Senate supports Luchini’s bill to protect tenants from sexual harassment

AUGUSTA — On May 30, the Maine Senate unanimously supported legislation introduced by Sen. Louie Luchini (D-Hancock County) aimed at protecting tenants from sexual harassment by their landlord or their landlord’s agent.

“Sexual harassment is prevalent in housing in Maine, particularly for low-income tenants, who are the most vulnerable,” Luchini said. “This bill states clearly that sexually harassing a tenant is illegal.”

Under current law, there are no protections for tenants who have been subjected to sexual harassment by their landlord or their landlord’s agent.

Similarly, there is no defense against a retaliatory eviction if the tenant reports sexual harassment by their landlord. Luchini’s bill seeks to ensure that tenants who assert their right to be free from sexual harassment cannot be evicted in a retaliatory manner.

The bill does not prevent a landlord from evicting someone for nonpayment of rent, causing damage to a unit, creating a nuisance or otherwise violating a provision of a lease.

The legislation faces additional votes before the Maine Senate and House.

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