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How to Evict a Tenant in Maine

How to Evict a Tenant in Maine


Maine Eviction Law:

Maine eviction law regulates the eviction of tenants by property owners or landlords. Aside from providing a legal process that must be adhered to by the landlord, Maine eviction law offers several protections for the tenant, including the institution of  a requirement of appropriate notice before eviction and the prohibition of evictions based on discrimination. 

If a tenant signs a lease, the lease serves as the binding contract; it dictates the relationship between the renter and the landlord. So, in general, the lease will dictate the terms of a Maine eviction. The termination clause (found in the lease) must explicitly express how evict a tenant in Maine; the termination clause provides the reasons and the time limits that for evicting a tenant in Maine. If a termination clause is not found within the lease, the landlord may not evict the tenant for the contractual duration of the lease.

If the lease does not renew, the tenant, at the end date of the term, may be required to leave without any further notice or communication. If the lease is attached with an automatic renewal provision; however, the landlord may proceed with an eviction only within seven days of the end of the original lease term. In addition to this provision, the landlord may evict a tenant in Maine according to the termination clauses listed in the lease.

How to Evict a Tenant in Maine: At-Will Tenants and Standard Evictions

At-will tenants (those tenants operating without a signed lease) are subject to evictions in Maine at any time and for no affirmed reason. That being said, the landlord—when discussing how to evict a tenant in Maine—must provide the renter with a written notice 30 days or more before the eviction date; this notice does not need to be met with a reason for the eviction, but the eviction may not be processed for discriminatory reasons, such as based on sexual orientation or race of the tenant. 

How to Evict a Tenant in Maine: At-Will Tenants and Purposeful Evictions

A landlord in Maine may evict at-will tenants with only a seven-day notice to quit if he or she has a valid reason to do so. Reasons for this expedited eviction include: nonpayment of rent (seven days past the due date), disturbing other tenants, not providing the landlord with a key or causing serious damage to the rental space. If the reason for how to evict a tenant in Maine is nonpayment of rent, the tenant may stop the eviction by paying the rent plus any court costs the landlord may incur from proceeding with the eviction process

How to Evict a Tenant in Maine: Forced Eviction

Landlords—according to Maine real estate law—may not personally remove a tenant even if the landlord serves a notice to quit and the tenant refuses to leave the unit. In this situation, landlords must attain court orders to evict tenants. After filing with the court, tenants may be served with a summons to see if the tenant can be legally evicted. During this hearing, the tenant will have the opportunity to fight the eviction.

How to Evict a Tenant in Maine: Common Defenses

Defenses for how to evict a tenant in Maine are plentiful. If the landlord, for starters, does not follow the rules regarding notice, a judge may stop the how to evict a tenant in Maine process and the landlord will be forced to start the process over again. 

If a landlord attempts to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent, the tenant may cite deficiencies in the rental unit that make the space unfit to live. That being said, the tenant—to prove this defense—must show that he or she previously advised the landlord of the underlying problem. When discussing how to evict a tenant in Maine, the tenant may also challenge the eviction process on the grounds that the landlord is attempting a removal as a means of retaliation—the landlord may be upset that the tenant is attempting to exercise his or legal rights. 

Step by Step: How to Evict a Tenant in Maine

When discussing how to evict a tenant in Maine, you must understand that statutes establish the specific procedures that a landlord must adhere to for the eviction of a tenant from a rental property to be affirmed. 3The failure to follow said procedures will not only result in the renter remaining in the rental property, but will also expose you to a possible claim for violating the tenant’s rights. Before attempting to evict a tenant for violating a lease, you must obtain a general knowledge of the laws on how to evict tenants in Maine.

The first step on how to evict a tenant in Maine is to acquire a standard for seven day notice to quit. Maine tenant law requires you to prepare this form before you formally initiate an eviction lawsuit. On this notice you must insert the reasons the tenant violated the lease. For instance, if the tenant fails to provide you with rent, you must state the amount owed and the number of days it is overdue within the lease. Under Maine tenant law, the tenant must be at least one week behind on rent to start the eviction process. 

If the notice to evict is sent for failure to pay rent, you must submit—as pursuant to Maine law—the following clause: “If you pay the amount of rent owed as of the date of this notice before those this notice expires, then this notice as it applies to rent arrearage is void.”

The notice must then be delivered to the tenant in person. When looking at how to evict a tenant in Maine, Maine law requires that you make at least three attempts to deliver the notice to the tenant. After said attempts, you may leave the notice in a conspicuous location at the property. 

After delivery of the notice, you must secure a form Petition for Forcible Entry and Detainer if the renter fails to leave the space or pay the owed rent within the time period of the notice. The petition is the form used to initiate the eviction process in the state of Maine. 

Complete the petition; include the reasons why you want the tenant removed from your space. After labeling this information, attach the notice to the petition. You must then file the petition with the clerk of the court in the county where the rental space is located. 

After completing the above steps, you must attain an initial hearing date from the clerk of the court. If the renter fails to show for the hearing, you will automatically be granted judgment. If the tenant appears and formally request a trial, one will be scheduled. 

If a trial is scheduled you must show and present evidence to support your wishes. Applicable evidence includes any witnesses and documents that support your reason for initiating the eviction process. If you win the eviction case, the judge will grant a formal eviction order. This order will include a direction to the sheriff to remove the tenant from the property if he or she does not voluntarily leave the space after trial. 

When discussing how to evict a tenant in Maine, landlords are required to file writs of possession if the tenant does not leave the premises within seven days. A writ of possession grants the rights to the property back to you, the landlord. When the writ is filed, a sheriff or bailiff will accompany you to remove the tenant and his/her property from the residence. At this time the locks will be changed and the property will be yours and yours alone. After this process is carried-out, the tenant has 48 hours to vacate the premises.