Delaware Tenant's Right to Rent Disclosure

What Should Be Disclosed in the Lease About the Rent

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Delaware’s landlord tenant law gives tenants certain rights when it comes to the terms of their rental agreement. Under the law, landlords must make disclosures to the tenant including when and where the rent will be paid, late rent penalties, the term of the lease, rent increase procedures, and consequences for nonpayment of rent. Here are the basics on rent disclosure in Delaware.

Rent Basics in Lease Agreement

There are certain things that every landlord should include in their lease agreement.

It is important to include these clauses so that the tenant understands what is expected of them, but also so that the landlord is protected because he or she has provided proper notification about the state requirements.

  • Rent Amount- The lease should state the dollar amount the tenant has agreed to pay each month, or week, for weekly tenants, in order to live in the rental.​
  • Term of Lease- The landlord should list how long the lease is valid for.​
  • Rent Due Date- The lease should disclose when the rent is due. This will depend on the term of the lease agreement. For month to month or yearly tenants, most landlords will set a rent due date of the first of the month. For weekly tenants, this due date would be at the beginning of each week, most likely on Monday since Sunday is not considered a business day. Landlords and tenants can agree to some other due date if both parties approve.​
  • Where Rent Will Be Paid- The landlord should include a clause about where the tenant should pay their rent each term. This will be mutually agreed on by both landlord and tenant. It could be the tenant’s apartment, the landlord’s office or some other convenient location.​
  • Late Fee- If the landlord will charge the tenant an additional fee if their rent is late, this should be included in the lease.​
  • Grace Period- Tenants in Delaware are entitled to a grace period when paying their rent. The landlord should list the terms of this grace period in the lease so the tenant is aware of the requirements.​
  • Acceptable Forms of Payment- To avoid confusion, the methods of payment the landlord will accept as rent should be listed in the lease. This could include certified check, money order, electronic deposit or even cash. For cash payments, the landlord must follow certain rules which are described below.

Rent Basics When Not Specifically Listed in Lease

  • Rent Amount- If the amount of rent that is due each month is not specifically listed in the lease agreement, then the tenant must pay the landlord a “reasonable sum” to live in the rental unit.​
  • Term of Lease- If a rental agreement in Delaware does not specifically state otherwise, the term of the lease agreement will be month to month.​
  • Rent Due Date- If no other due date has been specified in the lease agreement, then state law requires rent to be due at the beginning of the lease term. So this would either be at the beginning of each month or the beginning of each week.

Accepting Cash Payments as Rent in Delaware

Tenants in the state of Delaware have the right to pay their rent in cash.

If the landlord accepts a cash payment, then the landlord must do two things:

  • 1. Provide the tenants with a receipt for the cash payment within 15 days of receiving the rent.
  • 2. Keep a record of all receipts for cash payments for a period of at least three years.

Grace Period

Tenants in the state of Delaware have the right to a grace period when paying their rent. This length of the grace period will differ based on if their landlord has a set physical location where rent can be paid.

  • 5-Day Grace Period:

Tenants will have five days from the rent due date to pay their rent without penalty if the landlord has a physical location, whether it be an office or other property, where the tenant can pay their rent each term.

  • 8-Day Grace Period:

If the landlord does not have a set physical location where tenants can pay their weekly or monthly rent, then the tenant will have eight days from the due date of their rent to pay without penalty.

Late Rent Fee in Delaware

Landlords in Delaware have the right to charge their tenants a late fee if the tenant does not pay their rent on the date it is due. There are two requirements for this late fee.

  • 1. Five Per Cent of Rent- A landlord cannot charge a late fee which is equal to more than five per cent of the tenant’s weekly or monthly rent. For example, if the monthly rent is $1,000, then the maximum amount for the late fee would be $50.​
  • 2. Wait for Grace Period- The second condition is that the landlord must wait until the grace period is over before they are allowed to charge a late fee. This will either be five or eight days depending on their situation.

Rent Increase

Landlords must provide the tenant with at least 60 days’ notice before the expiration day of the lease if the landlord wishes to increase the rent, increase the security deposit or change any other term of the lease. The tenant has 45 days’ before the expiration of the lease to either accept or reject these terms. If the tenant does not respond, it will be considered an acceptance and the terms will take effect.

Notice to Terminate for Nonpayment

Written Notice:

If the tenant has not paid their rent by the due date, the landlord can send the tenant written notice advising the tenant to pay their rent or their lease will be terminated within five days, or more if the landlord allows, of this written notice. If the tenant has not paid their rent within this time period, the landlord can begin eviction proceedings.

Accepting Rent:

  • Before Beginning Eviction Proceedings

If the landlord accepts the payment of rent before beginning the eviction process, then the landlord has lost the right to file for the eviction, unless of course the tenant does not pay rent in the future or otherwise breaches the lease agreement.

  • After Beginning Eviction Proceedings

If the landlord accepts the payment of rent after beginning the eviction process, then the eviction will be cancelled.

Termination of Lease Agreement

If either the landlord or tenant wishes to terminate the lease agreement, he or she must provide the other party with written notice at least 60 days prior to the lease expiration date. This notice must state the intended date of termination. For month to month tenants, this 60 day period will begin the day after the written notice.

Delaware’s Law on Rent Disclosure

If you are interested in viewing the original text of Delaware’s law governing rent disclosure, please consult Delaware Code Annotated, Title 25, Chapter 55 §§ Sections  5501 and 5502 and Delaware Code Annotated, Title 25, Chapter 21 §§ Sections 5106 and 5107.