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Maine Property Management Laws

Managing properties can be difficult when facing tenant and landlord disputes and other issues. Laws and regulations vary between states and localities, so it can be extra confusing to locate the correct statutes to reference when you manage properties in multiple states or have recently moved areas.

This guide was designed to provide direction to landlords and tenants regarding their rights and responsibilities under Maine state law and to help locate the exact statutes regarding renting situations.

Key Points

  • 1 A lease may be on an at-will basis and will be treated as a month-to-month lease unless it is clearly described in the terms of the lease when it will end.
  • 2 There are numerous housing disclosure laws to which property managers in Maine must adhere.
  • 3 Landlords who refuse to return a security deposit may be charged for twice the amount of the deposit if they are taken to court by the tenant.
  • 4 Landlords in Maine must provide a 45-day notice before increasing rental rates.

Note: This guide is intended to be used as an educational resource. The contents within do not constitute legal advice. To obtain information regarding property management laws in your state, consult a local attorney. This guide is based only on property management laws at the state level. Local county and city laws may exist that are not discussed in this guide. Consult a local attorney to obtain information that pertains to your specific location and situation.

Property Management Laws Overview in Maine

Code Description
Rental Application Laws
710-A Security Deposit Laws
709-6002 Lease and Termination Laws
709-6015 Rent and Late Fee Laws
710-6030(A-E) Disclosure Laws
710-6021 Landlord Responsibility Laws
710-6021 Property Maintenance and Repair Laws

Rental Application Laws

Which application fees are allowed? 

Application fees are not regulated in Maine, but a landlord typically charges between $35 and $100 to process a rental application per adult tenant.

Does Maine specify what a landlord may look for in a background check?

No, a landlord is free to create the background screening process, which typically includes information such as:

  • Criminal record
  • Rental history
  • Employment verification
  • Credit-worthiness

Are there laws dictating why a landlord can deny an application?

A landlord may exclude residents based on the information discovered in their background reports. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits tenants from being discriminated against based on their race, gender, age, nationality, sexual orientation, disability or family status.

Security Deposit Laws

Are additional move-in fees allowed?  

Yes, a landlord in Maine is able to require security deposits, as well as pet deposits, if the tenant wants to have an animal (14-710-A).

Is there a limit on the security deposit amount that a landlord can charge? 

A landlord may not require more than two months’ rent to be used as a security deposit (710-6032).

Does a landlord have to hold the security deposit in a specific way during occupancy? 

Yes, security deposits must (710-A-6038) be held in a federally insured bank account used only for holding a security deposit. If this statute is ignored and a tenant’s security deposit is used for any purpose other than managing that property, a landlord is subject to a $500 fine in addition to any damages incurred to the tenant, as well as attorney fees.

How much time does the landlord have to return the security deposit after move out? 

In the event of an at-will tenancy with no lease, the landlord must return the security deposit and an itemized receipt of all charges within 21 days (710-A-6033) of the tenant leaving. If there was a lease, the landlord has 30 days to return the deposit and receipt of charges.

What are the reasons why a landlord can withhold part or all of the security deposit?

A landlord can use a security deposit to pay for owed rent and other charges, as well as repairs needed for damages caused by the tenant and cleaning costs not associated with normal wear and tear (710-A-6033-1).

What is the penalty if the landlord doesn’t return the security deposit? 

When a landlord fails to provide the tenant with their owed deposit and an itemized receipt within the specified time required, the landlord forfeits any right (710-A-6034) to that deposit. 

Other Security Deposit Laws in Maine

Can a tenant sue a landlord for the security deposit?

Yes, a tenant may submit a notice of intent to file suit against the wrongful retention of their deposit within seven days of the landlord failing to return the security deposit and receipt. The court can determine the landlord must pay the tenant twice the amount of the security deposit (710-A-6034), as well as any associated court fees incurred with attempting to recover the security deposit by the tenant. 

Are there any exemptions to the security deposit laws?

Any residential buildings with fewer than five units are exempt (710-A-6037-2) from the security deposit requirements if the landlord lives in one of the units.

Laws About Leases and Lease Termination

What types of lease terms are allowed? 

