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Clukey v. South Portland Housing Authority

Superior Court of Maine, Cumberland

March 5, 2019

PATRICIA CLUKEY, Plaintiff
v.
SOUTH PORTLAND HOUSING AUTHORITY, et al., Defendants

          Plaintiff-Katherine McCovern, Esq.

          Defendants-James Bowie, Esq.

          ORDER

          Thomas D. Warren Justice, Superior Court

          In this action Patricia Clukey, a former tenant of the South Portland Housing Authority, primarily alleges that the South Portland Housing Authority violated 14 M.R.S. § 6025, the statute governing a landlord's access to a tenant's dwelling unit. Her complaint also alleges violations of the Maine Unfair Trade Practice Act, breach of contract, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy.

         A jury-waived trial was held on February 28, 2019.[1]

         The court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

         1. On April 5, 2016 Patricia Clukey was a tenant residing in unit 601 at 425 Broadway in South Portland.

         2. 425 Broadway, also called Hazard Towers, is an eight story apartment building operated by the South Portland Housing Authority and contains approximately 100 units occupied by elderly and disabled residents.

         3. Ms. Clukey first became a tenant of 425 Broadway on June 13, 2012 under a lease (Def. Ex. 1) that included a "No Smoking Lease Addendum" that Ms. Clukey signed.

         4. As of April 5, 2016 Ms. Clukey's residency was governed by a subsequent lease (Def. Ex. 2) that contained a no-smoking provision (section 21) initialed by Ms. Clukey and incorporated a "Smoke Free Campus Addendum" signed by Ms. Clukey.

         5. Def. Ex. 2 contained a provision (section 11) governing the Housing Authority's right to enter Ms. Clukey's unit. This provision tracked but was not identical to the statutory provisions in 14 M.R.S. § 6025.

         6. In pertinent part, 14 M.R.S. § 6025 provides:

1. Tenant obligations. A tenant may not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter the dwelling unit in order to inspect the premises, make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations alterations or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers or contractors ....
2. Landlord obligations. Except in case of emergency or if it is impracticable to do so, the landlord shall give the tenant reasonable notice of his intent to enter and shall enter only at reasonable times. Twenty-four hours is presumed to be a ...

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