Cash for Keys approach in Maine

8 Replies

Hello ya'll!

I'm gearing up to turn over a unit that has a month to month tenant. I am in Maine and only need to give 30 days notice with no reason. That being said, this tenant has a tendency to jump to anger when approached with anything remotely negative. I am thinking of trying the cash for keys approach to avoid any potential pushback that may damage my property.

Anyone out there who has done this, any tips?! Do I give them the 30 day notice then approach them with this option? Can I include it all in the letter I am sending? Anything else you can suggest that you found to be successful in this approach (or wish you had done)?

One more bit of info, I am thinking of giving the tenant a 3 tiered option. Basically giving them less money the longer they stay in the apartment until the end of the month.

Thank you all in advance!


Yes, you should give the 30 day notice and offer cash for keys.  Same letter, different letter doesn't matter.  But you want to have the clock start ticking on the cash for keys offer.  The reason cash for keys work for property owners is because it is cheaper then legal costs/evicition costs/holding costs etc...C4K only works when you are spending less money by going the C4K route.  We always give a sliding scale based on 2 things.  1) Amount of time they are staying in the home (shorter is more money, longer is less) 2) condition of the home.  (broom clean more, a disaster less).  We rarely discuss  the scale upfront, just say if you are out by X and the house is clean you will get Y.  Then we play it by ear when that date comes and we see what we see.  

Nathan, I may be mistaken but I think the notice period for month-to-month tenancies in Maine is currently 45 days per a pandemic executive order. This may have lapsed but it’s worth double checking. Also, if you serve notice before the end of June you may find the tenant claim eviction protection via the CDC eviction moratorium.  Speaking from experience.

@Nathan Hann I realize your question was best practices for cash for keys and you were not asking if you should or not but based on what you have written I don't think this option should be on the table.

  1. Give 30 days' written notice
  2. Have a cold beer to drink after they verbally assault you.
  3. If they are still there after 30 days start the eviction process (have another cold beer waiting).
  4. If they trash the place take what you can from the security deposit and take them to small claims court for the rest. Alternatively, think of the cash you were going to pay them as cash you can use if they trash the place.

@Chris London

Haha this is actually refreshing to read and so true. I guess I was thinking about damage cost + the cost of doing an eviction through the courts if they refuse to leave. It's my first place so of course all the worst scenarios run through my head. Thanks for all this!

Explain process of getting money from tenants thru small claims court? Hard easy? Lots pictures of damages convince judge?

do get blood from turnips in maine?

If you have any relationship with the tenant, you might just try talking to them. Ask if they could find something better, would they be interested? Maybe find out where they would rather live. If so, you could offer a little to help move and then you could say how it would help you because … you want to do some rehab, a friend needs a place, etc. Today if you have to go the legal way you lose a lot of money. Sometimes just treating them like people can go along way.