WHY YOU CAN TRUST JERRY
Jerry partners with more than 50 insurance companies, but our content is independently researched, written, and fact-checked by our team of editors and agents. We aren’t paid for reviews or other content.
By Natalie Todoroff
Updated on May 19, 2022
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff, Staff Editor.
In Maine, it is illegal for real estate agents, brokers, banks, and landlords to discriminate against someone because of their race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, disability, familial status, if they’re filing a restraining order against someone, or if they are a receipt of public assistance.
Under both state and national law, it is illegal to deny someone housing based on specific factors of their identity. What began in 1968 with the passing of the Fair Housing Act continues to ring true today: you have a right to be housed, and it is illegal for someone to discriminate against you.
Jerry, the top-rated app for home and auto insurance, is donning a legal thinking cap to teach you all about Maine's Fair Housing Act. We'll share what the Fair Housing Act is; what it covers; how to file a complaint, and, in true Jerry fashion, how to save money on your insurance policies.
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever
Does Maine have a Fair Housing Act?
Everything you'll need to know about Maine's Fair Housing Act can be found in Chapter 337 of the Pine Tree State's Statutes.
All of the legalese can be tricky to decipher, so we’ll put it in layman's terms. Under Maine law, it is illegal to do the following because of someone’s race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, disability, familial status, because they receive government assistance, or because they are seeking an order of protection under Title 19-A:
- Turn down the rental or sale of a property following a bona fide offer
- Make, print, or publish any statement that indicates a preference for one group
- Inquire, either aloud or in writing, about a potential tenant or purchaser’s race, color, religion, etc.
- Refuse to show someone a property
- Refuse to make reasonable accommodations for a disability
- Change the asking price of a home or rental property
- Apply different conditions on a loan, lease, or housing contract
However, there is one important exception to the above: a family with children can be denied housing in a housing community specially designated for residents 55 and older.
While most groups are well defined, the definition of order of protection under Title 19-A is a little less common. This order is a special type of court-ordered protective measure intended to provide relief to someone (and any of their children) who has been threatened, assaulted, molested, harassed, attacked, or otherwise abused by another party.
These rules apply to anyone—banks, brokers, real estate agents, developers, landlords—involved in renting or selling real estate in Maine. If you feel as if any of your rights have been violated or that you were the victim of discrimination, contact the Maine Human Rights Commission right away.
Accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act
In Section 4582-B of the Maine legislature, you'll find that it is illegal to deny a person with a disability reasonable modifications or accommodations.
These specific guidelines are laid out in the national 1991 Fair Housing Act. Although “modifications” and “accommodations” may sound interchangeable, they have different legal definitions. Let’s take a look at what each one means.
A reasonable accommodation is something a person with a disability can request from a housing provider to grant them equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. These accommodations pertain to the rules, policies, practices, or services of a housing provider. Here are a couple of examples of typical reasonable accommodations requests:
- Requesting a service animal in a building that does not usually allow pets
- Permitting a tenant to pay rent via mail if their disability prevents them from paying directly at a rental office
- Designated a reserved parking spot closer to the building’s entrance for a tenant with limited mobility
- Allowing a tenant to transfer to a ground floor unit
On the other hand, a reasonable modification has to do with making changes to the physical building itself. These can look like:
- Reinforced kitchen and bathroom walls that can support grab bars
- Doorways wide enough for a wheelchair to pass through
- A dwelling must be navigable via a wheelchair
- Electrical outlets, light switches, and thermostats must be accessible in a wheelchair
- Kitchens and bathrooms must be usable by someone in a wheelchair
If your housing provider refuses to make these changes, you’re within your rights to file a complaint under the Fair Housing Act.
How to file a Fair Housing Complaint in Maine
So, if you’ve concluded that your rights have been violated and you’d like to open a fair housing inquiry, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Write, call, or visit the Maine Human Rights Commission within 300 days of the discrimination
- Fill out the intake form provided by the Commission
- After you’ve filled out the intake form, it will be reviewed by the Commission. If they decide to proceed with your case, you will receive a formal complaint of discrimination for your review.
- Once the Commission has issued you your formal complaint and all of the information looks good, you must get it publicly notarized
- Return your notarized complaint to the Commission
State agencies vs local offices
Navigating a fair housing complaint solo can be pretty intimidating. There’s lots of paperwork to go through and legal hoops to jump through, and it can be hard to do it without an ally in your corner. The following agencies throughout Maine provide resources for those seeking to file a fair housing complaint:
|Pine Tree Legal Assistance||Augusta|
|Maine Equal Justice||Statewide|
|Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project||Statewide|
Compare insurance quotes from 50+ carriers with Jerry in under 45 seconds
How to save money on home and renters insurance in Maine
When it comes to all things housing-related, knowledge is power. Knowing your civil rights can help you take the correct steps to resolve a housing discrimination dispute. And shopping for your homeowners and renters insurance with Jerry can help you know if you're getting the best coverage for the lowest price.
Once you download Jerry, just answer a handful of questions that will take you roughly 45 seconds to complete and you’ll immediately get car insurance quotes for coverage similar to your current plan. As a result, Jerry customers save on average $800+ per year on car insurance.
To ensure you always have the lowest rate, Jerry will send you new quotes every time your policy comes up for renewal, this way you're always getting the coverage you want at the best price.
“Jerry saved me $100 a month! They canceled my current policy (even getting me a refund) and switched me to a new one. All very simple and easy!” —Tara Y.
How do I report a landlord in Maine?
Visit the Maine Human Rights Commission at 51 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0051, give them a call at 207-624-6290, or fill out this intake form to report your landlord for discriminatory housing practices.