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Landlord/Tenant Matters Archives

What to do when rent is not paid

If a tenant in a Delaware residential property fails to pay rent, a landlord may have many options to either demand that it be paid or terminate the rental agreement. At any time after rent is due, a landlord may issue a written demand for payment. If the past due amount is not paid within five days, a landlord may terminate the agreement. It may also be possible to provide more than five days to pay the past due amount if desired.

When landlords breach a lease agreement

Many Delaware residents rent a home or an apartment, but interactions with landlords don't always go according to plan. State law provides various mechanisms that renters can use to seek remedies or terminate their leases when their landlords fall short of their obligations.

The importance of lease agreements

When a dispute develops between landlords and tenants in Delaware, the lease agreement is generally the first document that is consulted. Tenants hoping to avoid such misunderstandings may wish to read lease agreements and accompanying documentation thoroughly before signing them, and they should ask questions about any provisions that are unclear or seem contradictory. Keeping copies of all signed documents on hand to refer to if questions arise in the future could also be a prudent step for tenants to take.

Real estate law and tenant evictions in Delaware

Both tenants and landlords need to understand how the eviction process works and under what circumstances a tenant may be evicted. Many tenants commonly believe that landlords can simply throw them out, but that is not the case. Instead, landlords must go through the eviction process in order to force tenants to move out.

How a bankruptcy may impact a Delaware eviction

Delaware landlords may not be aware that if they have started the eviction process against a tenant, it may be possible for the tenant to delay eviction if he or she has filed for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In the event that the tenant filed for bankruptcy before the landlord starts the eviction process, the tenant may be granted a stay of the eviction. However, the landlord may ask a federal court to lift the stay, which is likely to be granted since the rental property has no bearing on the value of the tenant's assets.

Delaware rental law and summary possession actions

Delaware law provides a strict series of guidelines for the protection of all parties to a lease of residential or commercial property. The intent is to ensure all sides are treated fairly and equitably. Understanding the rights and obligations of all parties prior to, during and after a summary possession action can help prevent costly misunderstandings or outright rejection of the case by the court having jurisdiction.

Can a tenant terminate a lease agreement?

Under Delaware law, a tenant can terminate a rental agreement in the first month if the landlord does not adhere to the terms of the lease or if the tenant moves into a property where an issue exists that violates an ordinance, code, statute or regulation and the tenant maintains possession because of a promise by the landlord to correct the issues. If the same breach occurs again within six months, the tenant may terminate the agreement by giving the landlord a 15-day written notice specifying the breach and rental agreement termination date.

What is the process of evicting a tenant in Delaware?

If a tenant falls behind on the rent, or does other things the landlord does not like, it may reach the point that the landlord wants the tenant out of the property. In Delaware, evicting a tenant is called obtaining summary possession. There is a process that landlords must follow, or they may not regain possession of the property from the tenant.

The lease can solve many, but not all, landlord-tenant disputes

It happens all the time to landlords in Delaware: a dispute arises between them and their tenants. Perhaps the tenant has stopped paying rent, or is paying less than the full amount. Or they have moved in roommates or pets that they were not supposed to.