An Act To Expedite the Eviction Process and Lower the Eviction Workload of the Courts
Sec. 1. 14 MRSA §6004-B is enacted to read:
§ 6004-B. Nonpayment of rent; payment to court
If a complaint for forcible entry and detainer is based on nonpayment of rent, the tenant shall pay, pursuant to the provisions of this section, to the court clerk the amount alleged in the complaint as unpaid or, if the amount unpaid is contested, the amount determined by the court and any rent accruing during the pendency of the action when due, unless the tenant has raised the defense that the tenant has paid the rent in the amount alleged by the complaint as unpaid.
The court may extend these time periods to allow for later payment for good cause shown.
This bill addresses forcible entry and detainer actions in which the landlord alleges that the tenant has not paid the rent. The bill requires the tenant, when answering the forcible entry and detainer complaint, to pay to the court clerk the amount stated in the complaint that the tenant owes in accrued rent. If the tenant disputes the amount, the court determines the appropriate amount to be paid to the court clerk. The court clerk deposits the funds received in an account and maintains records of the amounts paid. The court may require the tenant to pay rent as it accrues during the pendency of the action.
When the court enters the judgment in the action, the court determines who is to receive the funds that the tenant paid to the clerk.
If the tenant fails to pay as required by the court, the tenant is deemed to have waived all defenses and a judgment must be issued for the landlord.
The court may disburse money from the account to the landlord before the judgment if the landlord is in actual danger of loss of the premises or faces other hardship from the loss of rental income.