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Delaware Tenant Rights Laws

All states have laws that govern the legal relationship between residential landlords and tenants. Each state has laws addressing issues like security deposits, paying rent, evictions, and terminating tenancies. Delaware, as the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, continues to lead the way with comprehensive legal protection for tenants.

Delaware Tenant Rights Laws at a Glance

Delaware law regulates important issues like how much a landlord can require you to put down as a security, and how long a landlord has to return your security deposit or provide an itemized list of deductions. Delaware also guarantees tenants a safe and habitable living environment, and empowers tenants to "repair and deduct" if a landlord fails to make important repairs.

While the federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discriminating against tenants on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability, Delaware's anti-discrimination laws are more expansive and inclusive. The state also, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, source of income, and occupation.


Delaware Residential Landlord-Tenant Code

Security Deposits

  • For leases of one year or more, landlord can't require more than one month's rent as a security deposit
  • For month-to-month leases, there is no limit as to how much a landlord can require as a security deposit
  • Security deposit or itemized list of deductions must be returned within 20 days of tenant move-out

Paying Rent

  • For month-to-month leases, landlords must provide at least 60 days' notice before raising rent
  • Tenants have a 5 day grace period to pay rent or move out

Living Conditions

  • Landlords must comply with state or local housing codes and statues
  • Landlords are obligated to provide rental unit that doesn't endanger tenant health or safety
  • Tenants have the right to "repair and deduct" if landlord fails to make critical repairs
  • Unless in case of emergency, landlord must provide 2 days' notice to enter tenant unit
  • Tenant can't unreasonably withhold consent for tenant to enter unit to make necessary repairs


  • It's illegal for landlord to refuse to rent or otherwise discriminate against tenant on the basis of race, creed, religion, marital status, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, source of income, or occupation

Ending or Renewing a Tenancy

  • If tenant repeatedly violates lease provisions, landlord can give 7 days' notice to move out before filing for eviction
  • If tenant fails to pay rent, landlord can give 5 days' notice to terminate lease


  • It's illegal for landlord to discriminate against tenant for exercising legal rights

Note: State regulations are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related: Delaware Tenant Rights Resources

Get a Free Evaluation of Your Landlord/Tenant Case

Being a party to a residential lease is a big responsibility. If you find that your landlord is behaving unfairly or illegally, there may legal recourse available to you. In addition to being familiar with the laws of your state, you may want to consider getting professional legal help. FindLaw can match you with an experienced local attorney for a free initial case evaluation.

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