Maine Rental Laws

Written on July 9, 2014 by , updated on April 24, 2017

Flag of MaineThis article summarizes some key Maine landlord-tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county.  You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the state bar association. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.

Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No more than two months’ rent (§6032)
  • Security Deposit Interest: Not required (§6038)
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: Security deposits may not be commingled with any other funds, but the landlord may use a single account to hold security deposits from all tenants. At tenant request, a landlord shall disclose the name of the institution and the account number where the security deposit is being held. (§6038) Landlords may offer, but not require, a tenant the option to purchase a surety bond in lieu of a security deposit. (§6039)
  • Pet Deposits: No statute
  • Non-Refundable Fees: No statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: For written rental agreements, deposit shall be returned within the time stated in the agreement, but not to exceed 30 days. In the case of a tenancy at will, deposit shall be returned within 21 days after the termination of the tenancy or the surrender and acceptance of the premises, whichever occurs later. (§6033)
  • Permitted Uses of the Deposit: Reasons for which a landlord may retain all or part of the deposit include, but are not limited to,
    • covering 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. (§6033)
  • Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes (§6033)
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute
  • Receipt of Deposit: Required for payments in cash (§6022)
  • Failure to Comply: If a landlord fails to provide a written statement or to return the security deposit within a maximum of 30 days for written leases, as stated in the lease, or within 21 days for tenancies at will, the landlord forfeits the right to withhold any portion of the security deposit. (§6033)
  • Wrongful Retention of Deposit: If the landlord wrongfully and/or intentionally withholds the security deposit and/or fails to provide an itemized statement within a maximum of 30 days as defined within written leases, or within 21 days for tenancies at will, renders the landlord liable for double the amount of the portion of the security deposit wrongfully withheld, plus reasonable attorney fees and court costs. (§6034)
  • Exemptions: The statutes regarding security deposits do not apply to any tenancy for a dwelling unit which is part of a structure containing no more than 5 dwelling units, one of which is occupied by the landlord. (§6037(2))

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Is Due: As stated in the lease
  • Rent Increase Notice: Minimum 45 days’ written notice (§6015)
  • Rent Grace Period: 15 days from the date payment is due (§6028)
  • Late Fees: No more than four percent of the rent amount, and allowed only if landlord notifies tenant in writing at the time they enter into the rental agreement that a penalty not to exceed four percent of the monthly rent may be charged for the late payment of rent. (§6028)
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute
  • Returned Check Fees: Amount due, court costs, service costs, collection costs, processing charges can be recovered only if statutory notice given, or payment within 10 days of notice. (§6071)
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes, tenant is allowed to deduct from the rent an amount the tenant pays to a utility service in the event that the landlord fails to pay a utility bill that is in the landlord’s name. (§6010-A)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Yes, if habitability is effected and the reasonable cost of compliance is less than $500 or an amount equal to 1/2 the monthly rent. (§6026(2))
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Yes, in some cases (§6034), (§6025(2))
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: Yes (§6010-A)
  • Abandonment/Early Termination Fee: No statute

