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Pine Tree Legal filing complaints after long-term tenants kicked out of Wells hotel

Pine Tree Legal Assistance will file complaints and requests for temporary restraining orders on Monday on behalf of 10 clients experiencing homelessness and living at the Majestic Regency Hotel in Wells.

Carol Bousquet
Maine Public
The Majestic Regency Hotel in Wells.

Wells town officials last week decided to enforce the town's land use ordinance that prohibits long-term hotel tenants. That prompted hotel owners to order about 30 families out by Saturday, giving them four days to find new homes.

Pine Tree Legal Assistance Attorney Katie McGovern says her clients have been living at the Majestic Regency for months, so a landlord-tenant relationship has been established, which means her clients cannot be removed without a legal eviction process.

"Another important point is that the clients we are representing have paid their rent through May 31," she says, "so they would be illegally evicted during a time a period for which they have paid their rent.

"It's important to remember these are low income people with no options and they've lived at the hotel for a long time and they should not be pawns in this dispute between the Majestic and the Town."

Wells Board of Selectmen Chair Sean Roche disagrees with Pine Tree Legal that the hotels are subject to landlord-tenant laws. But he says Wells Police will not assist hotel owners with removing tenants until the court decides how to proceed.