The Delaware residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) is used to create a binding legal contract between a landlord and a tenant. Once signed by both parties, the tenant will make periodic payments (“rent”) in exchange for the use of property.
Delaware Lease Agreement Disclosures
The following disclosures are either required for some or all residential lease agreements in Delaware.
Landlord’s Name & Address
Applicable to all rental units in Delaware.
Creates a line of communication for important notices and demands between tenant and landlord. Landlords or any authorized individual to act on behalf of the property should provide contact information (including their address) within or alongside the lease.
Landlord-Tenant Code Summary
Applicable to all rental units in Delaware.
Delaware requires landlords to provide a summary of the Landlord-Tenant Code at the beginning of a new rental agreement. If the landlord doesn’t provide this summary, the tenant can plead ignorance against charges or obligations levied against them.
Additionally, if the property is in New Castle County, the tenant must be provided with a copy of the New Castle County Tenants’ Rights and Responsibilities Guide. The tenant must also sign an acknowledgement that they received the guide.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
Applicable to any rental units built prior to 1978.
It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints. This law requires landlords in Delaware to:
- Fill out and attach this lead-based paint disclosure form to the lease agreement.
- Provide the tenant with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved pamphlet about the dangers of lead-based paint.
- Provide additional records or reports about the presence or hazards of any known lead-based paint in the unit. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.
Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)
The below lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by Delaware law in residential lease agreements, but either help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.
|Optional Disclosure||How the Disclosure is Helpful|
|Asbestos||This disclosure informs tenants if there is asbestos at the property. If there is asbestos a tenant can take certain precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers.|
|Bed Bugs||If the rental unit has a history of infestation, landlords should provide information on how to handle a bed bug infestation. This disclosure notifies the tenant of their obligation to cooperate with bed bug prevention and immediately report any sign of infestation to the landlord.|
|Late/Returned Check Fees||Landlords should disclose if they will charge a late fee or a returned check fee in the lease agreement. In Delaware there is a 5% limit on late fees and a $40 limit on returned checks.|
|Medical Marijuana Use||Inform tenants if medical marijuana use on the property is permittable. Some state laws allow landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or inform tenants of designated smoking areas to not interfere with other tenants’ enjoyment of the premises.|
|Mold Disclosure||Informing the tenant of the current mold status of a property protects the landlord against future liability of mold damages.|
|Move-in Checklist||A move-in checklist holds the tenant accountable for future damages that they may cause.|
|Non-Refundable Fees||A non-refundable charge must be written in the lease agreement. If a non-refundable charge is not written in the lease, the tenant may be subject to a refund upon termination of the lease.|
|Shared Utilities Arrangements||For rental units with shared utilities, a landlord should disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated. Providing this information to tenants will give them a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.|
|Smoking||Inform tenants of designated smoking areas to not interfere with other tenants’ enjoyment of the premises.|
Consequences of Not Including Mandatory Disclosures
Disclosures outline the important health, safety and property information and vary by state. If a landlord does not provide the tenant with the federally or state mandated disclosures, they could face legal repercussions or monetary penalties.
If a landlord fails to disclose the lead-based paint hazard disclosure, they can face fines up to $18,364 per violation. (24 CFR § 30.65)
It’s best to check with your local laws on which disclosures are required to provide to your tenant.