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: Not until after lease expiration, unless tenant has broken a significant lease term and the lease itself states that violation of that term is a breach of the lease. (Maine Consumer Rights When You Rent an Apartment (Chapter 14.7))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Written lease without termination or notice language: For leases that do not include a termination provision in the event of a material breach, landlord must give minimum 30 days’ written notice that must include language advising that the tenant has the right to contest the termination in court. Landlord may also terminate with seven days’ notice for cause such as nonpayment of rent, damages, nuisance or criminal activity. Tenants may give seven days’ notice if the landlord has substantially breached a provision of the lease. (§6001(1-B) and §6002)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Tenancy at Will: Minimum 30 days’ written notice (§6002)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: Minimum 30 days’ written notice (§6002)
  • Termination of Tenancy with 24 Hours Notice: No statute
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute
  • Notice of Termination of Week-to-Week Leases for Nonpayment: No Statute
  • Notice of Termination for Nonpayment: Seven days’ written notice if the tenant is seven days or more late in the payment of rent. (§6002)
  • Termination for Lease Violation: Tenancy may be terminated upon seven days’ written notice if tenant, the tenant’s family or an invitee of the tenant has:
    • changed the lock and refuses to provide the landlord with a duplicate key (§6025),
    • caused substantial damage to the premises that the tenant has not repaired, (§6002(1A))
    • permitted a nuisance within the premises,(§6002(1B))
    • violated or permitted a violation of the law regarding the tenancy, (§6002(1B))
    • caused the dwelling to become unfit for human habitation or has violated or permitted a violation of the law regarding the tenancy. Landlord shall indicate in the written notice the specific ground being claimed and must be able to prove any claims made in the notice. (§6002(1B))
  • Required Notice before Entry: Reasonable notice required before entry, with 24 hours being presumed to be reasonable in the absence of evidence to the contrary, and landlord shall enter only at reasonable times. (§6025(2))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes (§6025(2))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes (§6025)
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Entry to premises for emergencies are excepted from statutory requirements for reasonable notice. (§6025)
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No statute (§6025)
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (§6014(1))
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (§6014(1A))

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Security Deposit Bank Account: At tenant request, a landlord shall disclose the name of the institution and the account number where the security deposit is held. (§6038)
  • Domestic Violence Situations: No statute. The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence provides support for victims of domestic violence and their children. Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline 1-866-834-HELP. Page 11 of the Maine State Housing Authority Rental Housing Guide also lists other resources available by county.
  • Covenant of Habitability: When a landlord rents a unit to a tenant, there is an implied warranty that the unit is fit for human habitation. If the tenant notifies the landlord of a condition that makes the unit unfit to live in, and which the tenant did not cause, but the landlord does not promptly and effectively remedy, the tenant may file a complaint against the landlord in District or Superior Court. (§6021)
  • Heating: When the landlord is obligated to provide heat for a dwelling unit, that unit’s heater must be capable of maintaining a minimum temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit, unless alternative arrangements are agreed to in writing. (§6021)
  • Heat and Utilities in Common Areas: A landlord may not rent out a unit where one tenant alone must pay for heating or electricity in common areas outside that tenant’s rental unit, unless fair consideration, such as reduced rent that approximates the costs, is agreed to in writing. (§6024)
  • Retaliation: In any eviction, retaliation is presumed if within six months prior the tenant has asserted certain statutory rights, complained to an enforcement agency of conditions that may violate code, complained in writing to the landlord to make repairs as required by code or the rental agreement, or filed in good faith a fair housing complaint for which there is a reasonable basis. Also, a tenant may block an eviction by proving that it was filed in retaliation for the tenant’s membership in an organization concerned with landlord-tenant relationships. Read Maine statute §6001(3) for more information.
  • Smoking Policy: Landlord shall provide tenants and prospective tenants a disclosure of the landlord’s policy regarding smoking of tobacco products on the premises. Landlord may allow or prohibit tobacco smoking on the entire premises, or allow it in limited areas. If the landlord allows smoking in limited areas, the notice must identify the areas on the premises where smoking is allowed. (§6030-E)
  • Bedbug Infestation: Prior to renting, a landlord shall disclose to a prospective tenant if any adjacent units are currently infested with or are being treated for bedbugs. Upon request, a landlord shall disclose the last date that the unit for rent or any adjacent units were inspected for bedbugs and found to be free of infestation. During a tenancy, upon tenant notifying landlord of bedbug infestation, landlord shall within five days conduct an inspection of the unit for bedbugs and, if an infestation is found, contact a qualified pest control agent and take reasonable measures to effectively treat the infestation. (§6021-A)
  • Radon Testing  (§6030-D):
    • Unless a radon mitigation system has been installed, landlord shall have the air in a building tested for radon every ten years at tenant request.
    • For buildings constructed or that begin operation after March 1, 2014, landlord shall have the air in a building tested for radon within 12 months of move-in.
    • Within 30 days of receiving test results, or before a tenant enters into a lease or pays a deposit, landlord shall provide written notice regarding the presence of radon in the building, including the date and results of the most recent test, whether mitigation has been performed, notice that the tenant has the right to conduct a test and the risk associated with radon.
    • Upon request by a prospective tenant, a landlord shall provide oral notice regarding the presence of radon in the building.
    • The Maine Department of Health and Human Services provides the standard disclosure statement form, as well as information about proper testing and mitigation, at the Maine Radon Homepage. A qualified positive test result allows either landlord or tenant to terminate the lease with a minimum of 30 days’ notice.
    • Additional information can be found in the Video below.
  • Lead Disclosure: Minimum 30 days prior to any repair, renovation or remodeling activity on residential buildings built before 1978, landlord must notify tenants of the activity and the risk of an environmental lead hazard. Emergency repairs are exempt from the notification provision. (§6030-B)
  • Residential Energy Efficiency Disclosure: Prospective tenants have the right to obtain a 12-month history of energy consumption and the cost of that consumption from the energy supplier. (§6030-C) The Maine Public Utilities Commission has the disclosure form and more.
  • Cable Television and Over-the-Air Reception Device Installation: A tenant may subscribe to cable television service or use an over-the-air reception device, however, the building owner’s written consent is required to affix cable facilities or an over-the-air reception device to the building. The owner may refuse such installation for good cause only. Operator must perform installation at no cost to the building owner, shall indemnify the owner for any damages arising from installation or operation, and may not interfere with the safety, functioning, appearance or use of the dwelling, nor interfere with day-to-day operations of the property. (§6041)

