Maine has enacted a law to preserve the value of abandoned properties by allowing mortgagees, through mortgage loan servicers, to enter the property for the purpose of abating an identified nuisance, preserving property, preventing waste, or securing the property. The Act became effective on June 16, 2020.
The Act presumes a mortgaged premise to be an abandoned property if: (i) a public official determines that the premises is abandoned; (ii) a written statement by a homeowner indicates a clear intention to abandon the mortgaged premises; or (iii) three or more provisions indicating a reasonable indicia of abandonment are met, including terminated utility service, mail or trash accumulation, or broken doors and windows. A mortgage loan servicer may file an affidavit attesting to the conditions of abandonment and any other facts indicating abandonment. Once the affidavit is filed, the mortgage loan servicer may enter the property for the purpose of abating an identified nuisance, preserving property, or preventing waste. The mortgage loan servicer may also take action to secure the property, including installing missing locks, replacing broken windows, and winterizing the property.
The mortgage loan servicer must make a record of entry including time-stamped photographs, and must maintain the record for at least four years from the date of entry. Prior to each entry, the mortgage loan servicer must post a notice on the front door with certain notifications. The mortgage loan servicer must not remove personal items from the property unless the items are hazardous or perishable, and if upon entry the property is found to be occupied, the mortgage loan servicer must leave the property and notify the court. Additionally, if a mortgage loan servicer is notified by the mortgagor that the property is not abandoned, the mortgage loan servicer must notify the county or municipality and must not enter the property.