Court Rules Portland Rents Are Public Information, Not Trade Secrets
Rental information is public information and not protected from public record requests under the Maine Trade Secrets Act, according to a recent ruling by Justice Thomas R. McKeon of the Maine Business and Consumer Court. The ruling comes as a result of a challenge from two rental property companies in Portland claiming that making such information available to the public represented a competitive risk. The rental information in question was compiled by the City of Portland through a 2020 rental registration ordinance and is also available on the City’s website.
“We appreciate that the City stood up for the public’s right to know,” the Press Herald’s attorney Sigmund Schutz said in a statement. “Without access to rent information, tenants cannot check whether they are being charged too much rent, and the public can’t assess how well the City’s rent control ordinance is working. . . . Other municipalities around the nation with rent control ordinances, including in California, have made rent information public without a fuss for a long time. It’s good to see that Maine comes down on the side of transparency.”