Evicting a tenant sometimes happens. For landlords in Maine, following the law carefully will help avoid a tenant's lawsuit for wrongful eviction. To start, the rental agreement spells out how a tenant can be evicted if necessary.
Most of the time Maine law says the tenant still gets a 30-day notice. "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," says an article at Laws.com.
The law allows a seven-day eviction notice in certain circumstances like:
- Destruction of the property
- Being seven days past-due on the rent
- Excessively disturbing the neighbors
The Pine Tree State also says a seven-day eviction is permitted if the tenant changes the locks and does not give the landlord a key. This provision is not found in many other states' rental property laws.
"Maine law requires that you (or the deputy) make at least three good faith attempts to deliver the notice to the tenant in person. After these attempts, you can leave the notice in a conspicuous place at the tenant's home," says Legal Beagle.
Once notice is served, the landlord must go to court to get an official eviction order. Pine Tree Legal Assistance, a legal advice organization in Maine, says the eviction notice must be served by a sheriff or one of his deputies.
The legal information website Nolo has a few words of warning for landlords. "It is very important to note that the landlord can never personally evict or force the tenant to move out of the rental unit. Even if the landlord is successful in the eviction lawsuit, a sheriff must perform the actual eviction. It is illegal for a landlord to shut off the utilities to the rental unit, change the locks on the rental unit, or do any other act that is intended to force the tenant to move out."
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