LD 1572
Session - 129th Maine Legislature
LR 378
Item 1
Bill Tracking, Additional Documents Chamber Status

An Act To Enact the Maine Fair Chance Housing Act

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 5 MRSA §4611,  as amended by PL 2011, c. 613, §18 and affected by §29, is further amended to read:

§ 4611. Complaint

Any aggrieved person, or any employee of the commission, may file a complaint under oath with the commission stating the facts concerning the alleged discrimination, except that a complaint must be filed with the commission not more than 300 days after the alleged act of unlawful discrimination. In addition, any person may file a complaint pursuant to section 4632 or section 4635.

Sec. 2. 5 MRSA §4635  is enacted to read:

§ 4635 Use of criminal history information

A person aggrieved by a current or prospective housing provider's violation of section 4714 may file a complaint with the commission. The commission shall investigate and review such complaints, as described in section 4612, and shall keep a record of all complaints, reports of problems or concerns and suggestions regarding the implementation, compliance and effect of chapter 337-D. The commission also shall conduct periodic reviews with private housing providers to assess compliance with that chapter.

1 Civil fine; mediation.   If the commission finds that a private housing provider has violated section 4714, 4715 or 4716:
A For a first or 2nd violation, the housing provider is subject to a civil fine not to exceed $100; and
B For each subsequent violation, the housing provider shall submit to an investigation conducted pursuant to section 4612.

The commission shall collect the fine in a civil action and forward it to the Treasurer of State for deposit to the General Fund.

2 Compliance counseling.   The commission shall provide counseling to a private housing provider the commission has found to be in violation of chapter 337-D to ensure future compliance by the private housing provider with chapter 337-D.

Sec. 3. 5 MRSA c. 337-D  is enacted to read:



§ 4711 Short title

This chapter may be known and cited as "the Maine Fair Chance Housing Act."

§ 4712 Declaration of policy

It is the declared public policy of the State to ensure that equitable access to safe, decent and affordable housing extends to all residents of the State, including individuals involved in the criminal justice system and their families.

§ 4713 Definitions

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.

1 Criminal history information.   "Criminal history information" includes criminal history record information as defined in Title 16, section 703, subsection 3 and other information regarding the criminal history of an applicant, from whatever source.
2 Housing provider.   "Housing provider" means an entity that owns, leases, manages or develops housing in the State and any agent, such as a property management company, that makes tenancy decisions on behalf of such an entity.
3 Political subdivision.   "Political subdivision" has the same meaning as in Title 30-A, section 2252.
4 State.   "State" means the State or any office, department, agency, authority, commission, board, institution, hospital or other instrumentality of the State.

§ 4714 Limitations on use and disclosure of criminal history information

1 Inquiry only after conditional offer of housing.   A housing provider may not inquire into or consider an applicant's criminal history information until the housing provider has determined that the applicant meets all other qualifications for tenancy.
2 Confidential.   Criminal history information obtained or in the possession of the State or any housing provider is confidential. A housing provider may not distribute or disseminate criminal history information except as required by law. Information that pertains to an applicant's criminal background check obtained in conjunction with a housing decision by the State or a political subdivision is confidential unless disclosure is specifically required by law.

§ 4715 Violation by a private housing provider

1 Maine Human Rights Commission.   An individual who is aggrieved by a private housing provider's violation of this chapter may file a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission pursuant to section 4635. A private housing provider who violates section 4714 is subject to fines and shall submit to an investigation by the commission, as specified in section 4635, subsection 1.
2 Civil action.   An aggrieved individual may bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction against a private housing provider that has violated section 4714 and, upon prevailing, is entitled to such legal or equitable relief as the court may determine appropriate and reasonable attorney's fees and costs.

§ 4716 Violation by a public housing provider

An individual who is aggrieved by a violation of section 4714 by the State or a political subdivision may file a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission pursuant to section 4635, but such public housing providers are not subject to civil fines pursuant to that section. An individual may not bring a civil action for a violation of this chapter against the State or a political subdivision.

§ 4717 Application

The provisions of this chapter apply to all housing providers notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, except to the extent the other provision of law contains additional limitations on the consideration of criminal history information of applicants for housing.


This bill establishes the Maine Fair Chance Housing Act, the purpose of which is to ensure that a person is not denied housing based solely on the existence of a history of criminal convictions. This bill prohibits a housing provider from considering an applicant’s criminal history until after the housing provider determines that the applicant meets all other qualifications for tenancy.

A person who is aggrieved by a violation of the Maine Fair Chance Housing Act by a housing provider may file a grievance with the Maine Human Rights Commission and, if it is a violation by a private housing provider, may bring a civil action in court.

Top of Page