|Legal Reasons for Entry||
|Penalties for Illegal Entry||
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.
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.
- 1 Del. Code Ann. § 5509(a) & (c) (2022)
“(a) The tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent for the landlord to enter into the rental unit in order to inspect the premises, make necessary repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements, supply services as agreed to or exhibit the rental unit to prospective purchasers, mortgagees or tenants… (c) The tenant shall permit the landlord to enter the rental unit at reasonable times in order to obtain readings of meters or appliances for measurement of utility consumption in accordance with § 5312 of this title.”Source Link
- 2 Del. Code Ann. § 5509(b) (2022)
“The landlord shall not abuse this right of access nor use it to harass a tenant. The landlord shall give the tenant at least 48 hours’ notice of landlord’s intent to enter, except for repairs requested by the tenant, and shall enter only between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. As to prospective tenants or purchasers only, the tenant may expressly waive in a signed addendum to the rental agreement or other separate signed document the requirement that the landlord provide 48 hours’ notice prior to the entry into the premises. In the case of an emergency the landlord may enter at any time.”Source Link
- 3 Del. Code Ann. § 5510(b) (2022)
“The landlord shall be liable to the tenant for any theft, casualty or other harm proximately resulting from an entry into the rental unit by landlord, its employees or agents or with landlord’s permission or license: (1) When the tenant is absent and has not specifically consented to the entry; (2) Without the tenant’s actual consent when tenant is present and able to consent; and (3) In any other case, where the harm suffered by the tenant is due to the landlord’s negligence.”Source Link
- 4 Del. Code Ann. § 5113 (2022)
The law asks that notice be written, and either personally served or officially mailed; see Del. Code Ann. § 5113 (2022). But see Del. Code Ann. § 5114 (2022) (“A person has notice of a fact if: (1) The person has actual knowledge of it; (2) The person has received a notice pursuant to the provisions of this Code; or (3) From all the facts and circumstances known at the time in question, such person has reason to know that it exists.”) See also Gillespie v. Chel. on the Square, No. 09A-05-009-JOH, 7 (Del. Super. Ct. Jul. 30, 2010) (“The undisputed record below was that Gillespie had actual notice of both possible inspections. That met the statutory requirement of notice found in § 5114. There was no error in the Court of Common Pleas. That actual notice superseded any possible notice issues arising from § 5113.”)Source Link
- 5 Del. Code Ann. § 5510(a) (2022)
“The tenant shall be liable to the landlord for any harm proximately caused by the tenant’s unreasonable refusal to allow access. Any court of competent jurisdiction may issue an injunction against a tenant who has unreasonably withheld access to the rental unit.”Source Link
- 6 Del. Code Ann. § 5509(a) (2022)
“A tenant shall have the right to install a new lock at the tenant’s cost, on the condition that: (1) The tenant notifies the landlord in writing and supplies the landlord with a key to the lock; (2) The new lock fits into the system already in place; and (3) The lock installation does not cause damage to the door.”Source Link
- 7 Del. Code Ann. § 5510(c) (2022)
“Repeated demands for unreasonable entry or any actual entry which is unreasonable and not consented to by the tenant may be treated by the tenant as grounds for termination of the rental agreement. Any court of competent jurisdiction may issue an injunction against such unreasonable demands on behalf of 1 or more tenants.”Source Link
- 8 Continental Coach Crafters Co. v. Fitzwater, 415 A.2d 785, 792 (Del. Super. Ct. 1980)
“The Justice of the Peace Courts have exclusive jurisdiction in both Chapter 57 and Chapter 59 proceedings, 25 Del. C. 5701 and 5901, and the grant of power to fashion relief contained in § 5907(c)… via orders ancillary to discharge of a receiver is sufficiently broad to encompass [injunctive relief.]”Source Link
- 9 Norfleet v. Mid-Atlantic Realty Co., C.A. No. 95C-11-008 WLW, (Del. Super. Ct. Apr. 20, 2001)
“One similarity between the covenant of quiet enjoyment and the warranty of habitability is the damages that flow from a breach of either one. In both instances the damages are contractual in nature.”Source Link
- 10 Del. Code Ann. § 5117(a) (2022)
“For any violation of the rental agreement or this Code, or both, by either party, the injured party shall have a right to maintain a cause of action in any court of competent civil jurisdiction.”Source Link