Delaware Rental Lease Agreements
The Delaware Rental Lease Agreements establish the rules, terms, and conditions pertaining to an agreement in which an individual will be paying regular monetary installments in exchange for the ability to reside in a residential or commercial property. Legally binding, the agreements can be used to recover damages in a court of law if one of the parties fails to uphold the conditions they previously agreed to do. Before signing any of our Delaware agreements, having a licensed realtor or attorney read through the contract is recommended to ensure it is completely legal and contains all required state disclosures.
What is a Delaware Rental Lease Agreement?
The Delaware Rental Lease Agreements are signed contracts requiring the lessor and lessees of an apartment, home, or commercial building follow all rules and regulations listed therein. The agreements contain identifying information of all parties and detailed conditions, some of which include:
- Address of the property
- Amount of rent
- When rent is due
- Occupancy Limits
- Term of the lease
- Access to the property
- Deposits and fees
Before entering into a binding agreement with a tenant, requiring them to complete a rental application can shed light on any red flags such as a poor credit score, substandard landlord reviews, unpromising monthly income, or criminal history. In Delaware, the landlord may not charge a rental application fee greater than 10% of the monthly rent or fifty ($50) dollars. [Title 25 § 5514]
State Definition [Title 25 § 5141] – “Rental agreement” shall mean and include all agreements, written or oral, which establish or modify the terms, conditions, rules, regulations or any other provisions concerning the use and occupancy of a rental unit.
Types of Agreements
College Roommate (Dorm Room) Agreement – Used by students living in the same room within on-campus college housing; gives the preferences of the roommates and lists the rules they all agreed to follow.
Commercial Lease Agreement – A longer-term binding contract used for the leasing of property that will be used solely for business purposes.
Lease to Own Agreement – Similar to a normal lease with the addition of a section that serves as a purchase agreement, giving the tenant the option to purchase the rented property at the end of the lease term.
Month-to-Month Lease – Does not contain a set end date, can be terminated by either the landlord or tenant with short notice.
Room Rental Agreement – A contract signed among tenants living in the same property that lists all the rules and restrictions that the roommates agreed to adhere to.
Standard Residential Lease Agreement – A one (1) year or longer agreement used for the renting of homes or apartments.
Sublease Agreement – A binding secondary agreement between a tenant and subtenant that states the rules and terms that the new tenant will be required to follow until the expiration of the contract.
Is Subletting Allowed?
Delaware law states that a tenant that wishes to sublet their rented apartment or home can do so freely. However, the lease can prohibit the tenant from subleasing as long as the reason for doing so isn’t unreasonable. [Title 25 § 5508]
Security Deposit Laws – Title 25 § 5514
Security Deposit Amounts – The landlord cannot charge the tenant more than one (1) month’s rent for agreements with durations longer than one (1) year. If the property is furnished (furniture not owned by tenant), there is no limit on the amount a landlord can request for a security deposit. If pets will be involved with the property, the landlord can charge an additional month of rent on top of the original amount.
Return of Security Deposit – The landlord has twenty (20) days after the lease has been terminated to return the security deposit. If the landlord plans on taking a portion or all of the security deposit to pay for damages, they must list each expense in an itemized document. If no such expense list is given, it is assumed that the landlord is not requiring the tenant to pay for any property damages. After receiving a list of expenses, the tenant has ten (10) days to challenge the list if he or she believes all or a portion of the charges are unfair.
Rent Laws – Title 25 § 5501
Where Rent is Due – The time and place rent should be paid by the tenant is to be agreed upon in the lease. If not discussed by the parties, rent is payable at the start of any term shorter than one (1) month; for terms longer than one (1) month, the rent is due at the beginning of each month.
Late Fees – The landlord cannot charge a late fee amounting to more than five (5%) percent of the monthly rent. The grace period is five (5) days; if the landlord does not have an office in the same county as the property, the grace period is eight (8) days.
Rent Increase – If the landlord plans on increasing the rent, they need to give the tenant at least sixty (60) days of notice. After receiving the notice, the tenant has fifteen (15) days to terminate the agreement; if the tenant does not terminate within the allotted time, it will be assumed that the tenant has agreed to the rent increase.
Eviction Laws (Summary Possession) – Title 25 §§ 5701-5717
When the Landlord can begin Eviction Proceedings – Delaware law states that the following can be considered grounds for a landlord starting an action for summary possession:
- Death of the tenant
- Tenant commits a class A misdemeanor or felony that caused personal harm to neighboring tenants or damaged the property
- The tenant does not allow the landlord to repair damages caused by a fire
- Authorized tenant of the rental is wrongfully forced out
- Tenant stays in the property longer than five (5) days after the property has been foreclosed and sold
- Tenant continues to stay in the premises after the lease has been terminated
- Failed to pay rent / wrongfully deducted money from the rent
- Breach of a lawful obligation relating to the tenant’s use of the property
- Tenant holds over in excess of five (5) days after dismissal when the property has been provided to the landlord as compensation for labor / services
Breach of Contract – If the tenant breaches the contract in any way, the landlord should notify the tenant by means of a written document specifying the exact wrongdoing(s). After waiting a minimum of seven (7) days, the landlord can then remedy the breach of contract.
Failure to Pay Rent – In the event the tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord can issue a written notice stating the lease agreement will be terminated; the date of termination cannot be less than five (5) days after the issue of the notice.