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A Maine eviction notice is a written notice drafted and signed by the landlord. It is addressed to the tenant to inform them that they have violated the lease in some way. It gives the tenant a certain amount of time to correct the violation or vacate the property. Better known as a notice of quit, eviction notices are governed by Maine’s landlord-tenant law. They are the first step in the eviction process.
A Maine eviction notice is an important document because it tells the tenant what they must do to avoid the eviction process. Additionally, it is the first step a landlord must take in the legal eviction process. A landlord may not bring a lawsuit against the tenant for an eviction without first legally serving them with an eviction notice. The following components must be included in the eviction notice:
Speaking of service, let’s take a moment to discuss how service must happen. This is important because the time period listed in the eviction notice does not begin until the tenant is actually served. Landlord-tenant law states that the landlord or their agent must personally serve the tenant on the rental property. They must make three attempts in good-faith. If service is not made after those three attempts, the notice may be posted on the front door or other visible location on the rental property. The landlord must also send a copy of the eviction notice via first-class mail to the tenant’s last-known address.
7-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment of Rent
A 7-day notice to quit for non-payment of rent notifies the tenant that they have seven days to pay their rent or vacate the property. This notice should inform the tenant of the total amount due, when it must be paid, how it must be paid, and where it may be paid. Landlords should note that while Maine landlord-tenant law states that rent is late if it is not paid on the day of the month listed in the lease, they may not charge a late fee until the rent is 15 days past due. This Maine eviction notice is governed by Title 14 § 6002.
7-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance
A 7-day notice to quit for non-compliance is used when a tenant violates the lease by performing at least one of the following (aside from non-payment of rent):
With this notice, the tenant has seven days to correct the violation or vacate the property. This notice should explain the lease violation in detail. If there is no language in the lease that outlines unacceptable activities or if there is only an oral contract, this notice may still be used. This notice is governed by Title 14 § 6001(1-B), § 6002(1), and § 6025(3).
30-Day Notice to Quit a Month-to-Month Tenancy
A 30-day notice to quit isn’t an eviction notice. However, it does end a month-to-month lease. The tenant doesn’t have to violate the month-to-month tenancy. Either the tenant wants to move or the landlord wants to regain possession of the property. This letter gives the tenant 30 days of notice when issued by the landlord. It should include the date by which the tenant should vacate the property. A 30-day notice to quit for a month-to-month lease is regulated by Title 14 § 6002.
Maine landlord-tenant laws govern the eviction process, including why eviction notices may be issued and how they must be served. Eviction notices must include explain why the notice is issued and how long the tenant has to correct the lease violation.
It is illegal in the state of Maine for a landlord to change the locks, turn off the utilities, or remove the tenant’s belongings without a court order. It is also illegal for a landlord to engage in what is referred to as retaliatory eviction. In plain English, this means that a landlord may not evict a tenant because the tenant reports existing code violations. Tenants also may not be evicted based on their race, skin color, religion, country of national origin, gender, disability, or family status. If the landlord is party to an illegal eviction, the tenant may have the grounds to file a lawsuit against the landlord and be awarded with financial compensation.
Maine tenants have rights and obligations under landlord-tenant law. The Attorney General’s Office provides a free PDF download that explains your rights as a tenant. Read the eviction notice. Determine the reason it was given to you and how long you have to correct the problem. If you don’t have a written lease, the landlord can still serve you with an eviction notice. If you have questions about the eviction notice, call your landlord or their agent. Receiving an eviction notice can be a tense experience. Don’t get upset while you’re on the phone. Getting upset won’t help you sort out the situation.
You cannot be legally evicted for reporting code violations or for one of the seven protected classes listed above under Legal Considerations. The landlord may not remove your belongings, turn off utilities, or change the locks unless they have a court order. If you believe that the eviction against you is illegal, you have several options:
Maine landlords are required to follow landlord-tenant law. Drafting and serving an eviction notice on the tenant is the first step for a landlord who wants to go through the legal process of evicting a tenant. Keep in mind that unless you get a court order, you may not change the locks, remove the tenant’s personal belongings, or shut off the utilities. Those methods are known as “self-help” methods and they are illegal unless you have a court order.
If you have questions or want to know more about your rights and obligations as a landlord, make an appointment to talk with a landlord-tenant attorney.