• Renters should try to talk to another tenant about the building and the landlord before signing a contract.

• A renter has the right to see the past 12 months of electric or heating bills.

• Maine law gives tenants an “implied warranty of habitability,” which means the landlord promises the home is safe and fit to live in.

• If a tenant suspects the presence of bedbugs, he or she should immediately notify the landlord. The landlord is then required to have an inspection in five days, and if bedbugs are found, to contact a pest control agent within 10 days.

• A landlord cannot refuse to rent to you, charge you extra or evict you because of your race, color, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental impairment, religion, ancestry or national origin or because you receive welfare benefits, have children or are a single parent or pregnant.

• A landlord must obtain a court order before evicting a tenant. In the case of a written lease, a tenant must have breached the lease agreement to be evicted. Tenants without a lease – tenants at will – can be evicted without a reason after a written notice.

• Landlords are required to provide working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors at the time a unit is rented, and must repair or replace a smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector if a tenant provides written notice to the landlord that the detector is not working properly.

• Tenants must keep the batteries in the detectors charged and are prohibited from disabling the smoke detectors.

Source: Pine Tree Legal Assistance and Maine State Housing Authority. For more tips and resources, visit: ptla.org/rights-tenants-tips-you-rent and www.mainehousing.org/programs-services/rental/landlords

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