Delaware Residential Lease Agreement

Last Updated: November 22, 2021 by Elizabeth Souza

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.

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Delaware Lease Agreement Disclosures

The following disclosures are either required for some or all residential lease agreements in Delaware.

Disclosure Applicable to
Landlord’s Name/Address All Units
Landlord/Tenant Code All Units
Lead Paint All Units Built Prior to 1978

There are also a number of optional disclosures and addendums that help reduce future conflicts and/or legal liability in Delaware.

Landlord’s Name & Address

Applicable to all rental units in Delaware.

Landlords, owners, or any authorized individuals that act on the landlord’s behalf must provide the tenant with their name and business address. Typically, this information is in the rental agreement so future legal notices and demands that are sent by the tenant can be properly delivered. If there is an oral agreement, the landlord shall provide the tenant with this disclosure in writing.

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.

Download: Delaware Landlord-Tenant Code Disclosure Form (PDF)

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.

Download: Delaware Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Form (PDF)

Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)

The following 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.

  • Medical Marijuana Use – it is recommended to state where medical marijuana use is and isn’t allowed on the property so that expectations are clear. Delaware law allows landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or control where users can smoke to not interfere with other tenants.
  • Move-in Checklist – it is recommended to provide an itemized list of damages to the property before move-in to make sure tenants are responsible for any serious damages that occur during the lease term. This can be attached to the lease agreement or signed as a separate document.
  • Late and Returned Check Fees – it is recommended that landlords disclose in the lease any late fees or returned (bounced) check fees that they intend to charge. Delaware does not limit how high these fees can be, but they should be considered reasonable (often no more than 10% of rent) and reflect the actual expenses incurred by the landlord as a result of a late payment. They must also be charged only after the agreed upon due date for rent, dictated in the lease.
  • Bed Bug Disclosure – for rental units with a history of infestation, it is recommended to establish an understanding of the current status of bed bugs at the property in case of a future infestation and to provide information on the protocol for handling one.
  • Asbestos Disclosure – for rental units in buildings built prior to 1981 (which are considered at-risk for asbestos), it is recommended to establish an understanding of any prior knowledge on the existence of asbestos on the property.
  • Mold Disclosure – it is recommended to disclose the current mold status of a property in the lease to protect against future liability of mold damages due to tenant negligence during the lease term.
  • Extended Absence – it is recommended that the landlord disclose in the lease that the tenant shall notify the landlord (in writing) of any anticipated extended absence from the premises no later than the first day of absence. During the tenant’s absence, the landlord may enter the rental unit after providing 48 hours’ notice for safekeeping, inspection, or maintenance (if reasonably necessary).
  • Optional Service Fee for Amenities– if applicable, it is recommended that the landlord disclose to the tenant that they have a choice of paying for amenities, such as a pool fee or tennis court fee.
  • Tenant’s Payment of Taxes– the landlord may disclose in the lease that the tenant is responsible for paying property taxes on the rental unit, the tenant may set-off the payment of property taxes against the rent payment.

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