MAINE, USA — The Maine Affordable Housing Coalition has released its latest data regarding evictions in Maine. According to the report, eviction filings have decreased significantly amid the pandemic.
The report analyzed data from courts in Lewiston, Portland, Bangor, Biddeford, Augusta, Waterville, and Springvale. The report states those courts make up 69 percent of Maine’s overall eviction caseload between fiscal years 2015-2020.
Data from MAHC show that the average number of yearly eviction filings over the last five years to be 5,801. In FY20, that dropped by roughly 40 percent to 3,858.
Much of that dip can be seen in mid-March. According to the MAHC, there were 170 eviction filings in the first 15 days of March in the seven courts analyzed for the report. In the remaining days of March 2020, there were just 19.
In the report, the MAHC states, "This decrease may be primarily attributed to the patchwork of federal and state eviction moratoria and related enhanced tenant protections established since the onset of the pandemic. State and federal rent relief programs have also helped many vulnerable renter households to stay current on their rent and avoid the risk of eviction."
Maine had in place a rent relief program to help tenants struggling to pay rent due to impacts of the pandemic. That program ended in December 2020, but MaineHousing says on its website it expects the program to be back up and running this month.
The Maine Affordable Housing Coalition report also examined changes in reasons for eviction filings in Maine. Prior to the pandemic, 73 percent of those evicted were forced out of spaces for non-payment. According that report, that number dropped to 54 percent in 2020.
The Maine Affordable Housing Coalition is calls for changes and support for both renters and landlords. The organization says it will work with state legislators in Augusta to push forward bills that provide greater protections for renters, and greater access to legal representation for parties in eviction hearings.
You can read the full findings of the report here.