What documents or proof do I need to give my landlord to get out of my lease if I am a victim?
If you are the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and wish to end your lease, you must provide specific notice and documents to your landlord. If your lease is for a period of time of less than a year, you must provide seven days’ written notice. If your lease is for a period of a year or more, you must provide your landlord with thirty days’ written notice. In addition, you must provide one of the following forms of documentation:1
- a statement signed by a Maine-based sexual assault counselor or victim witness advocate;
- a statement signed by a health care provider, mental health care provider, or law enforcement officer; (Note: If the provider or officer is licensed, s/he must include his/her license number on the statement);
- a copy of a protection from abuse complaint, temporary order, or final order of protection;
- a copy of a protection from harassment complaint, temporary order or final order of protection from harassment;
- a copy of a police report taken in response to an incident of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or
- a copy of a criminal complaint, indictment or conviction for a domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking charge.2
1 ME ST T. 14 § 6001(D)
2 ME ST T. 14 § 6001(H)
Once I notify my landlord that I want to end my lease, do I still have to pay rent?
If you end your lease because of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, you are not liable for any rent after the date on which the 7-day or 30-day notice expires or after the date that you actually leave the rental unit, whichever is later. However, if you have already prepaid your rent, the landlord is not obligated to return that money to you.1
1 ME ST T. 14 § 6002(4)
What will happen to my security deposit if I terminate my lease early? Can the landlord keep it?
The landlord cannot keep your security deposit as some sort of penalty for breaking the lease. However, if your rental unit is damaged due to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault, the landlord has the right to keep your security deposit to cover the damages. Note: If the rental unit was damaged as the result of an incident of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and you provide written notice of the damage and the proper documents proving that you are a victim within 30 days of the incident, you cannot be charged any additional money for the damage.1 See What documents or proof do I need to give my landlord to get out of my lease if I am a victim? to read more about acceptable forms of documentation.
1 ME ST T. 14 § 6001(6)(B)