READ ABOUT: “Recent Changes to Maine Landlord/Tenant Laws”
By Rudman Winchell Attorney Mikaela S. Wentworth
In September 2011, a number of new Maine laws went into effect concerning the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. Among these changes are the enactment of 14 MRSA § 6030-E, which requires certain residential landlords to provide tenants and potential tenants with a smoking policy disclosure, and 14 MRSA §6001, sub-§1-B, which allows landlords and tenants to terminate a tenancy in the absence of termination language in the lease.
1. Smoking Policy Disclosure.
The smoking policy disclosure requirement is limited to premises that will be used as a primary residence and thus appears to exclude vacation rentals. Pursuant to § 6030-E, the disclosure shall address whether and where smoking is permitted on the premises. The disclosure may be provided in a written lease agreement or, in the case of a tenancy at will, in a separate written notice. The landlord must obtain written acknowledgment of notification of the smoking policy prior to entering into a lease or accepting a deposit from the tenant or potential tenant. A landlord’s failure to provide a smoking policy disclosure or the violation of a smoking policy by another tenant does not give rise to a private cause of action against the landlord.
2. Lease Without Termination Language.
Prior to the enactment of §6001, sub-§1-B, if a residential lease did not specify that the landlord could evict the tenant for a material breach of the lease, such as nonpayment of rent, the landlord’s only remedy for such a breach was to sue the tenant for damages. As a result of §6001, sub-§1-B, a landlord in this situation may now terminate the tenancy in accordance with 14 MRSA §6002, which governs tenancies at will. Among other things, §6002 allows for the termination of a tenancy upon 7 days’ written notice where the tenant is 7 days or more in arrears in the payment of rent. In addition, §6001, sub-§1-B, now allows a tenant to terminate a tenancy upon 7 days’ written notice where the landlord has substantially breached the lease.
To read these new laws in their entireties, visit the Maine legislature’s website at