A lease may be created with a predetermined length of time, such as one year, or on a month-to-month basis. If there is not a lease describing the length of tenancy, it will be treated as a month-to-month lease (709-6001-1-B). 

What happens if the tenant violates the lease? 

If a tenant violates a lease, the landlord may terminate the lease with a seven-day notice (709-6002-1). Examples of tenant violations include:

  • Non-payment of rent
  • Noise violations reported by neighbors
  • Any damage caused intentionally to the property
  • Any violence perpetrated by the tenant or a tenant’s guest, with the exception of individuals protected by domestic violence laws

How much notice is required for a month-to-month lease termination? 

A landlord or a tenant may end a lease with a 30-day notice (709-6002).

When can a tenant terminate a term lease without penalty? 

A tenant may give the landlord a seven-day notice (709-6001-1-B) to quit tenancy if the landlord violates any aspect of the lease, including:

  • Requiring fees that weren’t agreed upon in the lease
  • Failing to make needed repairs to maintain the habitability of the unit
  • Requesting unreasonable access in a way that harasses the tenant
  • Refusing to provide services that were included in the lease

How much notice does a service member have to supply before terminating the lease?

The federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides an active-duty service member with special protections against incurring fees for breaking a lease early under the circumstance of being required to move and change bases. The service member is responsible for providing a landlord notice of the intention to move, preferably 30 days in advance. Rent charges are incurred through the next month following receipt of notice by the landlord.

Are there special lease termination rules for a victim of domestic violence? 

Yes, a victim of domestic violence, including assault and stalking, is able to break a lease with a length of less than one year with a seven-day notice, provided they give the landlord evidence in the form of:

  • A signed statement by a state-certified health or public safety official
  • A copy of a complaint against harassment or assault
  • A copy of a restraining order

A lease of over one year is able to be broken with 30 days’ notice without the tenant being responsible for rent charges outside of the days he or she stays at the residence (709-6001-6).

How and when can a landlord evict a tenant? 

A landlord can evict a tenant for any reason, as long as the landlord provides the required notice, which is 30 days for a month-to-month lease (709-6002). If the tenant violates the lease agreement in any way, the landlord may evict the tenant with a seven-day notice in writing. If the landlord makes three good-faith attempts to contact the tenant, the landlord may serve the notice to the tenant by certified first-class mail and by posting it in a conspicuous place at the residence, such as on the front door.

How much notice does a landlord have to provide before making changes to the property that result in the termination of tenancy? 

There are no laws that define what a landlord must do to evict a tenant in order to make property changes, but it is allowable under Maine law to evict a tenant with a 30-day notice for any reason if the lease does not define a termination date (709-6002).

Laws About Rent and Late Fees

When can a landlord increase rent? 

A landlord may increase the rent at any time provided the landlord gives the tenant a 45-day notice before the increase (709-6015).

Is there a maximum amount of rent that a landlord can charge tenants? 

No, a landlord in Maine has the right to set the price for his or her rental properties.

Does Maine have any laws regarding rent control?

No, rent control is not currently practiced in Maine, but local ordinances may apply.

Is there a state-mandated grace period that a landlord must give a tenant before charging a late fee? 

Yes, a landlord in Maine must provide a tenant with 15 days to pay the rent after the due date before assessing a late fee (14-710-6028-1).

Is there a limit on how much of a late fee the landlord can charge a tenant?

A landlord may only charge a late fee of up to 4% of the total rent charge, and this amount must be agreed upon in the lease (710-6028-2).

Legally Required Disclosures

What types of disclosures is a landlord required to supply regarding ownership of the property?

There is no statute in Maine that requires a landlord to supply the tenant with the name or address of the building’s owner.

Can the owner designate an agent to serve and receive disclosures? 

Yes, any person who is authorized to enter into a lease agreement on behalf of the owner is designated as that owner’s agent (710-6023) and is able to supply any notices to residents, including required disclosures.

What disclosures related to mold is a landlord required to supply?

There are no statutes regulating the presence of mold in rental units, but a landlord is required to maintain properties in a safe, habitable condition (710-6021).

What disclosures related to lead paint is a landlord required to supply?

