A Delaware rental agreement is a legal contract between a landlord overseeing a rental property and a tenant who wishes to use it. Delaware landlord-tenant law governs these agreements; rental terms must be within the limits allowed by law.
Delaware Rental Agreement Types
A Delaware roommate agreement is a legal contract between two or more people (“co-tenants”) who share a rental property according to rules they set, including for things like splitting the rent. This agreement binds the co-tenants living together, and doesn’t include the landlord.
Common Residential Rental Agreements in Delaware
- Delaware Association of Realtor’s Residential Lease-Rental Agreement – this fillable template is intended for Delaware’s Association of Realtor’s members who have written permission to use the template. It provides an extensive list of rules and procedures and is specific for properties governed by the Delaware Landlord-Tenant Code.
Delaware Required Residential Lease Disclosures
- Landlord’s Name and Address (required for all leases) – Delaware leases must contain the name and address of the landlord or authorized agent. This enables smooth communication of any important legal notice.
- Landlord-Tenant Code Summary (required for all leases) – Delaware landlords must provide a summary of the state’s Landlord-Tenant Code within or alongside every lease agreement, to ensure prospective tenants know their rights before signing a lease.
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosures (required for some leases) – For any property built before 1978, federal law requires that a Delaware residential lease must contain a lead-based paint disclosure with an EPA informational pamphlet, plus notice of any lead hazards on the property.
To learn more about required disclosures in Delaware, click here.
Delaware Landlord Tenant Laws
- Warranty of Habitability – Delaware landlords can only rent out habitable property, which means providing certain features essential to basic health and safety. This includes things like heat, plumbing, electricity, and sound structural elements. Landlords must repair any issues within 15 days after proper notice from the tenant. Failure to repair lets a tenant sue the landlord or terminate the lease. Tenants in Delaware can also sometimes repair and deduct, or withhold rent.
- Evictions – Delaware landlords may evict for rent default, lease violations, or illegal acts, among other things. Before filing eviction, landlords must serve tenants with prior notice to quit. This means most evictions in Delaware take between a week to several months.
- Security Deposits – Delaware caps the value of a security deposit at one month’s rent, although some leases fall under an exception to this rule. Upon lease termination, a landlord has 20 days to return to the tenant any unused portion of a security deposit.
- Lease Termination – Delaware allows tenants to terminate a month-to-month lease with 60 days of advance notice. A fixed-term lease can’t be terminated early without active military duty, landlord harassment, uninhabitable property, or domestic abuse.
- Rent Increases and Fees – Delaware landlords may increase rent by any mount, a maximum of once during any 12-month period. They must provide at least 60 days of advance notice before any rent increase, and notified tenant then has 15 days to either agree to the increase or terminate the lease. The state caps late rent fees valued at 5% rental amount, and caps returned check fees at $40.
- Landlord Entry – Delaware landlord may enter rental property for purposes reasonably related to the tenancy, such as maintenance, inspections, and property showings. Before entering, they must provide at least 48 hours of advance notice, unless it’s an emergency.
- Settling Legal Disputes – Delaware allows its Justice of the Peace courts to hear landlord-tenant disputes, as long as the amount in controversy is under $15,000. Unlike many states, Delaware allows these courts to hear eviction cases, as well.
To learn more about landlord tenant laws in Delaware, click here.