Shouldn’t housing policy be fair and consistent across the state?

This fall, I interviewed a lifelong Mainer, a veteran living on a low income who is a victim of inconsistent and unfair housing policies.

When searching for housing in Lewiston-Auburn, he’s been turned down repeatedly for inconsistent reasons. While one landlord rejected him because of his two pets, another said there was no legal issue and still refused to house him. After finally finding housing in Lewiston, he remains frustrated at the inconsistencies that barred him from finding adequate housing and fears he could face an unfair eviction.

Maine needs fair and consistent housing legislation across the board, starting with a Just Cause eviction ordinance.

Just Cause eviction ordinances are a form of tenant protection designed to prevent arbitrary, retaliatory, or discriminatory evictions by establishing that landlords can only evict renters for specific reasons — just causes — such as failure to pay rent.

In Maine, tenants cannot be evicted without a judge’s order. However, we lack clear requirements in state and local legislation that prevent gentrification, homelessness, and other consequences on our local communities.

Gentrification is rapidly displacing entire neighborhoods, and the ramifications extend beyond victims of eviction. Town and city budgets pay for the lost tax revenue, unpaid utilities, and costs associated with services for people facing homelessness. Gentrification and evictions hurt all of us.

Maine needs a Just Cause ordinance so that all residents, regardless of race or income, can stay and benefit from reinvestment and growth in their neighborhoods.

Mary Corcoran, Lewiston

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