The Maine rental agreements are contracts between a landlord and a tenant for the use of real property. The tenant makes regular payments (“rent”) and must abide by all of the terms laid out in the agreement. These documents cannot supersede state laws.
Maine Rental Agreement Types
Maine Required Lease Disclosures
- Late or Returned Check Fees (required for some) – Maine landlords are required to disclose in the lease agreement if late fees are going to be imposed and how much they will amount to, ensuring they are documented so that they can be enforced in court (if required).
- Bed Bug Disclosure (required for some) – Any Maine rental unit with a suspected infestation cannot be rented, and if there is an adjacent or contiguous property with an infestation, there must be a disclosure included in the lease agreement that offers inspection information upon request to limit the chances of the infestation growing or affecting the new tenant’s personal property that results in damages from the landlord.
- Radon Disclosure (required for all) – Maine landlords are required to provide the results for recently completed radon testing in new lease agreements, along with an information addendum from the Department of Health that requires both parties to sign to acknowledge the potential risks of radon exposure.
- Energy Efficiency Disclosure Statement (required for some) – If the tenant is expected to pay utilities directly to the utility company or landlord, the Maine lease agreement must contain an energy efficiency statement and the 12-month utility history or supplier’s contact information if paid directly to ensure the correct charges are being applied.
- Common Area Utility Disclosure (required for some) – Dwelling units that share a utility line with a common area (i.e., stairwell, hallway, storage area, water heaters) or other areas outside of the dwelling should have this fact disclosed as part of the rental agreement.
- Security Deposit Holdings (required for some) – If a Maine landlord asks for a security deposit, they must provide a written disclosure of how those security deposit funds will be kept while the tenant is renting the property.
- Smoking Policy Disclosure (required for all) – The smoking policy for a Maine rental property must be disclosed in the lease agreement, including where smoking is allowed so landlords can limit smoke damage risk for their rental units.
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure (required for some) – Every lease for a Maine property built before 1978 requires a lead-based paint disclosure form and EPA-approved pamphlet regarding the dangers of lead paint in addition to any known hazards that exist in the rental building for the safety of its residents.
To learn more about required disclosures in Maine, click here.
Maine Landlord Tenant Laws
- Warranty of Habitability – Maine’s laws require its landlords to provide all tenants with waterproof ceilings, adequate hot/cold running water, plumbing, and more. All repairs performed on these amenities must be made within 14 days of a reported problem. Otherwise, an effected tenant has the right to withhold rent or perform the repair on their own.
- Evictions – Maine landlords may evict tenants for a number of reasons including, but not limited to failure to pay rent, a violation of a leasing term, or committing an illegal act. Landlords must provide tenants with prior notice to pay, comply or quit, depending on the type of eviction. Maine evictions occur in precisely a week’s time or can take months.
- Security Deposits – A Maine landlord cannot charge a security deposit valued more than 2 months’ rent. These remaining funds of the deposit must be returned to the tenant within 30 days of the end of the lease.
- Lease Termination – Month-to-month renters in Maine must provide 30 days of notice before breaking their lease. There are a handful of scenarios where a tenant can legally break a lease in Maine, including but not limited to active military duty, landlord harassment, domestic violence, or unit uninhabitability.
- Rent Increases & Fees – Some landlords in Maine must comply with the Rent Control Ordinance, which allows for an increase in rent up to 10% under certain circumstances. If the rental unit is not in a rent-controlled city, there is no current limit on how much rent can be increased. A landlord must provide a 45-day notice when executing a rent increase. Additionally, a Maine landlord may charge late fees that do not exceed 4% of the month’s rent and can collect up to 12% per annum from the date of the payment plus any court costs and processing charges incurred in relation to a bounced rental check.
- Landlord Entry – Tenants are required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs. However, a landlord must give tenants “reasonable” notice. According to Maine law, 24 hours’ notice is presumed “reasonable” unless it’s an emergency.
- Settling Legal Disputes – Claims of $6,000 or less can be arbitrated by Maine’s small claims courts. Landlords and tenants in Maine cannot file eviction claims in this venue, however.
To learn more about landlord tenant laws in Maine, click here.