Any lease created concerning a building constructed before 1978 must have a lead disclosure per EPA regulations. Statute 710-6030-B states that a landlord must post a 30-day notice clearly in a common area, such as on tenants’ doors, if there are to be repairs done on a building that is built before 1978 that pose a lead hazard.

Other Required Disclosures in Maine

What disclosures are required concerning utility costs in rental units?

A landlord must provide a new tenant with a free itemized overview of the electric charges (710-C-6045) and natural gas (710-C-6046) costs incurred in the residence for the subsequent 12 months. 

Are there any disclosures required if a unit has been treated for a bedbug infestation?

Yes, any applicant to rent a unit must be notified (710-6021-A-D) if any rental units in the building have bedbugs or are being treated for bedbugs, as well as the date of the last certified bedbug inspection in their desired unit.

Does a landlord need to disclose if there is a smoking policy?

Yes, it must be included along with other stipulations in a lease that there is a smoking policy, and the tenant must provide written acknowledgment of this notice (710-6030-E).

Are the disclosures regarding the presence of radon required in Maine?

Yes, a landlord must disclose to a tenant (710-6030-D) the results of the last radon air quality test performed on the unit and maintain testing every 10 years. If a building is newly constructed (after 2014), the landlord must conduct testing and provide disclosures to a tenant within 12 months after renting any unit in the building.

Laws About Landlord Responsibilities

How much notice does the landlord have to supply before entry? 

A landlord in Maine is required to supply sufficient notice of at least 24 hours to a tenant before entering the premises (710-6025-2). A landlords may not make unreasonable requests, such as demanding entry after business hours, and repeated unlawful requests are considered harassment under Maine law.

When can the tenant refuse to allow entry to the landlord? 

Provided they are served the proper notice, a tenant must allow a landlord reasonable entry for reasons (710-6025) including:

  • To conduct needed maintenance and repairs
  • For visual inspections to ensure the ongoing habitability of the property
  • To decorate or otherwise improve the property
  • Showing the property to potential renters

What steps must the landlord take to keep the property habitable? 

Statute 710-6021 specifies that a landlord must maintain the material comfort and safety of tenants. This typically includes:

  • Clean and safe common areas
  • Working plumbing and electrical fixtures
  • Watertight roof
  • Functional locks on doors and windows

What amenities must the landlord supply and maintain? 

A landlord is not bound to a list of amenities that must be provided under Maine law. It is simply stated that a landlord must uphold all necessary processes to maintain a safe, habitable environment, as well as any provisions written in the lease (710-6021).

What utilities must the landlord supply and maintain? 

Heat and electricity (710-6024) in all common areas must be maintained by the landlord, as well as any utilities provisioned within the lease.

What happens if the landlord fails to pay for the required utilities?

Statute 710-6026-A mandates that the municipality will maintain utilities for a landlord’s tenants if the landlord becomes unreachable and does not pay the bills. Tenants may be awarded damages, as well as lawyer fees, if their utilities are disrupted due to non-payment by the landlord (710-6024).

Does the landlord have to supply a certificate of inspection?

If a unit has been infested with bedbugs, the landlord must provide the tenant with a certificate of inspection that outlines the last treatment and declares the space free of bedbugs (710-6021-A).

Is the landlord required to supply locks and keys?

There is no statute requiring a landlord to provide locks and keys to a tenant, but the landlord is expected to maintain a safe living environment (710-6021).

Can a tenant change the locks?

According to Statute 701-6025-1, a tenant may change the locks as long as he or she provides a replacement key to the landlord within three days. If a tenant refuses to provide the landlord with a replacement key, the tenant may be issued a seven-day eviction notice.

Are retaliatory actions prohibited?  

Maine law 709-6001-3 prohibits a landlord from retaliating against a tenant within six months after any action by the tenant that could be a cause for retaliation, such as joining a tenant union or making a complaint against a tenant, as well as requesting repairs. Retaliatory actions are defined as:

  • Decreasing services promised in the lease
  • Charging tenants for causes not in the lease
  • Increasing rent 

Other Laws About the Landlord’s Responsibilities in Maine

Can a tenant deduct the cost of utilities for rent if the landlord doesn’t pay them?