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

Radon Gas Video

Get Updates by Email!

Join 100,000+ Amazing Rental Managers

  • Weekly Articles & Tips
  • Updates on Rental Laws
  • ​Useful Tools & Resources
Topics:
  Laws & Regulations

29 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • John Kane

    John Kane

    We need a Purchase agreement and bill of sale drafted. Kindly respond for more details.

    kanejohn@stakcontractors.com

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi John

      We aren’t lawyers. You’d be better off talking to a lawyer in your area, or looking for the legal contract on a legal forms site.

      For lawyers, check out Avvo.com
      For legal forms, check out our list of favorite form sites: https://www.landlordology.com/directory/#legal

      Good luck to you.

      • Cheryl Demers

        Good morning. Can a landlord raise your rent and not the other side meaning I live in a duplex????

        • Lucas Hall

          Absolutely. Each unit is independent of one another, and could potentially have a different price, agreement, and duration.

          Apartment buildings with 300 units can have 300 different prices and leases.

  • chuck hayden

    If tenant gives 30 days notice and it extends into following month, can I charge rent for that month, or do I have to pro rate the rent?

    • Lucas Hall

      Yes, I think you can charge for the whole month. If it’s a monthly agreement, they have to pay by the month, not the day.

      With that said, if you find someone else to rent the place before the paid month is up, then you should reimburse the former tenant the prorated amount, according to §6010-A. http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/14/title14sec6010-A.html

      If you try to double dip on the rent, you could get sued.

      Good luck to you, please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Tom

    Can a landlord specify in a lease which bedrooms are assigned to which tenant?

    For example, if there are 4 tenants renting a 4 bedroom house and only 1 of the tenants is a female, can the landlord say the female will get the master bedroom with the attached bath.

    Even though there had been an understanding, acknowledged by the landlord,that the master would go to the tenant, who happens to be male, that has lived the longest in the house.

  • Natasha Mansfield

    I have asked my landlord in the past to provide me with a secure mailbox because it is a box outside on the street and is not locked and keeps falling off the post it is sitting on….so finally I rented a PO box…..I paid for the last six months and now the post office wants another 50.00 for six more months which I cannot afford….can I bill this to my landlord?

  • Mainer

    I am disabled and in public housing. I recently learned that several adjacent units within my building have had rats. This is a generally well kept old building and we have had no such troubles in the past years of our tenancy. If this problem is not addressed do we have any recourse?

  • Renneb

    Can I specify dog size on a therapy dog? Must I ok large dog in a small apartment within an apartment house. Do we have a say in what we will allow for a therapy animal?
    Thank you

    • DEWGIRL

      I’m pretty sure that you can’t specify size. You also can’t decline to rent to someone because they have a certified therapy pet. This being said, you can select the ‘best’ tenant, and if the best option does not have an animal, then you can select that applicant.

