Maine Rental Lease Agreements
The Maine Rental Lease Agreements are forms that provide structure for the leasing of a rental property. Conditions included in the forms cover a wide variety of topics, of which are the cost of rent, the term of the lease, the parties to the agreement, who is to pay what utilities, and clauses that state the repercussions of not paying rent and other infractions. The agreements reflect all state laws pertaining to landlord-tenant relationships, Title 14, Chapter 710 “Rental Property.” Maine’s rental laws are considered to be friendly to both landlords and tenants. That being said, it is the responsibility of both parties to ensure the contract accurately reflects these state laws.
Types of Agreements
Commercial Lease Agreement – To be used for the renting of a commercially-zoned property to a retail, restaurant, industrial, office, or other business type.
Lease to Own Agreement – Landlords can use this legal document to allow tenants to pay a portion of rent payments towards the purchase of the rental property. Combines two (2) separate documents into one: a standard lease and purchase agreement.
Month-to-Month Lease Agreement – An agreement for establishing a periodic tenancy in which a landlord leases a rental dwelling for a single month at a time.
Roommate Agreement – Created and signed by roommates in a shared rental property, this document enhances roommate cooperation in a range of matters relating to the shared living space.
Standard Residential Lease Agreement – The most common lease type for residential renting. Created with the consideration of all relevant state and federal rental laws as well as the preferences of landlords and tenants located whose property(s) are located in Maine.
Sublease Agreement – A contract drafted to allow a tenant to re-rent their property to another individual until the expiration of their original lease.
What is a Maine Lease Agreement?
A Maine Lease Agreement is a legal document used by landlords and tenants to ensure both parties are clearly aware of their legal obligations to one another for the duration of the lease. By establishing guidelines, the agreement removes any ambiguity (unclarity) about how each party must behave. An especially important document that landlords should use (regardless of the type of lease completed) is a rental application form, which is a document designed to help landlords gain a complete picture of any prospective tenants interested in entering into a lease.
For a useful guide to navigating rental laws and the rights afforded to tenants, download “The Rights of Tenants in Maine.”
When is Rent Due?
Maine state law does not specify a date when rent is due. As such, both parties should refer to the rental contract. It should be noted however that as § 6028 stipulates, tenants have fifteen (15) days from when the rent payment is due until payment is considered late, allowing the landlord to charge a late fee.
Emergency (§ 6025(2)): Landlords’ right to access the property without prior consent from tenants in emergency situations is protected by state law.
Non-Emergency (§ 6025(2)): Landlords must give reasonable notice of their intent to enter the rental property. In absence of evidence to the contrary, reasonable notice is defined by state law as twenty-four (24) hours. Landlords should also only enter at reasonable times.
- Bedbug Disclosure (§ 6021-A): Prior to leasing the rental property, landlords must disclose to prospective tenants if an adjacent unit or units are currently infested with or are being treated for bedbugs.
- Energy efficiency disclosure (§6030-C): Landlords must provide a residential energy efficiency disclosure statement to potential tenants, tenants who pay for an energy supply for the rental property, or upon request by tenants. The disclosure should include, but is not limited to, information about the energy efficiency of the property. Landlords also have the option of including in the application for the residential property the name of each supplier of energy that previously supplied the unit, if known. The following statement must also be included: “You have the right to obtain a 12-month history of energy consumption and the cost of that consumption from the energy supplier.”
- Lead Paint Disclosure: Landlords of dwellings constructed before 1978 must provide tenants with a pamphlet about lead paint hazards, and must also disclose any known ones in the rental dwelling.
- Radon (§ 6030-D): The air in the building must be tested every ten (10) years if the tenant so requests it, unless a radon mitigation system has been installed. Landlords with properties located in buildings constructed or that began operation after March 1, 2014 must test the air in a building for radon within twelve (12) months of move-in. Landlords must provide a written notice to tenants that discloses the test result within thirty (30) days of receiving them. To make the disclosure, landlords may use The Department of Health and Human Services’ form, Landlords Disclosure To Tenants Of Radon Gas Hazards In A Residential Rental Property.
- Security Deposit Bank Account (§ 6038): Should the tenant request it, landlords must disclose the name of the institution and the account number where the security deposit is held.
- Smoking Policy (§ 6030-E): Landlords must provide a smoking policy disclosure to both tenants and prospective tenants that notifies of the landlord’s policy regarding smoking on the premises. If smoking is only allowed in a limited area, this must be identified. The disclosure may be included in the written lease agreement or given as a separate written notice to a tenant or potential tenant.
Security Deposit Laws
Maximum (§ 6032): The maximum security deposit that landlords can demand is capped at two (2) months’ rent.
Returning to Tenant (§ 6033): For leases upheld by written rental agreements, landlords must return a security deposit to tenants within thirty (30) days. In cases of tenancy at will (a month-to-month lease), landlords must return a security deposit to tenants within twenty-one (21) days following the termination of the tenancy or the surrender and acceptance of the premises. If there is any reason the full deposit amount will not be returned, landlords must provide a written statement to tenants that itemizes the reasons for retaining any portion of it.