Maine Eviction Process

Maine Eviction Process

Last Updated: December 28, 2023 by Phil Ahn

Evicting a tenant in Maine can take around 1 to 2 months, depending on the reason for the eviction. If tenants file an appeal, the process can take longer.

Grounds for an Eviction in Maine

In Maine, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant without cause. Legal grounds to evict include:

  • Not paying rent on time
  • Staying after the lease ends
  • Violating the terms of the lease
  • Committing illegal activity

Depending on the grounds for eviction, the landlord must give proper notice and provide the tenant a chance to cure the violation.

Grounds Notice Period Curable?
Nonpayment of Rent 7 Days Yes
End of Lease or No Lease 30 Days No
Lease Violations 7 Days Yes
Illegal Activity 7 Days No

Nonpayment of Rent

In Maine, a landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent within the legal 15 day grace period. To do so, the landlord must first serve the tenant a 7 days’ notice to quit, which gives the tenant a chance to pay the balance due or move out.

Unless the lease states otherwise, rent is considered late in Maine if it is not paid within the 15 calendar day grace period of the date rent is normally due.

If the tenant does not pay the balance due or move out by the end of the notice period, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

example

If rent is due on February 1st, it will be considered late starting on February 16th, unless the lease specifically states there is a grace period.

End of Lease or No Lease

In Maine, a landlord can evict a tenant who does not have a lease (“tenant at will”) or has a lease that has terminated and continues to remain on the premises (“holdover tenant”). The landlord must first terminate the tenancy by giving the tenant a 30-day notice.

If the tenant does not move out by the end of the notice period, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Lease Violations

In Maine, a landlord can evict a tenant for violating the terms of their lease or not upholding their responsibilities under Maine landlord-tenant law. To do so, the landlord must first serve the tenant a 7 days’ notice to comply or vacate, which gives the tenant a chance to fix the issue or move out.

Examples of lease violations include:

  • Violating health and safety standards
  • Allowing unauthorized occupants or pets to live on the premises
  • Disturbing the peace and enjoyment of other persons on the premises
  • Causing minor property damage
  • Refusing to allow the landlord access to the rental unit

If the tenant does not fix the issue or move out by the end of the notice period, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Illegal Activity

In Maine, a landlord can evict a tenant for committing an illegal activity on the premises. To do so, the landlord must first provide the tenant a 7 days’ notice to vacate. The tenant does not have the option to fix the issue and must move out within the 7 day period.

In Maine, illegal activity includes:

  • Committing domestic violence on the premises
  • Stalking the landlord, landlord’s agent or another tenant on the premises
  • Committing sexual assault on the premises
  • Threatening violence against the landlord, another tenant or any other person
  • Engaging in or promoting prostitution

If the tenant does not move out by the end of the notice period, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Illegal Evictions in Maine

In Maine, there are a few different types of evictions that are illegal. If found liable, the landlord could be required to pay the tenant court costs, reasonable attorneys’ fees, plus $250 or actual damages sustained, whichever is greater.

“Self-Help” Evictions

A landlord is not allowed to attempt to forcibly remove a tenant by:

  • Changing the locks
  • Shutting off utilities
  • Removing tenant belongings

A tenant can only be legally removed with a court order obtained through the formal eviction process.

Retaliatory Evictions

It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant in response to exercising a legally protected right. These rights include:

  • Complaining about a repair issue to the landlord or landlord’s agent
  • Joining a tenant’s union or organization.
  • Pursuing a legal right to remedy habitability issues or radon testing.
  • Filing a Fair Housing complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission.
  • Informing the landlord that the tenant (or tenant’s child) is a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking

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Eviction notice posted on iPropertyManagement.com

In Maine, all evictions follow the same process:

    1. Landlord serves tenant written notice of violations
    2. Landlord files complaint with court due to unresolved issues
    3. Court holds hearing and issues judgment
    4. Writ of possession is issued
    5. Possession of property is returned to landlord

    Step 1: Landlord Serves Notice to Tenant

    A landlord can begin the eviction process in Maine by serving the tenant with written notice. The notice must be delivered using one of the following methods:

    • Handing the notice to the tenant in person (The landlord must make 3 attempts to deliver the notice in-person)
    • Posting the notice in a conspicuous place at the premises AND mailing the notice by first class mail with a certificate of mailing
    tip

    Landlords should always keep the original signed notice and declaration of service as proof of proper service if the case proceeds to court.

