Eviction Process in Maine
If you are being evicted in the state of Maine, you may not know how to proceed. Learning about the eviction process in Maine can help you understand your rights and options under the law. After reading this guide, you will understand the steps involved in the eviction process in Maine and how long each step will take.
Before your landlord can begin the eviction process in Maine courts, he or she must first give you notice and allow you to cure any breaches to the lease. You will be given a seven-day written notice that specifies the reason that you are being evicted along with any steps that you may take in order to reinstate your tenancy.
If your landlord is beginning the eviction process in Maine because you are behind on rent, you will be asked to pay the full amount of past-due rent within the seven day period to avoid going to court. If you have breached part of your lease (for instance, by keeping an unauthorized pet), your landlord may offer you a cure for the breach (like re-homing the pet or paying a non-refundable pet deposit), but is not required to.
At this stage in eviction proceedings, no court is yet involved. You have a better chance of working out a payment plan or arrangement with your landlord if you consult with them before court papers are filed.
Court Filings and Hearings
If you have not ended your tenancy or fixed the problem that led to the eviction notice within seven days, your landlord can continue the eviction process in Maine courts. Eviction lawsuits begin when your landlord files a complaint and summons with your local courthouse for a “forcible entry and detainer” action.
You will be served with a copy of the complaint, which tells why your landlord is evicting you, and the summons, which will inform you as to the time and location of your court date. The court date is the next step in the eviction process in Maine, and it will be scheduled for at least 7 days after you are served with the papers. You are not required to be present in court, but if you are not, the judge will rule against you and for your landlord by default.
If you arrive in court, the judge will usually try to help you and your landlord negotiate an agreement. Only if no agreement can be arrived at will the judge schedule a hearing.
Writ of Possession
If you lose at the hearing, or don't appear in court, you will have seven days to vacate the property before your landlord can request a writ of possession. This writ tells you that you have 48 hours to leave or else you will be considered a trespasser.
If you fail to leave after being served with the writ of possession, you will be subject to forcible removal and arrest, and your property will be considered abandoned and may be kept or disposed of by your landlord. The eviction process in Maine gives many opportunities to vacate or cure the breach before forcible removal, but it is still an option if you refuse to move after being given appropriate notice.