AUGUSTA — The Maine House on Tuesday backed a bill that would require landlords to disclose the total cost of rent and any mandatory or recurring fees charged to tenants before they enter into a lease.

The proposal, L.D. 1490, was inspired by the number and types of fees charged to tenants at the Redbank Village Apartments in South Portland, said its sponsor, Rep. Chris Kessler, D-South Portland. Kessler said he has heard complaints of fees being hidden or not properly disclosed.

“The goal here is these fees are going to be charged, but be upfront and be honest,” Kessler said. “This bill requires that those fees are disclosed up front. We all deserve that level of transparency.”

The bill, which now heads to a vote in the Senate, would require landlords to provide a written disclosure of fees and costs, including rent, mandatory and optional fees, utility costs and any other costs tenants are responsible for, prior to entering into a lease.

It also would require 45 days notice for increases in mandatory fees and would limit the amount of money that can be collected at the start of a tenancy to one month’s rent plus a security deposit and any mandatory recurring fees. The amount of a security deposit is already limited in state law to a maximum of two months’ rent.

The proposal passed 74-63 in a party-line vote with Democrats voting in support and Republicans against. Opponents said the bill punishes landlords for the actions of one property owner and would hurt tenants by prompting landlords to increase rent.


“Policies like this keep making it harder on landlords to be the good landlords that they are,” said Rep. Amanda Collamore, R-Pittsfield. “It’s frustrating that one bad actor from Los Angeles, not even from Maine, is making this even more difficult.”

Redbank Village is a 500-unit apartment complex that came under fire in 2022 when its new owner, JRK Property Holdings of Los Angeles, implemented rent increases as high as $598 per month in some cases.

Abdi Yonis, a leasing agent at Redbank Village, said Tuesday that he was not familiar with the bill but supports the idea of requiring greater transparency around fees for tenants. Yonis said the apartment complex already provides prospective tenants with information about fees and what is and isn’t included, in an effort to be transparent, but he acknowledged it can be confusing.

“I agree transparency is the best way so we’re not wasting people’s time and money,” Yonis said.


The House also voted 74-64 in support of an amendment to a bill that would add mobile homes to legislation approved last year that prohibits landlords from charging rental application fees that exceed the actual cost of the tenant screening process.

Some lawmakers expressed frustration that the amendment was introduced on the floor Tuesday and did not go through the committee process.

Kessler said he and other Democratic lawmakers who worked on it weren’t aware until recently that mobile homes were excluded from last year’s legislation and they saw Tuesday’s bill as an opportunity for an amendment on a related issue. While the process for floor amendments doesn’t allow for public input, Kessler said he is open to a more transparent process and understands the concern.

“When people aren’t given notice about something and then it appears before them they feel mistrust,” Kessler said. “That is a valid feeling to have and it certainly wouldn’t be wrong for the Legislature as a body to adjust its rules to allow for a little bit more time for the public to have notice of certain activities.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.