Maine Residential Lease Termination Notice


Purpose. A Maine lease termination letter (“Notice to Vacate”) is a required document to end month-to-month lease agreements in Maine. State law requires giving at least 30 days notice for termination. However, state law does not require notice to be given to end fixed term lease agreements on their end date.

Read further to learn more about notice requirements and the residential lease termination process in Maine.

Maine Notice Requirements for Lease Termination by a Tenant

  • With a fixed-term lease, the tenant must provide the landlord with a 30-day notice when they are going to vacate the property before the lease ends.
  • With a month-to-month lease, the tenant must also give the landlord a 30-day notice when they plant to vacate.
  • With a week-to-week lease, the tenant is required to give a notice of 30 days to the landlord when they plan to vacate.

Legally Terminating a Lease Early in Maine

  • The tenant can end their fixed-term lease early if they are entering active duty in the military. The lease will end 30 days after written notice is provided to the landlord.
  • The tenant will be able to legally terminate a rental arrangement when the living conditions in the premises are unsafe. 
  • If there are violations of the health code, the lease can be terminated. This can include a lack of heat during the winter months.
  • If the landlord has violated or harassed the tenant during their occupancy, the tenant can terminate the lease early as well.

The majority of leases in the state of Maine are considered to be fixed-term leases, which means that they have a preset start time and an end time. These are renewed in many situations at the end of the lease, but in the intervening time, they can be a bit restrictive. Instead of having one of these leases, some tenants and landlords opt to use a month-to-month lease, which is also called an at-will lease. 

Either the landlord and the tenant can fill out a lease termination notice for a month-to-month tenancy, and it’s an indication that there is a request to make the unit vacant. In the state of Maine, based on Title 14 § 6002, the only period of notice that’s required is 30 days for one of these leases. After this period has expired, the lease can be considered terminated for both parties. This period is designed to provide the tenant with the adequate time to find new accommodations, and it allows the landlord to begin the tenant-seeking process if they keep the unit available for rent.

Unlike fixed-term leases, there are minimal consequences when using one of these notices, so it’s perfect for individuals that are going to be staying in an area for a limited amount of time. It’s also great for landlords that are only looking to rent in a limited faculty.

How to Write a Lease Termination Notice

When writing a document like this, it’s essential that all aspects of the lease are included so that it’s very comprehensive. This is for the purposes of the courts in case the document is challenged by the other party. Much of the needed information is available in the original lease, so it’s a good idea to have this at-hand so that it can be used during the writing process. Here are some of the sections to include for landlords:

The Date and Both Parties’ Information

When writing one of these, the first thing that should be established is the date that the document is being created. This will serve as a record of when the notice was created, but it’s important to understand that the state-mandated 30-day period does not begin until the notice is in the hands of the tenant.

After the date is included, the identities of both of the parties are required. When including this, it’s a good idea to have the original lease handy; it can easily be used to transcribe the names as they appeared on the original document. This way, there can be no confusion in the courts about whether the parties are the same as the original lease.

Information about the Property

Once again, for clarity, the landlord should specify the location of the unit. Any and all pertinent information should be included as well, including the street address, the county, the city, and the zip code. Aspects of the location can also include unit numbers, building numbers, and side streets.

Information about the Lease

In situations where the notice is being filed because of a violation of one of the original lease’s rules, then information about this aspect of the lease should be provided. For example, lease terms pertaining to info about policies on pets, smoking, or noise are all common sections to include in documents of this type. Many landlords will end a month-to-month lease when a tenant has brought in animals into the unit when it’s not allowed or smoked in a unit that has a non-smoking policy, so if the original lease stipulates that these are not allowed, then this should be mentioned in the notice. Additionally, it’s important to clearly state that the nature of the lease agreement is at will.

Signature Section

The final section that’ll need to be included in the signature section. In this section, the full name of the person issuing the notice should be signed. After the signature has been provided, the person issuing the document should also print their name and date the document as well. After this, the notice will be delivered to the recipient, and once received, the 30 days will begin. In the signature section, there should also be additional spaces provided so that the recipient can sign, print their name, and date the document to verify receipt as well.

Finally, a space for the delivery agent should be provided in the signature section. The person delivering the notice will confirm that an adult household member has received the document, so there should be a space for their signature as well. This signature will confirm that the document has either been delivered in person or sent via certified mail.

Maine Laws on Breaking a Lease

One of these documents can be provided by a person that is looking to break a fixed-term lease, but it’s critical that all parties understand that this may come with its own set of issues. When breaking a lease, a tenant will need to know that they may be deemed responsible and may need to pay off the remainder of the rent owed until the end of the lease. In many situations, at the very lease, the breaking of a lease early may at least result in a loss of the security deposit. Fortunately, there are extenuating circumstances where a party in a fixed-term lease may end the lease early:

  • When the tenant is not paying rent on time or has violated an aspect of the lease: If either of these circumstances occurs, the landlord can file a Notice to Quit, which can lead to eviction before the end of a lease term.
  • The rental unit is deemed unsafe: If a tenant is living in a rental unit that violates Maine safety codes, he or she can terminate the lease, especially if the landlord doesn’t do anything to rectify the situation. The landlord will have the option to elicit repairs.
  • The landlord harasses or violates the tenant’s privacy: In Maine, the landlord must provide reasonable notice before he or she enters the premises. If the landlord consistently enters the premises without notice, he or she will be violating Maine’s law §6024-A, and this is grounds for the tenant to seek a termination of the lease.