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Landlord/Tenant Law in
Some actions that may seem “fair” are illegal. For example:
Each side must take
If not, you may not only lose your case, you may wind up paying double damages and the other side’s legal fees.
Some Related Landlord/Tenant Legal Terms and Definitions
30-Day Notice – A written notice from a landlord to a renter when there is no lease in place, and the renter is up to date in rent. The landlord can tell the renter to move out, without having to have any particular reason, specifying a date on or after the date the rent has been paid through.
7-day Notice to Quit – This is a notification a landlord can send to a renter when there is no lease, and only if one or more of the following is true:
Nuisance – This means any material impediment, activity, or behavior that interferes with use of the property by the owner or other tenants
Warranty of Habitability – The state of
Forcible Entry and Detainer Action (FED) – This is the formal name for the eviction hearing that takes place in court when a tenant does not move after the landlord has made notification through the proper process. Each side presents their arguments regarding what they have done correctly, and what the other side has done incorrectly, and the judge makes the decision.
Writ of Possession – This is the legal order that forces the tenant to move out if the landlord wins in court. Each side has 10 days to appeal an FED decision, so the Writ of Possession is generally issued between 5 and 10 days after the court hearing. The Writ of Possession must be delivered by a law enforcement officer. A tenant becomes a trespasser if he or she does not move out by 48 hours after being served a Writ of Possession, and can then be forced to leave by law enforcement.
Abandoned Property – Landlords must store abandoned property in a safe, dry, and secure location and go through a specific process of listing the items, notifying the former tenant by first class mail, with proof of mailing, and allowing the tenant a total of 24 days to retrieve them. When a tenant’s possessions become “abandoned” depends upon the circumstances under which the tenant leaves. If the tenant does not leave until taken out by law enforcement at the end of the 48 Writ of Possession period, any property left by the tenant becomes abandoned property immediately. If the tenant moves out at any point before being forced out by law enforcement, possessions left behind are not considered abandoned until 14 days after the landlord has sent a notice, with proof of mailing, to the departed tenant’s last known address.
Proceeds from Abandoned Property – After the legal claim period, a landlord may sell abandoned property worth less than $750 and keep the amount of money owed for back rent, damages, and storage and sale costs. Anything left over has to be sent to the Maine State Treasurer. Abandoned property worth more than $750 must be reported to the Maine State Treasurer, who may or may not authorize sale of the property.
Illegal Eviction – Trying to force a renter to leave by interfering with vital services like heat and electricity, barring access to the rented space, taking the renter’s property, or by going to court for an FED within six months of a renter complaining about the condition of the rented property to housing officials or the court, are all illegal methods of eviction. A renter can take a landlord to court for illegal eviction. If the renter wins, the landlord can be ordered by the court to pay damages, expenses, and legal fees.
These definitions cover only some of
To understand how to handle your particular situation as a landlord or tenant, consult an attorney.
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