Tenants' Rights in Delaware

5 Rights of Tenants in Delaware

The state of Delaware has put together a residential landlord and tenant code. The code includes rules regarding the general landlord-tenant relationship, specific rights and responsibilities of tenants and specific rights and responsibilities of landlords. Here are five rights of tenants in the state of Delaware.

Delaware Tenant’s Right to Fair Housing

Any individual who is a tenant in the state of Delaware is protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act.

This law was put into place as a way to prevent discrimination in any activity that had to do with housing. This includes buying a home, renting a home or apartment and obtaining financing for a property. The Fair Housing Act specifically protects seven classes of people. These include:

  • Color
  • Disability (Physical and Mental)
  • Familial Status
  • National Origin
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex

In addition to the Federal law, the state of Delaware also has its own Fair Housing Act. This Act offers protections for the seven classes already included under the Federal Act, but extends protections to five additional classes of people. These include:

  • Age
  • Creed
  • Marital Status
  • Gender Identity
  • Sexual Orientation

The ultimate goal of this Act is to prevent discrimination, period, but it is also serves as a way for those who have been victims of discrimination to seek justice. Landlords are still allowed to thoroughly screen their tenants, but they must do so according to qualifying standards such as monthly income and not the color of your skin.

See Also:

Delaware Tenant’s Right to the Security Deposit

§ Section 5514

Under Delaware’s residential code, tenants have rights regarding their security deposit. The state protects these tenants by setting a maximum on how much a landlord can collect as a security deposit. This amount will differ based on the length of the lease agreement.

For leases less than a year, the maximum security deposit is greater than one month’s rent, for leases more than a year, the maximum security deposit is one month’s rent and for furnished units, there is no set maximum. A Delaware landlord can also collect an additional one month deposit if a tenant has a pet.

In Delaware, landlords must place tenant’s security deposit in a separate banking account to ensure its safe keeping, but the account does not have to earn interest. Landlords are allowed to make deductions from a tenant’s security deposit for legal reasons such as damage to the unit and unpaid rent, but they must return the rest of the deposit upon tenant move-out.

The landlord has 20 days from tenant move-out to return the portion of the tenant’s security deposit that is owed back to the tenant. When returning the security deposit, the landlord must include a written itemized statement detailing any deductions that have been taken from the deposit.

See Also: Delaware Security Deposit Law

Delaware Tenant’s Right to Notice Before Landlord Entry

§§ Section 5312, 5507, 5509, 5510

Tenants in the state of Delaware usually have a right to notice before a landlord is allowed to gain access to their rental unit.

The landlord must usually provide 48 hours’ notice before gaining entry. There are exceptions to this rule, including during a tenant’s extended absence and when the tenant has contacted the landlord to request repairs.

There are only certain times the landlord can enter, which are between 8 A.M. and 9 P.M. The landlord can also only enter for legally allowed reasons, which include for inspections, to make repairs or alterations, to show the unit to prospective tenants and buyer and to read the utility meters. The tenant does not have to let the landlord in if the landlord has not given proper notice or if the landlord is attempting to harass the tenant.

Both the landlord and tenant have legal remedies if the other party abuses the right of access. This could include payment for any damages suffered.

See Also: Delaware Tenant's Right to Notice Before Landlord Entry

Delaware Tenant’s Rights After Landlord Retaliation

§ Section 5516

The state of Delaware understands that sometimes landlord and tenants have conflicts. To help minimize these problems, Delaware law has included a clause against landlord retaliation.

This clause makes it clear that tenants have certain rights, such as the right to join a union or complain about a health or safety violation. The clause tries to prevent retaliatory acts by the landlord, such as raising a tenant’s rent or attempting a retaliatory eviction by stating that if a landlord performs these acts within 90 days of a tenant’s complaint or other legal right, the landlord may face legal consequences. The law also protects a landlord’s rights by listing 12 times a landlord may be entitled to perform an action, such as terminating a lease, even if it is within this 90 day period.

See Also: Delaware Tenant's Rights After Landlord Retaliation

Delaware Tenant’s Right to Rent Disclosure

§ Section 5106, 5107, 5501, 5502,

For their own knowledge and protection, Delaware tenants have the right to certain disclosures about the terms of the rent. Many of these terms should be spelled out in the lease agreement. This includes the amount of rent to be paid, where the rent will be paid, when rent is due, fees for late rent, consequences for nonpayment of rent and procedures for increasing the rent.

See Also: Delaware Tenant's Right to Rent Disclosure

Delaware Landlord Tenant Law

To view the original text of Delaware’s law relating to landlords and tenants please refer to Delaware Code Annotated, Title 25, §§ 5101 to 5907.