In many states, including Maine, “signed and sealed” documents may be enforced for a longer period of time than documents that are not sealed. The statute of limitations for sealed documents may be 20 years, but only six years for documents without a seal. This means that a suit may be brought by landlord or tenant for many years longer than what is typical. Landlords suing for back rent may be limited to a shorter time period, too, if the lease was not sealed.
This brings us to a simple but important practice tip: Don’t rely on only physical seals, paper, wax or imprinted. In addition to those seals, be sure to recite “this document is signed as a sealed instrument” in the body of the lease deed or other documentation.
Today’s real estate tip is brought to you by Rick Smith, a member of Bernstein Shur’s Real Estate Practice Group. Stay tuned for more useful tips for real estate professionals.