Maine Contract for Deed Law


Contract for Deed – General – Maine

Maine State Statutes

TITLE 33 PROPERTY
CHAPTER 8 LAND INSTALLMENT CONTRACTS

33 M.R.S.A. § 481. Definitions

As used in this chapter, unless the context indicates otherwise, the following terms have the following meanings.

1. Down payment. “Down payment” means the payment made by the purchaser to the vendor on account of the purchase price at or before the time of the execution of a land installment contract.

2. Land installment contract. “Land installment contract” means an agreement under which the vendor agrees to sell an interest in property to the purchaser and the purchaser agrees to pay the purchase price in 5 or more subsequent payments exclusive of the down payment, if any, and the vendor retains title to the property as security for the purchaser’s obligation under the agreement. Land installment contracts do not include option contracts for the purchase of real property or purchase and sale agreements entered into with the good faith expectation of a separate transaction in which a 3rd party or the seller agrees to finance the purchase price in a single installment.

3. Property. “Property” means improved real property located in this State, sold to be occupied as a dwelling.

4. Purchaser. “Purchaser” means an individual who purchases property subject to a land installment contract, or any legal successor in interest to him, regardless of whether the individual has entered into an agreement as to extension, default or refund.

5. Vendor. “Vendor” means a person who makes a sale of property by means of a land installment contract or his successor in interest.

TITLE 33 PROPERTY
CHAPTER 8 LAND INSTALLMENT CONTRACTS

33 M.R.S.A. § 482. Minimum contents of land installment contracts; recordation

1. Contents. A land installment contract shall be executed in duplicate and a copy of the contract shall be provided to the vendor and the purchaser. The contract shall contain at least the following provisions:

A. The full names and post-office addresses of all the parties to the contract;

B. The date the contract is signed by each party;

C. A legal description of the property conveyed;

D. The sales price of the property conveyed;

E. Any charges or fees for services included in the contract separate from the sales price;

F. The amount of the purchaser’s down payment;

G. The principal balance owed by the purchaser, which is the sum of the amounts described in paragraphs D and E, less the amount described in paragraph F;

H. The amount and due date of each installment payment and the total number of installment payments;

I. The interest rate on the unpaid balance and the method of determining the interest rate;

J. A conspicuous statement of any encumbrances against the property, including a statement of any pending order of any public agency or other matters of public record affecting the property;

K. A statement which explains that the contract is not a mortgage and that the purchaser does not obtain title to the property until the purchase price is paid in full;

L. A statement of the rights of the buyer established by Title 14, section 6111 to cure a default by the buyer;

M. A provision that the vendor provide evidence of title by copy of deed, or otherwise, at the time of the execution of the agreement and, if the vendor is not prepared to deliver a full warranty deed on completion of the contract, a description of the deed which the vendor will deliver on completion;

N. A provision that, if the vendor defaults on any mortgage on the property, the purchaser may pay on the mortgage and receive credit on the land installment contract;

O. A requirement that the purchaser shall be responsible for the payment of taxes, assessments and other charges against the property from the date of the contract, unless agreed to the contrary;

P. A provision that the purchaser has the right to accelerate or prepay any installment payments without penalty, unless agreed to the contrary; and

Q. A clear and conspicuous provision above the place for the signature of the purchaser which acknowledges receipt by the purchaser of a copy of the land installment contract signed by the vendor.

2. Recordation. Within 20 days after the contract has been signed by both the vendor and the purchaser, the vendor shall cause a copy of the contract or a memorandum of the contract to be recorded at the purchaser’s expense in the registry of deeds in the county where the property sold under the contract is located. If a memorandum of the contract is recorded, it shall be entitled “Memorandum of a Land Installment Contract” and shall contain, as a minimum, the names of the parties, the signatures of the parties, a description of the property and applicable time periods. A person other than a vendor and purchaser may rely on the recorded materials in determining whether the requirements of this subsection have been met.

3. Other disclosures. Disclosures made by the vendor pursuant to Title 9-A, Article VIII, Truth-in-Lending, shall be deemed to comply with subsection 1, paragraphs D to I.

Maine Case Law

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, § 6203-F (1980) provides a method of foreclosing contracts for the sale of real estate, including a bond for a deed. Rather than creating a separate method of foreclosure for bonds for a deed, the legislature has provided that the purchaser’s rights could be foreclosed by any of the means provided by law for the foreclosure of mortgages. Because the effect of strict foreclosure has long been settled in this regard, the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine can ascribe no different effect to the foreclosure of a bond for a deed accomplished by identical means. Hammond v. Stiles, 567 A.2d 444 (1989).

Forcible entry & detainer is ineffectual and foreclosure proceedings are the appropriate remedy for a seller under contract to reacquire clear title to the real estate. In any event, forcible entry & detainer is a matter of extremely limited function. Tozier v. Tozier, 437 A.2d 645.