Guidance On Rental Units
The City of South Portland recently adopted an ordinance titled Housing Security (Chapter 12, Article IX). The ordinance includes several changes that affect both tenants and landlords. These changes were effective October 1, 2017, and are summarized below:
- Federal and State Law prohibits discrimination of protected classes in housing. The City of South Portland has now codified a similar prohibition into local ordinance.
- The State of Maine requires a minimum forty-five (45) day notice of rent increase. The City of South Portland now requires landlords to provide a minimum notice of seventy-five (75) days.
- Upon commencement of a new tenancy on or after October 1st, the Landlord must provide a written disclosure titled "Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants and Landlords", which is available on the City of South Portland website www.southportland.org.
As a friendly reminder, the South Portland Code of Ordinances (Chapter 5, Article VII; effective January 1, 2012) requires that all owners of buildings containing three (3) or more dwelling units, rooming units, or any combination thereof within the City, register said properties with the Code Enforcement Office. At this time, there is no fee to register a building. Registration includes disclosure of the name, address, and telephone number of the owner and property manager (if applicable). Please register your property, if you have not already done so.
Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants and Landlords
Effective October 1, 2017, Landlords in the City of South Portland are required to give tenants a written disclosure titled Rights and Responsibilities of Tenant and Landlords (City of South Portland) Below are the links that you can follow to access the forms included in this packet.
- Energy Efficiency Disclosure
- Lead Paint Disclosure
- Lead Paint Pamphlet “Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home”
- Radon Disclosure Statement
- Radon in Rental Housing Pamphlet
- Smoking Policy Disclosure (written notice to be provided by the landlord)
75-DAY NOTICE FOR RENT INCREASES
In the city of South Portland, landlords are required to give tenants a 75-day written notice of any rent increase.
TENANTS AT WILL
According to state law, when a tenant rents a housing unit without a written lease OR a tenant continues to live in a housing unit after the term of the lease has expired, that tenant is a "tenant at will." For tenants at will, landlords must typically provide at least 30 days written notice to tenants before they must move out. The notice cannot, however, require a tenant to move out until after the last date for which rent has been paid. For example, if a tenant has paid rent to the landlord through the end of September, then a landlord's notice cannot end before September 30. Landlords do not have to provide a reason for asking the tenant to leave.
Tenant and Landlord Resources and Information
The Maine Rental Housing Guide is designed to provide information pertaining to subsidized housing, housing-related resources, and Maine rental housing laws.
Information from the Maine Attorney General’s Office pertaining to Houses, Apartments, Mobile Homes. The webpage includes tenant rights and laws that apply to landlords, a sample lease, information on rights of tenants in a mobile home park, information on home heating, risks of lead paint and more.
A guide prepared by Pine Tree Legal and updated periodically. It focuses on Maine’s landlord-tenant laws and details the rights of tenants.
The webpage provides information on Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) and links to Public Housing Authorities in Maine.
The webpage provides resources related to housing and homelessness, including financial assistance, legal issues, housing searches, and resources for the homeless, renters, and homeowners.
The Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC) webpage on housing discrimination includes the Maine Human Rights Act Statute, Subchapter 4, Fair Housing. The page also includes MHRC Rules and Regulations.
The Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC) webpage on filing a complaint describes who may file a complaint, when to file, how to file, where to file, and other information on the process.
The Opportunity Alliance’s Department of Housing and Energy Services provides loans and grants for home repair, weatherization, fuel assistance, utility assistance, repair of heating systems and other like programs.
hoMEworks provides classes throughout the state and online. The classes help people through the homebuying process and their goal is to ensure successful homeownership.
The South Portland Housing Authority (SPHA) provides quality housing for low to moderate income, elderly, individuals with disabilities and families in need. SPHA owns and/or manages over 600 units of housing throughout the City of South Portland.
Avesta Housing provides a range of housing-related services to low to moderate income, elderly, individuals with disabilities and families.
The Breathe Easy Coalition works to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke through the promotion of strong voluntary smoke and tobacco-free policies.
The Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention provides free lead dust test kits to households living in a pre-1950 homes where young children are present or a new baby is expected.
The Southern Maine Landlord Association (SMLA) is a local non-profit organization promoting communication and cooperation among owners and managers of rental property and working to educate the public, public officials, legislators, and tenants to the important services provided.
Maine hoMEworks offers a two and a half hour landlord education course through its participating counseling agencies located across the state.
State law contains specific rights and obligations for tenants and landlords. This webpage provides general information on Maine landlord/tenant laws.
Maine Revised Statutes Title 14, Chapter 709: Entry and Detainer, details the State laws relating to evictions, notice requirements, rent increases, unpaid rent, unclaimed property, etc.
The NFPA website provides a variety of information including links to current codes and standards as well as training and public education.
The South Portland Fire Department takes an active role in our community to educate the public and prevent emergencies. This webpage provides an overview of the program as well as contact information.
The Office of State Fire Marshal protects against the devastation of fire, explosions and life safety hazards through fire prevention, public education, planning, research, investigation and enforcement of enacted laws and rules.
This webpage contains a master list of City codes and ordinances, including those related to housing, building and fire safety codes.
The Home Fire Campaign helps save lives by installing free smoke alarms in homes that don't have them, and by educating people about home fire safety.