This is a summary of Maine Landlord-Tenant laws that apply to residential (non-commercial) rentals. These references were compiled from the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated and various online sources to serve as a reference and for people wanting to learn about Maine landlord-tenant laws, Maine eviction laws, and Maine renters’ rights.
However, this guide is not comprehensive and PayRent does not warrant the accuracy of this information. Statutes can change any time the state legislature passes a new law. Additionally, counties and cities may have different regulations. Given its limitations, this guide is not an adequate substitute for legal advice from a knowledgeable lawyer. If you are dealing with a landlord-tenant issue, you seek guidance from a qualified attorney. If you need help finding an attorney, we’ve included a list of attorney referral services in this guide.
Rules and Regulations Governing Maine Landlord-Tenant Laws
- Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14 §§ 6001 – 6017 – Entry and Detainer
- Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14 §§ 6021 – 6030-E – Rental Property
- Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14 §§ 6031 – 6039 – Security Deposits on Residential Rental Units
- Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14 §§ 6041 – 6041 – Cable Television and Over-the-Air Reception Device Installation
Maine Lease Terms Provisions
- What is the maximum allowable security deposit?
The security deposit cannot exceed two month’s rent. (14 M.R.S. § 6032)
- Are security deposits required to earn interest?
No. There is no Maine law requiring security deposits to earn interest.
- Do landlords need to store security deposits in a separate bank account?
Yes, Maine law states that the deposit may not be treated as an asset to be commingled with the assets of the landlord or any other entity or person. A landlord may use a single escrow account to hold security deposits from all of the tenants. Landlord may use a single escrow account to hold security deposits from tenants residing in separate buildings if the buildings are owned by different entities as long as the different entities are substantially controlled or owned by a single landlord. (14 M.R.S. § 6038)
- Are non-refundable fees, such as pet fees, prohibited?
No. There is no Maine law forbidding non-refundable fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.
- How long do landlords have to return security deposits?
Landlords must return the security deposit within 30 days if there is a written rental agreement, but the rental agreement can specify a shorter time. Landlords have 21 days to return deposits for tenancies at will. (14 M.R.S. § 6033(2))
- Can landlords withhold security deposits?
Yes. Landlords can use the deposit to cover 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. (14 M.R.S. § 6033(2))
- Are landlords required to itemize damages and fees deducted from security deposits?
Yes. Landlords must provide the tenant with a written statement itemizing the reasons for the retention of the security deposit or any portion of it. (14 M.R.S. § 6033(2))
- Do landlords have to issue receipts upon receiving security deposits?
Yes, but only for cash payments. If either the rent or security deposit is accepted in more than one installment instead of a single payment, a separate receipt shall be provided for each payment. (14 M.R.S. § 6022(1))
- Are there any specific requirements for record-keeping for deposit withholdings?
No. There is no Maine law specifying record-keeping requirements.
- What happens when a landlord does not return a security deposit within the required timeframe?
The landlord forfeits their right to withhold any portion of the security deposit. (14 M.R.S. § 6033(3))
- Is there a cap on how much landlords can charge for rent? (rent control)
No. There are no state rent control laws in Maine.
- Does rent need to be paid using a certain method of payment?
No. There is no Maine law requiring a certain payment method for rent.
- Can landlords charge late fees when rent is late?
Yes. Landlords can charge late fees up to 4% of the monthly rent amount. (14 M.R.S. § 6028(2))
- Do landlords have to allow for a grace period for paying rent before charging late fees?
Yes, Maine law requires a 15 day grace period. (14 M.R.S. § 6028(1))
- Can landlords charge application fees?
Yes. There is no Maine law forbidding application fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.
- Can landlords charge returned check fees?
Yes. There is no Maine law forbidding returned check fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.
Maine Landlord-Tenant Relations
- Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between lease terms?
Yes, landlords must provide at least 45 days’ written notice of rent increases for residential estates. (14 M.R.S. § 6015)
- Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the property?
No. There is no Maine law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the rental property.
- What notice is required to terminate a fixed-end lease?
No notice is required — the lease ends on the date stated in the lease.
- What notice is required to terminate a tenancy at will?
Either the landlord or the tenant can terminate the lease with 30 days’ notice. A notice to terminate under this section must include language advising the tenant that the tenant has the right to contest the termination in court. (14 M.R.S. § 6002)
- Is notice of the date and time of the move out inspection required?
There is no statute in Maine law covering this issue.
- When can landlords enter the rental premises with notice?
- To inspect the premises.
- To make necessary or agreed to repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements.
- To supply necessary or agreed services.
- To show the unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors. (14 M.R.S. § 6025(1))
- What notice must a landlord give a tenant before entering the rental unit?
The landlord must provide 24 hours notice and must only enter at reasonable times. (14 M.R.S. § 6025(2))
- When can landlords enter the rental premises without providing notice to their tenants?
Only in case of an emergency. (14 M.R.S. § 6025(2))
- In any written or oral agreement for rental of a dwelling unit, the landlord shall be deemed to covenant and warrant that the dwelling unit is fit for human habitation. (14 M.R.S. § 6021(2))
- 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 at a distance of 3 feet from the exterior walls, 5 feet above floor level at an outside temperature of minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, unless alternative arrangements are agreed to in writing. (14 M.R.S. § 6021(6)).
