Here’s what tenants and landlords need to know about new housing regulations

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight, an explanation of exactly what was passed by the City Council last night; the FBI reportedly is investigating the town of Ogunquit; and Portland will finally have a decent place to grab a cup of bone broth.

What we’re talking about

After many months of of mulling over the issue, the Portland City Council on Monday night approved new regulations aimed at addressing housing insecurity in the city where in recent years rents have skyrocketed and vacancy rates have plummeted to near zero.

The point of the new ordinances is to better inform renters of their rights and protect at-will tenants, who rent on a month-to-month basis. But in practice, Portlanders shouldn’t expect anything major to change.

If you are a tenant or landlord in the city, here is what will change:

  • More notice of rent increases: Landlords must inform at-will tenants 75 days before they intend to raise the rent. The previous notice period was 45 days.
  • Rental education: Landlords and tenants entering a month-by-month rental arrangements will need to sign a document drafted by the city that explains at-will rentals and all tenants must be given a brochure outlining their legal rights and responsibilities.
  • Landlord/tenant commission: The city will form a seven-member commission co-chaired by one landlord and one tenant to advise the City Council and field public questions.

The City Council also approved adding language from a state law prohibiting income discrimination to a city ordinance. Though, given its location, Maine law already applies in Portland.

Additional measures that would have required landlords to accept state housing vouchers and given at-will tenants 90 days notice before terminating a rental agreement, proposed by Mayor Ethan Strimling and Councilor Spencer Thibodeau, were voted down, the Press Herald reported.

The city’s lawyer previously advised that these measures might be illegal and expose the city to lawsuits. — Jake Bleiberg


In other news

The city gave two employees big pay raises — Randy Billings of the Press Herald reports that City Clerk Katherine Jones and Corporation Counsel Danielle West-Chuhta got the largest raises — 17 percent and 11 percent, respectively — which “largely sailed under the radar” during an otherwise busy City Council meeting.

What is going on in Ogunquit? — This is a really interesting story from WMTW. The highlights:

— Sources in Ogunquit tell WMTW that they have been interviewed and questioned by the FBI.

— WMTW classified the scope of the investigation as “town activities.”

— The FBI won’t confirm anything.

— The town manager previously was charged with telling town employees to charge people for normally free parking and then pocketing the money, according to the Press Herald. (He has pleaded not guilty.)

— Then there’s this, from WMTW:

Earlier this summer, rat poison mysteriously showed up on Ogunquit’s main beach.

At the time, acting Town Manager Mark O’Brien told WMTW News 8 it was “someone from the previous administration.”

Through a Freedom of Access Act request, WMTW News 8 discovered the rat poison was purchased on the town credit card of Cliff Marchant, the head of the public works department who is on paid leave.

Can I interest you in a piping-hot cup of bone broth?Kathleen Pierce reports on the soon-to-open LB Kitchen, the newest joint from the former owners of Figa, which closed in 2013. They’re serving bone broth, a heartier soup stock that promotes gut health, [which] will be sold like coffee to go, in varieties like Thai tomato beef, coconut mint chicken and kombu sesame mushroom.”

The Big Idea

How to make sure politics won’t ruin your Thanksgiving — This has been a rough couple of years. Now that we’re about to spend a few days with family in close quarters, Kathleen Pierce talks to some experts about how to keep Thanksgiving civil. Here are eight tips. Good luck out there.



Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at, or tweet @dsmacleod.

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Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who moved to Portland in 2002 and now lives in Unity. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.