Yes, if it is agreed upon in the lease that the landlord will be responsible for the utility bill and fails to pay for services, a tenant may deduct the total cost of the unpaid bill from the monthly rent. Additionally, if the tenant has to go to civil court with the landlord over such a dispute, the tenant may be awarded the total cost of the bill or $100, whichever is more, as well as any associated disconnection and attorney fees (710-6024-A).

Property Maintenance and Repair Laws

What type of maintenance is the landlord responsible for?

A landlord in Maine is responsible for upholding all required maintenance practices and undergoing all needed repairs to ensure tenants have a safe and habitable living environment (710-6021-3).

How long does the landlord have to make repairs? 

A landlord has 14 days from the date he or she received notice from the tenant to undergo the needed repairs (710-6026-2) before a tenant may take action to make the repairs or contact the municipality for assistance. 

What type of maintenance is the tenant responsible for? 

Maine law does not maintain that a tenant is responsible for any maintenance, but it can be agreed upon in the lease if so desired and the tenant is compensated with a lower rent cost (710-6021-5)

Is the landlord responsible to fix damage caused by a tenant? 

A landlord may use the security deposit to cover the cost for damage repair and cleaning needed before returning the residence to good condition (710-A-6031).

When does a landlord have to return and/or lower rent due to diminished rental value? 

If the dwelling unit reaches a state of disrepair and the landlord does not make appropriate repairs, the court may deem the landlord to owe the tenant a portion of the rent they paid during tenancy, as well as offer the tenant a lower rent rate to fairly reflect the properties market value. (710-6021-5).

When can a tenant request an official inspection to determine substandard or dangerous living conditions? 

Maine law gives a tenant the right to ongoing safe and habitable housing, so if the landlord fails to provide this per the terms of the lease agreement, a tenant may lodge a formal complaint to the appropriate housing or health authority. 

Under what circumstances can a tenant make a repair and deduct the cost from the rent paid to the landlord? 

If a landlord does not respond to a written repair request made via certified mail after 14 days, the tenant may deduct the cost of repairs from the owed rent provided the cost of repairs is no more than half of one month’s rent or $500 (710-6026-2), whichever is greater. 

When is a landlord required to pay for relocation assistance? 

If the property is in a condition where the tenant may not safely live there, the landlord may accept a withholding of rent and surcharges due to the tenant finding alternative housing until repairs are completed, unless the landlord offers alternative housing (710-6021-4-C).

Other Laws About Property Maintenance in Maine

Is a landlord required to treat for suspected bedbug infestations?

Yes, Maine law requires a tenant to report any bedbugs (710-6021-A) found in the rental units and for the landlord to take action to remove the infestation.

How long does a landlord have to handle reported bedbugs?

Once the notice of suspected bedbugs is received from a tenant, the landlord has five days to perform a visual inspection. If bedbugs are found, a landlord has 10 days to contact a licensed pest control professional (710-6021-A).

Can a tenant install a satellite dish or cable TV in the rentals?

Yes, as long as the property owner provides written consent and the process is carried out by a certified retailer at no expense to the property or the landlord (710-B-6041). 

Additional Rental Law Resources for the State of Maine

These resources can help tenants or landlords who may be dealing with a housing complaint or other property management issue in the state of Maine.

Name Phone Number Description
Housing Discrimination Hotline (800) 669-9777 Accepts complaints from tenants regarding unfair housing practices, such as refusing to maintain a safe habitat or discrimination.
HUD Renters Rights Maine N/A Helps educate landlords and tenants on renters’ rights and provides resources to local legal assistance.
Maine Housing Subsidized Housing List N/A Provides resources to tenants seeking low-income housing and direction to their local housing authority.
Maine Attorney General – Renter’s Rights (207) 626-8800 Landlord-Tenant Law guide for Maine and contact info for local housing authorities to find resources and lodge complaints about substandard housing or discrimination.
Maine Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (207) 626-4600 Provides yearly assistance to residents who need assistance paying their utility bills. This program is available on a limited basis and may not always have available funding.

Note: This guide is intended to be used as an educational resource. The contents within do not constitute legal advice. To obtain information regarding property management laws in your state, consult a local attorney. This guide is based only on property management laws at the state level. Local county and city laws may exist that are not discussed in this guide. Consult a local attorney to obtain information that pertains to your specific location and situation.