Friday, April 22, 2016

New Maine Law Prohibits Most Private Landlords Statewide From Barring Section 8 Tenants, Others Receiving Gov't Housing Subsidies From Keeping Guns In Their Apartments; Landlords Of Owner-Occupied 1 To 4 Family Homes Exempt From Rule

In Augusta, Maine, the Portland Press Herald reports:
  • Gov. Paul LePage has a signed into law a bill prohibiting most private landlords who accept public housing vouchers from barring guns in their apartments.

    The proposal is backed by the National Rifle Association, which has long fought to strike down gun bans in public housing. The new law, inspired by a shooting last year by a Rockland man who confronted an intruder in his apartment, goes even further. It will determine whether private property owners who receive public subsidies, such as federal Section 8 housing vouchers, can prevent their tenants from possessing guns on the property.

    The new law, which goes into effect in 90 days, applies to landlords receiving federal rent subsidies under the multifamily housing rental assistance program, the housing choice voucher program, the new construction program, the substantial rehabilitation program or the moderate rehabilitation program. It allows landlords to impose “reasonable restrictions” related to the possession, use or transport of a firearm within common areas “as long as those restrictions do not circumvent the use or possession of a firearm in the tenant’s rental unit.”

    Owner-occupied rental housing of four or fewer units are exempted from the bill, meaning those landlords could restrict firearms from being kept on their property.

    Harvey Lembo, the retired lobsterman from Rockland whose skirmish with an intruder prompted the legislation, sued his landlord, Stanford Management Co. of Portland, in federal court after the company told him he had to relinquish his gun to continue living in his apartment.
For more, see LePage signs bill allowing tenants in subsidized apartments to keep guns (The new law builds upon the NRA's 1995 victory over the Portland Housing Authority).

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