- Tenant must promptly notify landlord when tenant knows of or suspects an infestation of bedbugs in the dwelling unit (14 M.R.S. §6021-A(3)
Required Landlord Disclosures
- At tenant’s request, landlord shall disclose the name of the institution and the account number where the security deposit is held. (14 M.R.S. § 6038(1))
- Landlord shall provide tenants and prospective tenants a disclosure of the landlord’s policy regarding smoking 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. It can be disclosed in the rental agreement or a separate written notice. (14 M.R.S. § 6030-E).
- 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 the 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. (14 M.R.S. § 6021-A).
- 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 Department of Health and Human Services shall prepare a standard disclosure statement form for a landlord to use to disclose to a tenant information concerning radon. (14 M.R.S. § 6030-D).
- Before renting pre-1978 property, landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards. . (16 CFR 1303, 42 U.S. Code § 4852d) . If the landlord fails to disclose all known lead paint hazards, the landlord can face fines of up to $19,507 for each violation (24 CFR 30.65).
Maine Renters’ Rights
- What are Maine renters’ rights if landlords breach their duties? (See Landlord’s Duties)
If a condition exists in a dwelling unit which renders the dwelling unit unfit for human habitation and endangers or materially impairs the health or safety of the tenant, and the landlord, upon receiving written notice, did not repair or remedy the situation, a tenant may file a complaint against the landlord in the District Court or Superior Court. (14 M.R.S. § 6021)
- Are tenants allowed to withhold rent for needed repairs or other breaches of their landlords’ duties?
Yes. If a condition exists in a dwelling unit that endangers or materially impairs the health or safety of the tenants, and the cost to repair is less than the great of $500 or ½ of the monthly rent, the tenant can repair and deduct the amount from rent if the landlord fails to complete the repair within 14 days of receiving written notice from the tenant. (14 M.R.S. § 6026(2))
- What are the protections for tenants against retaliation from their landlords for exercising their Maine renter’s rights?
Maine law creates a rebuttable presumption of retaliation if the landlord files an eviction within six months prior of the tenant asserting certain statutory rights, complaining to an enforcement agency of conditions that may violate code, complaining in writing to the landlord to make repairs as required by code or the rental agreement, or filing in good faith a fair housing complaint for which there is a reasonable basis. (14 M.R.S. § 6001(3))
Maine Eviction Laws
- What are the reasons that landlords can evict tenants under Maine eviction laws?
- Nonpayment of rent (14 M.R.S. § 6002(1)(C))
- Violation of lease terms / rental agreement (14 M.R.S. § 6001(1-B))
- Materially health and safety violation (14 M.R.S. § 6002(1)(A)-(B))
- Illegal activity (14 M.R.S. § 6002(1)(D)-(E))
- The tenant remains in possession without the landlord’s consent after expiration or termination of the term of the rental agreement (holdover tenancy) (14 M.R.S. § 6001(1))
- What notice do Maine eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
- Do Maine eviction laws allow landlords to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities?
No. Maine law forbids self-help evictions. (14 M.R.S. § 6014(1))
COVID-19 Changes to Maine Landlord-Tenant Laws
- The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is no longer effective.
- Maine Emergency Rent Relief Program provides help with rental and utility relief payments.
Squatter’s rights in Maine
Under Homestead Act of 1862, individuals (squatters) can possess the property if they have lived there for a specific period of time, done so publicly, made repairs to the property, have deed to the property and have paid rent or taxes on this property.
Maine has no specific laws recognizing squatters.
The squatter must live on the property for 20 years to be able to claim adverse possession (14 M.R.S. § 812).
- Maine Small Claims Court
- Maine Guide to Small Claims Court Proceedings in District Court
- Forcible Entry and Detainer (Eviction) Mediation Brochure
- Maine Judicial Branch
- Maine District Court
- Maine Attorney General
- Maine State Housing Authority – Rental Housing Guide
- Maine Attorney General – Model Landlord-Tenant Lease
- Consumer Rights When You Rent an Apartment
- Maine Bureau of Insurance
- Maine Bureau of Insurance – A Consumer’s Guide to Homeowner Insurance
- Maine State Housing Authority
- Portland Housing Authority
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Maine
- Maine Real Estate Commission
- Maine Judicial Branch – Legal Aid Resources in Maine
- Pine Tree Legal Assistance
- Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project
- Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic
- Maine Legal Services for the Elderly
- Maine Equal Justice Partners
- Help Me Law
- Pine State Legal Assistance – Rights of Tenants in Maine Guide
Attorney Referral Services
Realtor and Landlord-Tenant Associations
- Maine Association of Realtors
- Greater Bangor Association of Realtors
- Kennebec Valley Board of Realtors
- Mountains Council of Realtors
- Mid-Coast Board of Realtors
- Greater Portland Board of Realtors
- York County Council of Realtors
- Southern Maine Landlord Association
- Maine Apartment Owners and Managers Association
- Central Maine Apartment Owners Association
- Greater Bangor Apartment Owners and Managers Association