Delaware Landlord Tenant Rights

Landlords and tenants can both benefit from checking out our Delaware Landlord Tenant Rights factsheet below.

Landlord Responsibilities

Landlords have certain responsibilities to their tenants. These include the duty to provide, address, and maintain the following:

  • Bed bugs
  • Dwelling structures
  • Plumbing and sanitation
  • Water (if indicated in lease agreement)
  • HVAC (if indicated in lease agreement)
  • Kitchen appliances (if provided)
  • Washer and dryer (if provided)
  • Trash can (if indicated in lease agreement)

Landlords must address issues with the above within 15 days. If they fail to do so, the tenant can make repairs themselves and deduct the amount (up to $400 or half the month’s rent, whichever is less) or withhold up to two-thirds of the rent until the issue is addressed. Landlords are prohibited from engaging in retaliatory conduct.

Tenant Responsibilities

Likewise, tenants have responsibilities to their landlords. These include the duty to:

  • Pay rent in a timely manner
  • Not disturb other tenants or neighbors
  • Maintain fixtures in a clean and sanitary condition
  • Reasonable use of fixtures and appliances
  • Not destroy or damage any part of the premises
  • Perform minor maintenance and repairs
  • Not remove or tamper with any smoke or carbon monoxide detector

Security Deposit

Landlords can request one month’s rent for a security deposit. They have 20 days to return the deposit minus deductions or else can be held liable for up to two months’ rent.

Rent and Fees

Landlords can charge any amount they wish for the rent and rental increases. They must give the tenant a 60-day notice before raising the rent.

Evictions

A landlord can evict their tenant on several grounds:

  • No lease or end of lease
  • Nonpayment of rent
  • Violation of lease terms

Tenants can legally end their lease early in the following circumstances:

  • Advanced age or health issue
  • There is an early termination clause in the lease
  • Active military duty
  • The unit is uninhabitable
  • Domestic violence
  • Violation of lease term

Landlords must make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages. If they fail to re-rent the premises, the tenant may be held liable for the remainder of the rental period.

Lease Termination Notice

Landlords must give tenants notice before terminating a lease in most cases. For nonpayment of rent, the landlord must give the tenant a 5-day Notice to Pay before proceeding with eviction. For a lease violation, the landlord may issue a 7-day notice. If the tenant has stayed beyond the lease term or there isn’t a lease in place, the landlord must issue a 60-day notice.

Tenants likewise have to give notice before terminating their lease. Month-to-month tenants must give a 60-day notice; however, the law does not address what type of notice other tenants must give.

Relevant State Agencies

Delaware Housing Authority

Delaware Department of Housing and Urban Development

City-Specific Links

Wilmington:

Inspections of Residential Rental Properties

New Castle County Laws and Code

Wilmington Housing Authority

Water

Electric

Gas

Dover:

Dover Code of Ordinances: Rental Dwellings

Dover Safe Communities Program Ordinance

Water

Electric

Gas

Newark:

Landlord Tenant Resources

Newark Housing Authority

Water

Electric

Gas

Official Rules and Regulations

Residential Landlord Tenant Code