A Maine eviction notice is a crucial document for landlords taking the first step in the tenant eviction process. The written notice must adhere to Maine state regulations while granting the tenant the appropriate duration to address the lease violation or vacate the property.
Download a free eviction notice customized for Maine state law below in MS Word (.docx) or Adobe PDF format.
Eviction Laws & Requirements
- Eviction Lawsuit: Maine Revised Statutes (M.R.S.) Title 14, Chapter 709.
- Late Fee Penalty: A late fee of up to 4% of the monthly rent amount may be collected 15 days from the date the payment is due and if explicitly mentioned in the lease agreement (14 M.R.S. § 6028).
- Non-Payment of Rent Notice: 7 days (14 M.R.S. § 6002(1)(C)).
- Notice of Non-Compliance: 30 days or 7 days for significant damage to the property, the tenant is a perpetrator of sexual/domestic violence or other reasons mentioned in 14 M.R.S. § 6002(1)(A) through (F).
- Lease Termination (Month-to-Month): 30 days (14 M.R.S. § 6002).
How to Evict a Tenant in Maine
In Maine, Title 14, Chapter 709 of the Maine Revised Statutes governs eviction notices and proceedings.
Step 1 – Send Tenant Eviction Notice
If the tenant is late paying rent for more than 15 days after their rent payment was due, the landlord may send a 7-day notice to pay rent or quit for non-payment of rent. If the tenant violated one or more terms in the lease agreement, the landlord could send a 7-day notice to quit for non-compliance or a 30-day notice to quit for non-compliance depending on the lease violation.
Remember that the original lease agreement may have a grace period that gives tenants more time after the due date to pay rent than the 15 days noted above. Furthermore, if tenants have a disability, landlords must allow “reasonable accommodations” to help these renters stay in their homes.
Additionally, the Maine Human Rights Act offers certain protections, and tenants may have a discrimination defense if landlords evict them for reasons having to do with race, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental impairment, religion, familial status, ancestry or national origin, public assistance status.
Step 2 – File Eviction Complaint
Landlords file eviction complaints in the district court where the property is. Check with your county’s court to understand the filing fees and other court costs (including attorney fees) accompanying eviction proceedings.
To begin the eviction (also known as forcible entry and detainer) process, a landlord must personally serve the tenant with a copy of the summons and complaint.
If you make three good-faith efforts to serve the defendant on three different days (including personal service), you may use first-class mail to send the summons and complaint to the tenant’s last known address (See 14 M.R.S. § 6004).
Step 3 – Gather Evidence and Attend Eviction Hearing
Even if the tenant doesn’t come to the eviction hearing or respond to the eviction complaint, it’s still the landlord’s responsibility to show three things:
- There was a valid rental agreement or month-to-month lease in place.
- The tenant had one or more lease violations.
- The landlord is entitled to immediate possession of the leased property and any financial damages.
Evidence for the eviction hearing includes items like a copy of the lease agreement, bank statements or payment records showing the history of rent payments, and photos of the property.
If the tenant does not appear at the eviction hearing, the court will issue a default judgment for the landlord, and the tenant will have to move out of the rental unit immediately.
Step 4 – Obtain Eviction Order
If landlords prove at the eviction hearing that they’re entitled to repossess the rental unit, the district court will issue a judgment of eviction and a writ of possession.
Suppose the tenant fails to move out by the time designated in the writ. In that case, the tenant is considered a trespasser, and the landlord may seek the county sheriff’s or deputy sheriff’s help to forcibly remove the tenant from the property.
Related Maine Court Forms
- Instructions for Filing a Residential Forcible Entry and Detainer (FED) Case (CV-100).
- Complaint for Residential FED (CV-007).
- Request for Issuance of Writ of Possession (CV-195).
- FED Information Sheet and Mediation Request (CV-256).