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Wells hotel residents who were ordered to leave can stay for now, judge rules

A Maine Superior Court judge has blocked a Wells hotel from evicting residents.

The judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday afternoon, which prevents the Majestic Regency Hotel from throwing out tenants, at least until further action from the court.

The Majestic Regency Hotel in Wells.
Carol Bousquet
Maine Public
The Majestic Regency Hotel in Wells.

Attorneys with Pine Tree Legal Assistance filed complaints Monday on behalf of 10 clients experiencing homelessness who had received orders to leave within four days or face criminal trespassing charges.

They've been living at the hotel for anywhere between two months and nine years and have paid rent through the end of May, according to court documents.

The attorneys argued the hotel was planning to evict them illegally without going through the proper judicial process. In a decision issued yesterday afternoon, Superior Court Justice Wayne Douglas said there is at least a "substantial possibility" that residents might succeed with that argument.

The prospect of homelessness also poses irreparable harm to the plaintiffs, and granting them a temporary restraining order wouldn't harm the hotel or the public interest, Douglas added.

Pine Tree Legal Assistance attorneys say the hotel has told them it will not throw out the tenants.

"The tenants will now at least have some time to try to find other housing and do not have to worry that the police will suddenly arrest them without cause," attorney Katie McGovern said.