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Maine- Trying to leave early on a lease

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  • Maine- Trying to leave early on a lease

    I live in an apartment with three other roommates. We have had some noise complaints from other tenants in the building. Our landlord said that if we have another lease violation we will be asked to leave. Another incident that has happened is that our front door was kicked in about a month ago and we do not know who did it. A police report was made when we found the door and our landlord was informed. Our landlord is trying to tell us that we or someone we knew kicked the door in because the other tenants who complained about the noise heard the whole thing. The LL is also saying that this will be taken out of our security deposit. I am unsure how this is legal because why would we be responsible for some person off the street kicking in our door?
    One other roomate and I would like to get out of the lease early because it seems like it is inevitable that our landlord will evict us and we would rather not have an eviction on our record. Is it possible to get out early and still get the security deposit back?

  • #2
    Re: Maine- Trying to leave early on a lease

    In case you want to terminate the lease you can give a notice for termination of lease to the landlord by certified mail and proof of mailing to be kept by you. In your notice you will inform the landlord that you and your roommate will be leaving the premises and hence the lease is terminated from the date of your leaving. Further, as regards security deposit the landlord can deduct from security deposit only the amount which has been applied for repair of damage done by your carelessness or neglect on your part. As you are not responsible for this damage to control and infact you have also informed police diligently, therefore, you may state that there cannot be any deduction from security deposit for door.

    AFF

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    • #3
      Re: Maine- Trying to leave early on a lease

      No, you won't be able to break your lease early without monetary penalty. And you cannot break your lease without penalty simply due to anticipation of eviction.

      The door issue is a whole separate matter. If someone witnessed who kicked the door and damaged it, they will be called to testify in court, should it come to that. If the door was damaged by one of your roommates and not "some stranger off the street" (it doesn't make sense a stranger off the street would do so), then the security deposit, or part of it, will be withheld in order to fix the damage, depending on how extensive it is. It's best to take pictures of the door and find somebody who can assess how much it will cost to fix it, and fix it yourself, so that your deposit remains intact. It's doubtful that the door will need to be replaced. So whatever it costs to fix the door is what will be deducted from your S.D. But it's best to fix the door yourself if you can, so that you can retain your entire deposit once your lease ends and you vacate the premises.

      Not many landlords in Maine have leases that last much longer than 6 months to a year. How long in duration is yours and how long have you lived there?

      I wish the moderators would ban this affa person from posting. His/her advice is always wrought with irresponsibly erroneous information that OP's should never follow, as it will get them into even more legal trouble. He/she did not state that any of their information is guided by Maine's laws. As a lifelong resident of Maine, I can tell you that NOTHING affa wrote is true of Maine landlord/tenant law. Please ignore his/her advice.

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      • #4
        Re: Maine- Trying to leave early on a lease

        I must agree. You have no just cause to terminate your lease without penalty. Thinking that something might happen isn't justification. You can never terminate based on what might happen. The noise complaints against you can get you evicted, true. Keep all noise to a minimum between the hours of 9pm and 8am (or whatever hours are on the local noise ordinance statute. Those hours are an average of noise statutes all over.) Have no future noise complaints and that ends the possibility of being evicted over them. If you aren't making the noise, you had better talk to your roommates about this. An eviction will affect all of you!

        The door is indeed another matter. Did someone see a roommate kick in the door? Are you sure a roommate didn't? Sounds like someone is a witness to it. I suggest you start asking questions of your roommates and figure out where each of you were at the time of the incident. If you are absolutely positive that they didn't, you can simply inform your LL that it was done by a third party, that none of you were home at the time, and that a police complaint was filed on the vandalism/damages. You can't be charged by something done by a thief. But if it turns out it was someone you know, someone who lives there, or someone you invited to your unit, you will pay for the damages at move out or be billed for the repairs now. I do agree that the door probably doesn't need replaced. Unless the door itself was split, it is probably only the frame that needs repaired. Usually the frame splits where the hole for the latch is cut out. That piece of wood can be replaced, repainted, cut for a new latch hole, and a door strike plate attached. It will be as good as it was prior to the incident. (I've done this with rentals many times!)

        If you terminate by proper written notice and pay for the notice period, you will still be responsible for future rent until the unit is re-rented, advertising costs, agent fees, and any other non-reimbursed costs the LL suffers, plus any actual damages to the unit. You will have to pay for these, or expect to be sued for them. That suit will ruin your credit for years to come. An eviction will get you denied housing for years to come. Stop all noise after hours, make sure the LL has no reason to evict you. If it turns out that the door was one of your roommates or friends or invitees, have the door fixed.

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        • #5
          Re: Maine- Trying to leave early on a lease

          Even if the door wasn't damaged by roommates, fix the door immediately. I agree with the last poster, keep the noise level to a minimum. Don't give the landlord any reason to evict you.

          If a police report was filed, the landlord cannot legally evict based on what he "believes" to have happened, regardless of the police report that says otherwise. The neighbor tenants may have heard the whole thing, but unless they visually witnessed who kicked the door in, their testimony is useless and hearsay.

          Incidentally, your credit will only be damaged by a civil judgment if the landlord wins their case and you lose. If you win, or if it's dismissed, your credit won't be damaged. Assuming, of course, your credit is good now.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Maine- Trying to leave early on a lease

            If this poster terminates early without reason and the LL files suit, the LL will win. Non-payment of rent on a broken lease is a pretty easy case to win. Especially when there isn't the slightest reason to break a lease as in this case.

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