Landlord’s Right to Entry in Delaware

Landlord’s Right to Entry in Delaware

Last Updated: March 3, 2023

Legal Reasons for Entry
  • Inspections
  • Improvements (incl. decoration)
  • Maintenance
  • Property Showings
  • Emergencies
Notice Requirement
  • Usually 48 Hours, Written or Verbal
  • None Needed for Emergencies
Penalties for Illegal Entry
  • Court Injunction
  • Cost of Damages
  • Breaking the Lease

Does a Landlord Have the Right To Enter a Rental Property in Delaware?

Delaware landlords have the right to enter a rental property for the following reasons:

  • Inspecting the property (including taking readings from utility appliances).
  • Improvements (including decorations).
  • Maintenance and repairs.
  • Showing the property to potential renters and buyers.
  • Emergencies.

Can a Landlord Enter Without Permission in Delaware?

Delaware landlords can legally enter a rental property without permission if there’s an emergency, or when the renter unreasonably refuses consent for an otherwise legally allowed entry.

Can a Landlord Enter Without the Tenant Present in Delaware?

Delaware landlords can enter without the tenant present in Delaware, as long as the tenant consents to the entry (for example, if the tenant is out of town and the landlord gets consent via phone or email). If the landlord doesn’t obtain consent, the tenant might be able to sue.

Can a Landlord Show a House While Occupied in Delaware?

Delaware landlords can show an occupied house. The renter can’t unreasonably refuse.

How Often Can Landlords Conduct Routine Inspections in Delaware?

Delaware landlords have no specific limit on how often they can enter for inspections. The landlord isn’t allowed to enter unreasonably often, but what’s reasonable gets decided case by case.

How Much Notice Does a Landlord Need To Provide in Delaware?

Delaware landlords must provide 48 hours of advance notice before entry (except for repairs the tenant requested), entering only from 8:00 AM-9:00 PM. In emergencies, there’s no timing or notice requirement. When the lease begins, the landlord and tenant can also make a special written agreement waiving the notice requirement.

Can a Landlord Enter Without Notice in Delaware?

Delaware landlords can only enter without notice if there’s an emergency, or when the landlord and tenant have made a separate written agreement waiving the notice requirement. In all other cases, landlords must give notice of entry.

How Can Landlords Notify Tenants of an Intention To Enter in Delaware?

Delaware landlords and tenants are expected to use written notice as the default communication method. However, other forms of notice (such as verbal) will not be considered legally invalid if there’s proof that the notice still effectively communicated the intended information.

Can a Tenant Refuse Entry to a Landlord in Delaware?

Delaware tenants can refuse entry to a landlord if the entry isn’t for an allowed reason, or doesn’t obey the time and notice requirements. If the landlord is entering for a valid reason according to the process in the law, however, the tenant can’t unreasonably refuse entry.

What Happens If the Tenant Illegally Refuses Entry to the Landlord in Delaware?

Delaware landlords might do one or more of the following if the tenant refuses entry, depending on the exact circumstances:

  • Get a court order to force access.
  • Deliver a written 7-day notice to comply.
  • Cancel the rental agreement.
  • Recover cost of any actual damages.

Can a Tenant Change the Locks Without Permission in Delaware?

Delaware tenants can change locks at any time without permission, as long as the lock change meets all the following requirements:

  • The landlord gets written notification of the lock change.
  • The landlord gets copies of the new keys.
  • The new lock fits into the system already in place.
  • The installation doesn’t damage the door.

What Can a Tenant Do If the Landlord Enters Illegally in Delaware?

Delaware tenants have the following options if the landlord enters illegally:

  • Get a court order to ban the landlord from entering.
  • Cancel the rental agreement.
  • Recover cost of any damages.