When Is It Illegal for Landlords to Retaliate in Maine?
It’s illegal for Maine landlords to retaliate by trying to evict tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions in the past six months:
Reporting health and safety violations.
Complaining to the landlord about maintenance.
Filing a fair housing complaint.
Notifying the landlord of a victimization related to the tenancy.
Participating in a tenant organization.
The law allows an exception when the landlord can prove a non-retaliatory, good-faith reason for the alleged retaliatory action. For example, it’s not retaliation to evict a tenant who hasn’t ever paid the rent.
What Can Tenants Do in Response in Maine?
If a landlord attempts a retaliatory eviction in Maine, the tenant can respond bycountersuing for quiet enjoyment of the property.If the landlord can’t rebut a presumption of retaliation, the judge will dismiss the action and the eviction will fail.
“[A] rebuttable presumption [exists] that the action was commenced in retaliation against the tenant if, within 6 months prior… the tenant has: A. Asserted the tenant’s rights pursuant to section 6021 or section 6030‑D [health & safety issues]; B. Complained… of conditions… that may constitute a violation… to a body charged with enforcement of that code, ordinance, regulation or statute, or such a body has filed a notice or complaint… C. Complained in writing or made a written request, in good faith, to the landlord or the landlord’s agent to make repairs… E. Prior to being served with an eviction notice, filed, in good faith, a fair housing complaint… F. … provided the landlord or the landlord’s agent with notice that the tenant or tenant’s minor child is a victim; or G. … communicated to the landlord or the landlord’s agent about an act of sexual harassment or filed a complaint…”
“If an action of forcible entry and detainer is brought for any reason set forth in section 6002, subsection 1 [damaging the premises; breaking the law; rent default; hostile possession] or for violation of a lease provision, the presumption of retaliation does not apply, unless the tenant has asserted a right pursuant to section 6026 [repair & deduct]. No writ of possession may issue in the absence of rebuttal of the presumption of retaliation… No writ of possession may issue when the tenant proves that the action of forcible entry and detainer was commenced in retaliation for the tenant’s membership in an organization concerned with landlord-tenant relationships.”