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Maine Residential Lease Agreement for Rental Properties
Leases are the cornerstone of a successful landlord-tenant relationship, providing a legal framework for both parties to enter a harmonious agreement.
In Maine, residential lease documents—including their structure, nature, and contents—are regulated by Maine law on landlord-tenant relations. For this reason, it’s imperative to understand the intricacies of the law before constructing a lease.
This guide will walk you through the crucial components of a lease agreement Maine considers compliant, ensuring you’re well-equipped to make informed decisions. And to make your journey easier, we’re offering a free Maine standard residential lease for download!
A Maine lease is a legally binding document between a landlord and prospective tenant that outlines the terms and conditions governing the rental of a residential property within the state. This lease must adhere to Maine’s landlord-tenant laws, providing a clear framework for both landlords and tenants to follow and fostering a secure and transparent rental environment.
The following components should be included in every Maine lease agreement. Keep in mind that these components primarily apply to a standard residential lease agreement in Maine; a Maine commercial lease agreement will necessarily have different requirements.
This section specifies the lease’s start and end dates, establishing the duration of the rental agreement.
Here, you’ll find details regarding the rent rate, due date, and the status of rent control.
There are no statewide rent control laws in Maine. However, some cities and localities in Maine do have rent control ordinances, including the city of Portland. Additionally, landlords in Maine cannot increase rent if the property is violating the implied warranty of habitability (MRSA § 6016). Be sure that you know which laws apply in your region and any regulations on rent increases.
The penalties for missing rent payments should be clearly stated in the lease, as should any exceptions. In Maine, late fees are limited to 4% of the amount due (MRSA § 6028(2-3)). However, before charging a fee for late rent, landlords in Maine must provide the tenant a written notice in the lease agreement stating that they may incur a charge for late rent payments.
Additionally, late fees in Maine cannot be charged until after the state-wide mandatory grace period, which is 15 days (MRSA § 6028(1)). This means tenants cannot incur any penalties for late rent until at least 15 days after the original rent due date.
All Maine rental agreements should include a clear description of the landlord’s late fee policy so that a prospective tenant knows exactly what will happen if they are late on rent.
This section of the rental agreement includes details about the security deposit, including its amount, where it will be stored, and how/when it will be returned.
The maximum or limit for security deposits in Maine is 2 months’ rent (MRSA § 6032(1)). Additionally, landlords in Maine are required to store security deposits in a separate bank account or financial institution and return them within 30 days after the lease ends (MRSA § 6038(1); MRSA § 6033(2)(A)).
Be sure to include a thorough description of the landlord’s security deposit policy, including the amount, when/how it will be returned, and the conditions under which funds may be withheld from it.
This section encompasses crucial required disclosures, which are information that must be disclosed to the tenant in the lease before they agree to rent the property. These required disclosures must be included in a lease agreement Maine considers compliant, or else provided to the tenant in a separate written notice.
In Maine, the required disclosures are:
- Lead-based paint – Landlords in all 50 states must disclose lead-based paint hazards in rental agreements for most properties built before 1978.
- Energy efficiency disclosure – Landlords in Maine must provide a residential energy efficiency disclosure statement to tenants who will pay for energy to the unit.
- Radon testing – Maine law requires landlords to send a written notice to all tenants within 30 days of receiving the results of a radon test.
- Smoking policy – Landlords in Maine must provide tenants with a smoking policy disclosure that informs tenants of the landlord’s smoking policy.
- Bedbugs — Before renting out a unit, a landlord in Maine must disclose whether an adjacent unit is currently infested with or being treated for bedbugs.
- Common area electricity – If a tenant in Maine is responsible for covering heat, electricity, or another utility to a common area, the landlord must disclose this fact in the lease.
- Security deposit location – Landlords in Maine must disclose the name of the institution and account number where the security deposit is being held.
Landlord Right to Entry
In Maine, there are specific laws governing when a landlord can enter a rental property. In Maine, landlords must provide at least 24 hours’ notice before entering an occupied unit for a non-emergency reason (MRSA § 6025(2)). Additionally, landlords in Maine should only enter at reasonable times (typically interpreted as daylight or business hours). Be sure to include the landlord’s right of entry in all Maine lease agreements.
Repairs & Maintenance
The lease outlines how and when tenants should submit maintenance requests and clarifies the process for addressing necessary repairs. Every Maine residential lease agreement should specify which maintenance responsibilities are the landlord’s and which are the tenant’s.
Lease Termination/Renewal Procedures
This section details the procedures for early lease termination and breaking the lease, including eviction processes. Specifically, the lease should clearly state how many days’ notice the tenant needs to provide the landlord to announce their intent to either renew or terminate the lease.
A Maine residential lease agreement should also clearly describe what happens if the tenant breaks the lease. Before filing for eviction in Maine, landlords must send eviction notices of specified lengths: A seven-day pay-or-quit notice for nonpayment, a seven-day cure-or-quit notice for lease violations, or a seven-day unconditional quit notice for illegal activity. These notice periods should be specified to the tenant so that both parties are clear on what will happen if the tenant fails to uphold the lease agreement.
Any specific community rules or regulations, such as policies on smoking, guests, and pets, are listed in this section. You may also include a Maine sublease agreement if tenants are permitted to sublease their units.
Joint and Severability Clause
This clause is for leases with multiple roommates and explains the legal consequences if one party fails to fulfill their obligations. It ensures that the entire lease isn’t invalidated due to one roommate’s breach.
Both the landlord and tenant will sign the Maine rental lease either on paper or electronically, ensuring a secure and convenient process.
Maine Standard Residential Lease Agreement Download
To make your leasing journey simpler, we offer a free, Maine standard residential lease agreement for download. This template is tailored to meet the specific requirements of Maine state law, making it a valuable tool for landlords and tenants.
Understanding the nuances of a Maine residential lease agreement is vital for a smooth and legal tenancy. We hope this guide has provided you with a clear understanding of the components of a Maine lease. To get started on the right foot, download our free Maine lease template and ensure a transparent, lawful, and satisfying rental experience.