Mold can be found everywhere as it is a naturally-occurring organism. While we may not want it, it is impossible to live in an environment that is completely free of mold.

It is a legal obligation of Maine landlords to ensure the unit is habitable, and free from medical and safety threats, including mold, as well as to ensure the tenant is comfortable in the location.

This article will provide you with all the necessary information about the landlord-tenant responsibility for the mold clean-up.

It is common knowledge that mold can cause serious health problems for the tenants in the rental units.

Even without a specific law governing the mold, landlords can be held responsible for mold problems. A landlord has the responsibility to provide safe and livable housing. Leaking pipes, windows, and roofs can contribute to causing mold so these repairs must be done as soon as possible.

Renters bear the same responsibility for mold clean-up and keeping the mold under control as the landlord and can be the liable party in cases of their neglectful behavior.

In this regard, we can say that the risk of mold growth can significantly increase if there is high humidity, a low level of cleanliness, and not using the provided ventilation system in the kitchens and bathrooms.

Tenant rights in Maine

In the above paragraph, I have said a word or two about the tenant’s responsibilities due to mold in the rental units in Maine. Let’s take a look at the tenant rights.

The first thing a tenant should do when mold occurs in the apartment is to document the problem.

  • Take a picture of visible mold growth so that later you can easily prove the mold’s existence;
  • If you conduct a mold testing document the results;
  • Try to contact previous residents and find out if they have had the same problems;
  • Find legal assistance if you want to get out of the lease.

In most cases, tenants are allowed to get out of the rental agreement by showing proof that mold poses an “imminent threat” to their health.

On the other hand, if a tenant does not want to break the lease due to mold problems he/she must be aware that it is up to the landlord to resolve the problem. Experts must be hired and all moisture issues that may have caused the existence of mold must be resolved.

If a tenant moves into an apartment with existing mold, then the landlord is responsible for the removal of that mold.

How long does a landlord have to fix a mold problem in Maine

When mold appears and when a problem is reported to the landlord 14 days is the time frame when he/she must respond and resolve the problem.

The tenant can move out without paying the rent if the landlord does not perform the repairs. If the tenant decides to stay in the apartment regardless of mold, can sue the landlord for damages. It would be the difference between the stated rent and the rental’s worth due to its deplorable condition.

Tenant relocation due to mold in Maine

If the mold is serious enough to cause the dwelling to be uninhabitable, the tenant needs to be relocated. If the mold is caused by the tenant the landlord is not required to remediate the mold at their expense. Who will cover the cost of eventual resettlement will depend on the lease terms and the laws of the applicable jurisdiction.

Disclosure law in Maine

When a property is listed for renting or selling, some disclosures must be made. Property disclosure statement covering issues including:

  • Plumbing and water supply system;
  • Insulation;
  • Heating system;
  • Waste disposal system;
  • Presence of hazardous materials such as mold, radon, asbestos, etc;
  • And all other known defects that are not listed.

Maine Association of Realtors issues a form for all the issues covered in the statute which will provide the buyer with a comprehensive understanding of what living in the rental property will entail.

When the disclosure must be made in Maine?

Before the prospective buyer makes a purchase offer the landlord must have the property disclosure statement delivered according to Maine Rev. Stat. Title 33, § 174.

On the other hand, if the landlord waits until the offer comes in, the buyer will have 72 hours after receiving it in which the tenant can freely terminate any real estate contract.

Long story short, it is the seller’s interest for the statement to be in the tenant’s hand before signing the lease agreement, otherwise, the risk of a last-minute delay of the rental agreement from the prospective buyer is “in the air”.

Benjamin McInerny
Author: Benjamin McInerny - is a qualified arborist and a DIY Home Improvement enthusiast. Ben has a extensive experience on renovation projects including, mold removal, painting, fence installation and more. Ben shares his skills with DIY and gardening enthusiasts.