AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage signed a bill this morning that eases regulations on landlords with respect to abandoned property and bedbugs.

In a brief ceremony in the Cabinet Room, LePage signed LD 1198 into law as several members of the Central Maine Apartment Owners Association looked on.

“There are too many loopholes in our laws,” he said. “I’ve seen many apartments destroyed. I’ve seen too many people take advantage of tenants rights. It’s all about fairness and equality.”

The new law, which will take effect in late September, makes more than a dozen changes to landlord/ tenant laws. It repeals a law that required landlords to provide loans to tenants if an apartment is infested with bedbugs, said Dan Bernier, the lobbyist who worked on the bill.

Landlords are still responsible for paying for the remediation of bedbugs, but the law states that landlords are not required to provide alternate lodging or to replace a tenant’s personal property.

It reduces the time a landlord is required to store abandoned property from 14 to seven days, and gives landlords more power if a tenant fails to pay rent, Bernier said.

“It really is going to provide a lot of relief to us,” said Lindey Booker Burrill, president of the 700-member apartment owners association. “It’s a starting point.”

The bill was sponsored by Rep. John Picchiotti, R-Fairfield.