  • Brian Perkins

    if I am a home owner and have a verbal month to month for a room in my house how long if any notice do I have to give if they are destroying my property. ….please let me know asap

  • DEWGIRL

    If my tenant put trash in the garage for YEARS without a proper receptacle, and this lead to a rat infestation under my garage and damage to the structure, is tenant responsible for this now that their lease is up? It was not discovered until they were getting ready to vacate and was doing an inspection of the property. Prior to the tenant moving in, this home was IMMACULATE – you could eat off the floors.
    Additionally, lack of cleaning the shower led to mold and mildew issues in the bathroom – it needs to be treated, re-caulked and re-painted….aren’t they responsible for this as well?

  • kweav

    I had the water at my rental units tested when I started . What is the requirement for rechecks on the water quality. They all passed as safe

    Thank you

  • Fran

    I was wondering if charging a first last and a security deposit is legal. That’s a lot of money for some people and I noticed that most landlords DO NOT do this just some. If it were common practice I would think more landlords would ask for it. There is nothing about this in here so I was just wondering.

  • crystal

    when we moved into our (last) apartment they did not paint or patch the walls, they did not replace the torn carpet or burn holes from the last tenant before us that lived there. we moved out and i cleaned washed walls and vacuumed, we get a bill from them for 1500$ to replace everything… isn’t there a law that the landlord needs to paint and replace carpets in between tenants. why do i have to pay for what the tenant that lived there before me did. Maine

  • Harold

    Ok, this will seem like a crazy question, but there is a reason. Is there a minimum age to be a landlord?

  • Frank G.

    I am renting a room in a home my rent is paid to current date and the person who owns the home asked me to leave her and her husbands home does the owner have to take me to court for eviction I have been a tenant longer than 30 days

  • Steve

    I’m leasing a building from a town, who is responsible for removing snow from the roof? My insurance company says not me, the town says because I’m responsible for mowing the grass it’s my job?

  • Samantha

    I had a verbal agreement to rent a home until it was sold this summer. My landlady just informed me she has a buyer who wants to take occupancy by April 1 and I have nowhere else to go. Is my landlady obligated to give me 30 days’ written notice to vacate? If she doesn’t and the house is sold, is the verbal agreement null and void?

  • Alexis Caron

    Am I able to say when looking for a new tenant, No smoking, no kids and no pets? Someone told me it was against the law to say no kids, isn’t it up to the landlord who he/she rents to??

  • John Becker

    Trying to find out if the circuit breaker box for a unit can be in the basement with no access to the tenant and also the furnace is in the same place

  • Rick Grimes

    Hello I have a neighbor telling me off lately about not shoveling the steps lately right when the snow stops because she doesn’t want to shovel anymore and the girl below us has a disability like me and doesn’t want to fall. If I’m working and am tired and the snow still falls when I get home I’m not going outside till it’s done yet my neighbor seems to think every time it snows every morning early am even if a day off to wake up at shovel because she doesn’t want the other girl to fall or her also. She calls it respect. Where’s my respect?I’m supposed to have a time every time it snows and move my schedule to their liking? If everyone has disabilities shouldn’t the landlord do it? And what’s my right as a tenant to deal with it or getcopin

  • Karen

    Is it legal for a landlord to ask for bank account numbers and credit card numbers on the application for housing?

  • Marty Dolley

    How much notice must a landlord give tenants before selling the property? Tenants are on a month-to-month basis after lease expiration.

  • Cherie Meyer

    My landlord wants to raise my rent 200 dollars more and he only gave me a two weeks notice this to greater then 10 percent of my current rent of 1100. I live in Maine

  • Sandra Smith

    Friend owns a rental property in Maine. The tenant passed away, June rent check bounced because acct frozen. Son of tenant said he would pay the june rent but has not. Some belongings of tenant still in property. Can the owner have the belongings removed: Must she hold onto them? And can she then proceed with the re-renting the property?

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Be short, sweet and to the point.