Q: Is the landlord required to put a lien on the deed when you're in a rent to own home in Maine?
The documents that I signed clearly state that I'm responsible for the taxes on my mobile home. When I followed up with the town about why I have not gotten the bill, they told me that the landlord/seller (also owns the park) is keeping it in their name and is refusing to put it in my name. They also charged me $75 for the deed but they haven't filed it with the state yet. Aren't they supposed to file it with a lien? Is this allowed? Because of the situation I can't prove any ownership.
A: It sounds like what you are talking about is a land installment contract, the minimum contents of which are specified in 33 M.R.S. § 482.
33 M.R.S. § 482(1)(K) provides the land installment contract shall contain: “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.” Accordingly, a deed conveying the subject property to you would not be recorded until the purchase price was paid in full. 33 M.R.S. § 482(2) provides, however, as follows:
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.
You do not yet own the subject property; that is why the tax bill will remain in the seller’s name, even though you are responsible for payment of the taxes. See 33 M.R.S. § 482(1)(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.” See also 33 M.R.S. § 481: “the vendor retains title to the property as security for the purchaser's obligation under the agreement.”
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