Maine used to have a law that allowed a "strict foreclosure" process (foreclosure by possession), but it was repealed in 2007. All Maine foreclosures are now judicial, which means they go through the court system. Homeowners facing a possible foreclosure in Maine should educate themselves about the key features of the state’s foreclosure laws, including whether homeowners get the right to cure the default before the foreclosure starts, how notice is provided before the foreclosure sale, if the foreclosing party can get a deficiency judgment, and more.
You can find a summary of some of the main aspects of Maine foreclosure law below along with citations to the statutes so you can read the law yourself.
The citations to Maine’s foreclosure statutes are Maine Revised Statutes Title 14 Sections 6101 through 6325.
Maine’s foreclosure laws are summarized below. You can find more detailed articles on various aspects of Maine’s foreclosure law in Nolo’s Maine Foreclosure Law Center.
Foreclosures in Maine are judicial, which means the lender must file a lawsuit in court in order to foreclose.
The foreclosing party provides three notices in a Maine foreclosure: a notice of right to cure, a complaint and summons, and a notice of sale. The borrower will also receive a notice from the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection.
Notice of right to cure. The foreclosing party must mail a notice of right to cure to the borrower that provides at least 35 days to cure the default (make up the missed payments) before officially starting a foreclosure. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 14, § 6111.
Notice from the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection. After sending the notice of right to cure, the foreclosing party must file a statement with the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection. The Bureau will then send a notice to the borrower that includes a summary of the borrower’s rights and available resources, including information about Maine’s foreclosure mediation program. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 14, § 6111. (Learn about the mediation program in Nolo’s article Maine's Foreclosure Diversion Program.)
Summons and complaint. To officially start the foreclosure, the foreclosing party files a lawsuit in court and gives notice of the suit by serving the borrower a summons and complaint. (Learn more about the difference between a foreclosure summons and complaint.)
The foreclosing party must attach a form to the complaint that the borrower may use to answer the complaint and to request mediation. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 14, § 6321-A. The borrower gets 20 days to file an answer to the complaint.
Notice of sale. After the redemption period expires (see below for details about the redemption period in Maine), the foreclosing party publishes a notice of sale in a newspaper for three weeks. The foreclosing party also mails a notice of sale to all parties who appeared in the foreclosure action no less than 30 calendar days before the sale. Me. Rev. Stat. tit 14, § 6323.
Maine law provides special protections against foreclosure to certain military service members and to borrowers who take out a type of loan that is called a “high-cost home loan.” (A high-cost home loan is a type of mortgage loan that has particular characteristics and the annual percentage rate or points and fees exceed certain amounts.)
Protection against foreclosure for certain military service members. Maine law provides certain military service members (including state military forces on active state service) with the opportunity to stay (postpone) court proceedings. Me. Rev. Stat. tit 37-B, § 389-A. (There is also a federal law, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which provides protections to military service members who are facing foreclosure.)
Protections regarding high-cost home loans. Maine’s law imposes certain restrictions when it comes to high-cost home loans. For example, the creditor cannot charge a prepayment penalty and cannot engage in flipping (that is, the making of a high-cost home loan to a borrower that refinances an existing home loan when the new loan results in little or no economic benefit to the borrower). If the creditor violates the law, the borrower can get damages. Me. Rev. Stat. tit 9-A, § 8-506.
“Reinstating” is when you catch up on the defaulted mortgage's missed payments (plus fees and costs) in order to stop a foreclosure. (Learn more about reinstatement to avoid foreclosure.)
Maine law provides the borrower the right to cure the default and reinstate the mortgage within 35 days after the lender gives the notice of right to cure. Me. Rev. Stat. tit 14, § 6111.
In addition, the foreclosing party and the borrower may enter into an agreement at any time prior to the sale for the borrower to bring the mortgage current. The foreclosure will then be stayed (postponed) so long as the borrower does not default again. Me. Rev. Stat. tit 14, § § 6321, 6323.
In some states, you can redeem (repurchase) your home within a certain period of time after the foreclosure. However, in Maine, the redemption period takes place before the sale. After the court issues a foreclosure judgment, there is a 90-day redemption period. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14 § 6322. The foreclosing party then provides notice of the sale.
The borrower may redeem the home after the redemption period expires, but before the sale takes place, if the foreclosing party allows it. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14 § 6323. (To get details on redemption rights in Maine, see Nolo’s article If I lose my home to foreclosure in Maine, can I get it back?)
When the total mortgage debt exceeds the foreclosure sale price, the difference is called a “deficiency.” Some states allow the lender to seek a personal judgment (called a “deficiency judgment”) against the borrower for this amount, while other states prohibit deficiency judgments with what are called anti-deficiency laws.
Under Maine law, the foreclosing party may obtain a deficiency judgment in the same action as the foreclosure, but the court will limit the judgment to the amount established as of the date of the sale. Maine Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, § 6323.
If the foreclosing party buys the home at the foreclosure sale, the deficiency is further limited to the difference between the fair market value of the property at the time of the sale and the total outstanding debt. Maine Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, § 6324. (For a summary of the deficiency law in Maine, see Maine Laws on Post-Foreclosure Deficiency Judgments.)
In Maine, the foreclosing party (typically the purchaser at the foreclosure sale) may get a writ of possession (an eviction order) against the foreclosed homeowners as part of the foreclosure action.