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When is early termination by the tenant allowed in Delaware?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2020 | Landlord/Tenant Matters

In Delaware, landlord-tenant disputes can be challenging for both sides. This issue has grown in prominence with the ongoing health issue engulfing the nation. Landlords have lamented the situation as they are often unable to collect what they are owed. Tenants have their own challenges with job loss and illness significantly impacting their finances. Understanding the law is essential when there is a disagreement between landlords and tenants. This is especially true if a tenant wants to terminate a rental agreement early. Having legal assistance is critical for both sides, but it especially important for landlords as they are often categorized negatively even if they are in the right.

Tenants can terminate a lease early under certain circumstances

If there is a rental agreement, the tenant can terminate the lease before it expires in specific situations under the law. There is a requirement that there be 30 days’ written notice that starts on the first day of the month the day after the notice was given. The tenant can terminate the agreement if he or she must move for employment and the distance exceeds 30 miles. If the tenant becomes seriously ill or a relative who lives at the property dies or becomes ill and this results in the need to change residence, it is sufficient to warrant terminating the lease early.

The tenant can also terminate the agreement if he or she is moving to a senior citizens’ residence, a property that is subsidized or is public housing, or is an assisted living facility. Tenants who are accepted to live in a subsidized property by the government or by a private nonprofit can move without violating the agreement. If the tenant enters the military and is on active duty, he or she can leave regardless of the rental agreement. For those who have been subjected to domestic violence and other forms of abuse, it is legal to leave the residence no matter what the agreement says. Finally, if a tenant dies and the surviving spouse wants to move after the death, he or she can do so.

Landlords should have legal advice with tenant issues

These are clear justifications for a tenant to vacate the property prior to the completion of the agreement. Still, some tenants might try to terminate the agreement without having the legal ability to do so. In some cases, there can be a negotiation to benefit everyone involved. In others, the landlord should be cognizant of what can be done to resolve the case. Consulting with legal professionals who are experienced with landlord-tenant matters may be able to help with achieving a satisfactory outcome.