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Delaware Landlord-Tenant Law – An Essential Guide

  • December 24, 2022
  • James Beeson
  • Category: Delaware Housing Market, Property Management

To establish a good leasing agreement, landlords and renters in Delaware must observe specific laws and regulations. The Delaware landowner sets most rules and restrictions based on their requirements. However, these agreements are also governed by the state’s landlord-tenant regulations, so you should be aware of them.

This guide will teach you plenty about Delaware landlord-tenant law, including the present situation of the housing marketplace of the country, rights and obligations for all parties involved, and other helpful information.

Handling a lease agreement entails more than just collecting rent on time. There are several more conditions on which both parties must agree before renting a home.

It’s important to know that not all Delaware rental agreements function similarly. They depend greatly on the landlords and their terms for occupying their rental property. However, it is vital to understand the rights of the tenant and the landlord to avoid future legal issues.

Consider that if you want particular assistance with your rental contracts, you can seek legal counsel.

Landlords’ Rights & Responsibilities

Understanding Occupancy Limit on Rental Property

  • Before visiting the rental properties, a 60-day notice is necessary.
  • Repairs must be completed within 12 days.
  • The security deposit must be returned within 20 days.
  • There is no need to give notice before raising the rent.

There are several specifics landlords should be aware of when looking at  Delaware rental laws:

  • Entry Notice – Before accessing an apartment or property in Delaware, the landlord must provide a 48-hour notice.
  • Security Deposit – In Delaware, the sum a landlord can collect for a security deposit is set to one month’s rent. Landlords are required to restore the deposit in the first 20 days of the tenant’s leaving.
  • Raising the Rent – The landlords can change the renting price to any amount, with a sixty-day notice first.
  • Maintenance – The landlord must keep the property in livable shape. Landlords are required to fix damages in the first 12 days after being contacted by a tenant. If the landlord doesn’t complete the repairs, the tenant has the option of retaining up to two-thirds of the rent or paying the repairs and deducting the amount from their following rent payment.
  • Tenant Selection Procedure – Landlords have the legal authority to do a background check on a potential renter if they have written authorization. The Delaware Code stipulates the following regulations in these situations:
  • The amount of a registration fee that a landlord may charge their renter is regulated by the state of Delaware.
  • The application cost is non-refundable.
  • According to Delaware landlord-tenant legislation, the charge cannot be more than 10% of one month’s rent.

Tenants’ Rights & Responsibilities


Following the Delaware Code, each renter is responsible for keeping the unit in excellent condition, which includes inspecting the electrical, sanitary, and plumbing equipment to ensure they are in working order. Aside from that, in a rented property, each Delaware tenant is liable for the following:

  • Maintain the cleanliness of all fixtures.
  • Do not bother the neighbors or other tenants.
  • Perform minor maintenance tasks.
  • Pay the rent on time.
  • Follow all of the stipulations of the contract and the Delaware Code.


Every Delaware renter has the right to find a livable rental property that complies with Delaware’s housing laws and discrimination-free housing from their renter.

If the property requires repairs, the landlord must receive a written notification from the tenant to ensure the repairs can be completed. The tenant must deliver such a written report within a reasonable time frame to be legally permitted to take alternative action.

Rental Contracts

The Delaware Code contains landlord-tenant legislation. If you want a more in-depth understanding of how this works, be sure to study it thoroughly.

Every lease agreement in Delaware must be documented if the lease duration is one year or more. Alternatively, the lease might be verbal. However, it is usually preferable to use the written version because it can aid both parties in the event of a legal disagreement over payment, evictions, or damages.

Overall, according to Delaware landlord-tenant legislation, a lease contract must always include the following:

  • A full description of the rented properties.
  • Conditions for rental payments.
  • Clauses requiring a security deposit.
  • Lease noncompliance provisions.
  • Details about the renter and landlord.
  • Person in charge of maintenance and utility bills.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Delaware Known for Being a Landlord-Friendly?

Delaware isn’t regarded as a landlord-friendly state based on the rules established in their landlord-tenant statute. The primary reason is that renters have much power over their landlords, which might influence how they handle the rental arrangement. On the contrary hand, the landlord-tenant code does not prevent rent control regulations, which means that every municipality can establish unique rent constraints for the landlord.

What is the Delaware Eviction Procedure?

In Delaware, the landlord can apply for eviction for one of four reasons. The four causes are failure to pay rent, breaking the lease contract, unlawful acts, and lease term expiration. Depending on the offense, the landlord must allow the renter anything from five to sixty days to fix the infraction.

If the tenant refuses to correct or leave, the landlord can file a $45 complaint with the court. It will be delivered to the tenant within five to thirty days of filing the complaint. After that, the hearing will be arranged between a couple of days to several weeks.

If the landlord wins in court, an order of possession will be filed within ten days. The renter must leave within 24 hours of receiving the notice.

How long it takes to evict a tenant?

Based on the cause for the eviction, evicting a renter in Delaware may take anywhere from one to three months.

Can you hold back the rent?

If a landlord fails to make necessary repairs, the tenant has the option to either cover the cost of the repairs and deduct it from their next rent payment or hold back two-thirds of the rent until the repairs are completed.

Where can I find Delaware landlord-tenant laws?

Suppose you wish to examine the content of landlord-tenant legislation, like state security deposit regulations. In that case, you may find references in many of the articles and tables on the Nolo site’s State Landlord-Tenant Laws page.


Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, make sure to read everything in this article to understand your and the other party’s rights and responsibilities. If you’d like to prevent future legal conflicts, follow all of the standards outlined in the Delaware Code and landlord-tenant statutes. This also encourages strong leasing connections for the duration of the lease. Contact a lawyer if you need more information about your case.