Maine Security Deposit Laws

In Maine, landlords can charge up to two months’ rent for a security deposit.
Written by Patrick Price
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Jun 01, 2022
According to
’s Civil Code, landlords are allowed to charge refundable security deposits equalling no more than two months’ rent. After the lease ends, landlords have up to 30 days to return your security deposit. 
Security deposits can be a real inconvenience. They significantly increase the cost of moving into a new rental along with the struggle involved in getting your landlord to return the money once the lease is over. It’s also difficult to know what your rights are regarding security deposits since the laws are different in every state. 
To make things a little easier for you, the
car and renters insurance
has compiled this quick guide on everything you’ll need to know about security deposit laws in Maine. 
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What is Maine law on security deposits?

State law in Maine permits landlords to charge prospective tenants a security deposit before they move in. The cost of the security deposits shall not exceed the value of two months’ rent. Landlords may also charge an additional deposit for pets. While the amount of the pet deposit is not officially regulated, it is typically equal to another month’s rent. 
Security deposits serve to reserve the property, so no one else rents it before you move in. They also provide financial security for the landlord in the case of grievous damages to the property. 
Landlords are not allowed to spend, invest, or otherwise use the money from security deposits in Maine. They also cannot mingle the deposit with any other finances. Instead, it needs to be placed in a separate bank account specifically for security deposits. 
Security deposits in Maine are required to be refundable, meaning they are returned to the tenant at the end of the lease so long as the tenant has not terminated the lease early, severely damaged the property beyond normal wear and tear, or otherwise violated the terms of the lease.
These laws are established in Title 14, Part 7, Chapter 710-A, Sections 6031-6038 of the
Maine Revised Statutes

What is the maximum security deposit a landlord can charge in Maine? 

As mentioned above, landlords in Maine cannot charge a security deposit that is greater in value than two months worth of rent
They can, however, charge you additional deposits if you have a pet. Pet deposits are not specifically regulated, so a landlord could technically charge any amount they want for your pet. Most landlords will simply charge one more month’s rent

How long does a landlord have to return a security deposit in Maine? 

Once your lease is over, your landlord is required by law to return your security deposit within 30 days—or sooner if specified in your lease agreement. 
If your landlord decides that they will withhold some or all of your security deposit, they must have a reasonable and legal justification for doing so. They will also have to give you a written itemized list of the withholdings and the reasons for them.

What can a landlord withhold a security deposit for in Maine?

Ideally, you’ll get your entire security deposit back without a fight. Sadly, it’s all too common for landlords to try withholding a portion of the deposit. If that happens, you’ll want to know exactly what does and does not constitute a valid legal justification for refusing to return a security deposit. 
In Maine, a landlord can legally withhold all or part of your deposit to recoup financial losses resulting from the following issues
  • The cost of storing/disposing of unclaimed or abandoned property
  • Unpaid rent or utility fees
  • Early termination of lease
  • Damage beyond normal wear and tear
The most common reason landlords use for keeping your deposit is to pay for damages that are not normal wear and tear. They often get away with this because what counts as “normal wear and tear” is a bit of a gray area. Basically, normal wear and tear are damages that could reasonably be expected to result from regularly using the property as intended. 
Normal wear and tear do not include damages that are the result of misuse/abuse, negligence, accidents, carelessness, or recklessness. 
Key Takeaway Security deposits in Maine must be refundable. If you fail to pay rent, break your lease, or cause significant avoidable damages; however, your landlord can withhold all or part of the deposit.

How to get your security deposit back in Maine

If you moved out of a rental property more than 30 days ago and the landlord has still not returned your security deposit, you’re probably wondering what you can do to get your money back. 
The first thing you should do is contact your landlord. Remind them about the deposit and ask for it back. The key here is to make sure you do this in writing or in some form where you’ll have a record of the conversation. Email or text messages are usually best. It might just be that they forgot about the deposit. If so, reminding them should be all it takes to get things moving.
If they refuse to return the money and never give you a reason/itemized list of withholdings, you can take them to
small claims court

How to save money on car and renters insurance in Maine

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