    7-Day Notice to Quit

    In Maine, if a tenant is late on paying rent and the balance due is not paid within the 15 calendar day grace period (full or partial), the landlord can serve them a 7-Day Notice to Quit. This eviction notice gives the tenant 7 days to pay the balance due or move out.

    30-Day Notice to Vacate

    For a tenant with no lease or a month-to-month lease in Maine, the landlord can serve them a 30-Day Notice to Vacate to terminate the tenancy. This lease termination notice allows the tenant 30 days to move out.

    For tenants that don’t pay monthly, the amount of notice does not change.

    7-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate

    In Maine, if a tenant commits a minor violation of the terms of their lease or legal responsibilities, the landlord can serve them a 7-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate. This eviction notice gives the tenant 7 days to fix the issue or move out.

    7-Day Notice to Vacate

    In Maine, if a tenant commits an illegal activity on the premises, the landlord can serve them a 7-Day Notice to Vacate. This eviction notice gives the tenant 7 days to move out without the chance to fix the issue.

    Eviction Complaint Filed on iPropertyManagement.com

    Step 2: Landlord Files Lawsuit with Court

    As the next step in the eviction process, Maine landlords must file a complaint in the appropriate court.

    The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant by the sheriff, deputy sheriff, or other person authorized by the court at least 7 days prior to the eviction hearing, through any one of the following methods:

    1. Delivering a copy to the tenant personally
    2. Leaving a copy with someone who is of “suitable” age
    3. Delivering a copy to an agent authorized by appointment or by law
    note

    The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant at least 7 days prior to the date of the eviction hearing.

    Eviction Court Hearing on iPropertyManagement.com

    Step 3: Court Holds Hearing and Issues Judgment

    The eviction hearing must be held within 10 days of the return date listed on the summons.

    Tenants are not required to file a written answer with the court to attend the eviction hearing; however, if they want the hearing to be recorded, then they must file a written answer.

    Recordings are typically required for appeals, so if the tenant thinks they may want to appeal, then it would be in their best interest to file a written answer to ensure that the hearing is recorded so a transcript of the proceedings can be provided to the appeals court.

    If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, a writ of possession will be issued, and the eviction process will continue.

    note

    The eviction hearing must be held within 10 days of the return date listed on the summons.

    Eviction Writ of Possession on iPropertyManagement.com

    Step 4: Writ of Possession Is Issued

    The writ of possession is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit and gives the tenant the opportunity to remove their belongings before law enforcement returns to the property to forcibly remove them.

    The writ will be issued 7 days after the date the ruling in favor of the landlord is issued, and can only be given to the defendant by a sheriff or constable (not the landlord).

    note

    The writ of possession will be issued seven days after the ruling in favor of the landlord.

    Eviction property possession returned on iPropertyManagement.com

    Step 5: Possession of Property is Returned

    Tenants must move out of the rental unit within 48 hours of receiving the writ of possession. If the tenant remains on the property, they are deemed as a trespasser and will be forcibly removed by the constable or sheriff. All personal property on the premises shall be considered as abandoned property.

    A sheriff or constable must deliver the writ to the tenants. This cannot be done by the landlord.

    note

    The tenant has 48 hours to move out after receiving the writ of possession.

    Maine Eviction Process Timeline

    In Maine, an eviction can be completed in 1 to 2 months but can take longer depending on the reason for eviction, whether the eviction is contested, which days courts are (or aren’t) in session and other various possible delays.

    Below are the parts of the Maine eviction process outside the control of landlords for cases that go uncontested.

    Step Estimated Time
    Initial Notice Period 7-30 Calendar Days
    Court Issuing Summons 7 Business Days
    Court Serving Summons 7 Business Days
    Court Ruling 10 Business Days
    Court Serving Writ of Possession 7 Business Days
    Final Notice Period 48 Hours

    Flowchart of Maine Eviction Process

    Maine Eviction Process Flowchart   on iPropertyManagement.com

    Maine Eviction Court Fees

    The average cost of an eviction in Maine for all filing, court, and service fees is $172. However, the cost can vary heavily based on the process server’s fee. Evictions shall be filed in District Court.

    Fee Cost
    Initial Court Filing $105
    Summons Service $16+
    Writ of Possession Service $16+
    Writ of Possession Execution $40
    Notice of Appeal Filing (Optional) $175

    Read more

    Sources