charging late fees?

Yes, Maine law requires a 15 day grace period. (14 M.R.S. § 6028(1))

  • Can landlords charge application fees?

Yes. There is no Maine law forbidding application fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.

  • Can landlords charge returned check fees?

Yes. There is no Maine law forbidding returned check fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.

Maine Landlord-Tenant Relations

Notices

  • Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between lease terms?

Yes, landlords must provide at least 45 days’ written notice of rent increases for residential estates. (14 M.R.S. § 6015)

  • Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the property?

No. There is no Maine law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the rental property.

  • What notice is required to terminate a fixed-end lease?

No notice is required — the lease ends on the date stated in the lease.

  • What notice is required to terminate a tenancy at will?

Either the landlord or the tenant can terminate the lease with 30 days’ notice. (14 M.R.S. § 6002)

  • Is notice of the date and time of the move out inspection required?

There is no statute in Maine law covering this issue. 

Entry Provisions

  • When can landlords enter the rental premises with notice?
    • To inspect the premises. 
    • To make necessary or agreed to repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements.
    • To supply necessary or agreed services. 
    • To show the unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors. (14 M.R.S. § 6025(1))
  • What notice must a landlord give a tenant before entering the rental unit?

The landlord must provide 24 hours notice and must only enter at reasonable times.  (14 M.R.S. § 6025(2))

  • When can landlords enter the rental premises without providing notice to their tenants?

Only in case of an emergency.  (14 M.R.S. § 6025(2))

Landlord’s Duties

  •  In any written or oral agreement for rental of a dwelling unit, the landlord shall be deemed to covenant and warrant that the dwelling unit is fit for human habitation.  (14 M.R.S. § 6021(2))

Tenant’s Duties

  • There is no statute in Maine law covering this issue. 

Required Landlord Disclosures

  • Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.

Maine Renters’ Rights

  • What are Maine renters’ rights if landlords breach their duties? (See Landlord’s Duties)

If a condition exists in a dwelling unit which renders the dwelling unit unfit for human habitation and endangers or materially impairs the health or safety of the tenant, and the landlord, upon receiving written notice, did not repair or remedy the situation, a tenant may file a complaint against the landlord in the District Court or Superior Court. (14 M.R.S. § 6021)

  • Are tenants allowed to withhold rent for needed repairs or other breaches of their landlords’ duties?

Yes. If a condition exists in a dwelling unit that endangers or materially impairs the health or safety of the tenants, and the cost to repair is less than the great of $500 or ½ of the monthly rent, the tenant can repair and deduct the amount from rent if the landlord fails to complete the repair within 14 days of receiving written notice from the tenant. (14 M.R.S. § 6026(2))

  • What are the protections for tenants against retaliation from their landlords for exercising their Maine renter’s rights?

Maine law creates a rebuttable presumption of retaliation if the landlord files an eviction within six months prior of the tenant asserting certain statutory rights, complaining to an enforcement agency of conditions that may violate code, complaining in writing to the landlord to make repairs as required by code or the rental agreement, or filing in good faith a fair housing complaint for which there is a reasonable basis. (14 M.R.S. § 6001(3))

Maine Eviction Laws

  • What notice do Maine eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
    • For all evictions in Maine, the landlord must give a 7-day notice before starting the eviction process. Only tenants who are facing eviction due to nonpayment of rent must be given a chance to remedy the breach. (14 M.R.S. § 6001); (14 M.R.S. § 6002)
  • Do Maine eviction laws allow landlords to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities? 

No. Maine law forbids self-help evictions. (14 M.R.S. § 6014(1))

COVID-19 Changes to Maine Landlord-Tenant Laws

  • The CDC has passed a national eviction ban through December 31, 2020, that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants  who meet the following criteria for nonpayment:
    • Have used their best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent.
    • Expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return).
    • Are unable to pay their full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of income or employment, or extraordinary medical bills.
    • If evicted, will have no other housing options.
  • The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act requires landlords to provide a 30-day notice to tenants before eviction. However, the CARES Act only applies to properties that are supported by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), or the United States Treasury (Low Income Housing Tax Credit), and properties with federally-backed mortgages, such as FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.

Related Links

Government 

Legal Aid

Attorney Referral Services

Realtor and Landlord-Tenant Associations

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