Each month, the landlord generally expects two payments from the tenant, for rent and utilities. While rent remains pretty stable and utilities is a common enough bill even outside of rental properties, Maine has some specific legislation that should be understood by both parties.
Rent is generally due on the first business day of the month, unless otherwise specified in the rental agreement, and may be charged a late fee once the rent is at least 15 days overdue. The late fee may not exceed 4 percent of the monthly rent. Where Maine is a bit different in rent payment is if the tenant makes any payment in cash, the landlord must provide a receipt containing the date of payment, the amount paid, the name of the party for whom the payment is made, the period for which the payment is being made, a statement of the purpose of the payment (rent or security deposit), the signature of the person receiving the payment, and finally the name of said person in a legible manner. Finally, if the rent payment or any other amount due under the lease agreement is returned for lack of sufficient funds, for a stop payment, or for any other reason, the tenant must pay to the landlord an insufficient funds fee, which is not capped under Maine law, but is generally calculated to compensate for administrative costs during the period where rent remains unpaid.
The responsibilities for utility payment should be pre arranged within the lease agreement. Within three business days after the tenancy begins, the tenant should arrange for those billing services for which he or she is responsible to be sent directly to the tenant.
Maine provides two protections for the tenant in utility payment: common areas utilities and a deduct from rent policy. Payment for utilities in common areas, including heat and electricity, for a multiunit property may not be the responsibility of any one tenant who occupies a unit within the property, unless the tenant and landlord come to a written agreement that the tenant may be compensated for such common area utility payment by reducing the fair cost of said payment from the monthly rent or another fair consideration. The second protection is if the landlord has failed to pay for utilities, then the tenant may pay for those utilities and deduct the amount paid from the rent due to the landlord. In addition, if a court finds an unpaid utilities case in favor of the tenant, it will award actual damages up to $100 to the tenant.