An Act To Expedite the Eviction Process in Certain Types of Cases
Sec. 1. 14 MRSA §6002, sub-§1, as repealed and replaced by PL 2009, c. 171, §2, is amended to read:
If Except as provided in subsection 4, if a tenant who is 7 days or more in arrears in the payment of rent pays the full amount of rent due before the expiration of the 7-day notice in writing, that notice is void. Thereafter, in all residential tenancies at will, if the tenant pays all rental arrears, all rent due as of the date of payment and any filing fees and service of process fees actually expended by the landlord before the issuance of the writ of possession as provided by section 6005, then the tenancy must be reinstated and no writ of possession may issue.
In the event that the landlord or the landlord's agent has made at least 3 good faith efforts to personally serve the tenant in-hand, that service may be accomplished by both mailing the notice by first class mail to the tenant's last known address and by leaving the notice at the tenant's last and usual place of abode.
Payment or written assurance of payment through the general assistance program, as authorized by the State or a municipality pursuant to Title 22, chapter 1161, has the same effect as payment in cash.
Sec. 2. 14 MRSA §6002, sub-§2, ¶A, as enacted by PL 2009, c. 171, §3, is amended to read:
(1) Indicating the amount of the rent that is 7 days or more in arrears as of the date of the notice; and
(2) Setting forth the following notice: "If you pay the amount of rent due as of the date of this notice before this notice expires, then this notice as it applies to rent arrearage is void. After this notice expires, if you pay all rental arrears, all rent due as of the date of payment and any filing fees and service of process fees actually paid by the landlord before the writ of possession issues at the completion of the eviction process, then your tenancy will be reinstated."
Sec. 3. 14 MRSA §6002, sub-§4 is enacted to read:
Sec. 4. 14 MRSA §6003-A is enacted to read:
§ 6003-A. Expedited process
An additional writ of possession may be issued by the clerk at the request of the landlord after issuance of the first writ.
When a writ of possession has been served on the tenant by a constable or sheriff and the tenant fails to remove the tenant or the tenant's possessions within 48 hours of service by the constable or sheriff, the tenant is deemed a trespasser without right and the tenant's goods and property are considered by law to be abandoned and subject to section 6013.
Current law allows a tenant who is at least 7 days in arrears in the payment of rent to pay the full amount of rent due by the expiration of the notice of the termination of tenancy, in which case the notice is void.
This bill amends the forcible entry and detainer process to give the landlord the choice as to whether to allow an opportunity to cure an arrearage of 7 or more days in the payment of rent if the tenant has paid rent for 2 or fewer months.
The court is directed to establish an expedited process to handle the determination of the cases in which the tenant has paid rent for 2 or fewer months and is at least 7 days in arrears. The hearing on the complaint must be held no later than 5 days after the return day. If the landlord is successful in the action, either because the tenant fails to appear and is defaulted or because the court determines that the tenant failed to show sufficient cause, the court shall issue a judgment for the landlord and shall issue the writ of possession at the time the judgment is issued. Current law delays the writ of possession for 7 days after the judgment.