Delaware Leases and Rental Agreements Laws

The relationship between landlords and tenants is regulated at the state level, through lease and rental agreement laws. Typically, these laws place limits on how much of a security deposit a landlord may require and which types of discrimination are prohibited. Delaware lease and rental agreement laws require that security deposits must be returned within 30 days of termination of the lease.

See the following summary chart and elaboration below it to learn more about Delaware's lease and rental agreement laws. See FindLaw's Rental and Lease Agreements section for additional articles and resources.

Code Section Tit. 6 §4603; 25 §5514
Terms of Leases Tenant remains in possession and landlord accepts rent, creation of new tenancy from year-to-year is inferred (Makin v. Mack, 336 A.2d 230 (1975)
Deposits Limit 1 month rent; interest on deposit not required; deposit must be returned within 30 days of termination; if deposit not returned within 30 days, tenant entitled to double the amount of security deposit
Discrimination No discrimination on basis of race, age, marital status, creed, color, sex, handicap, national origin; landlord may reserve 10 or more units exclusively for rent by senior citizens (anyone over 62). Refusal to rent because of children in family, increase in rent, penalty, reservation of rental units for use by senior citizens, tenant may obtain summary of landlord-tenant code, use ignorance of law defense.
Uniform Residential Landlord & Tenant Act Adopted? No

Illegal Discrimination under Federal Law

The Federal Fair Housing Act places restrictions on the qualities landlords and home sellers can use when deciding who to place in a residence. No one can do any off the following based on race, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability:

  • Refuse to rent a house or apartment
  • Refuse to sell a house or apartment
  • Refuse to negotiate for housing
  • Make housing unavailable
  • Make different conditions for sale or rental
  • Provide different types of services for housing or rentals
  • Falsely deny that a house or apartment is available
  • Persuade owners to sell or rent a house
  • Deny services or membership in a facility or service

This means that a landlord cannot charge more rent for an apartment to a person who needs the apartment to be handicap accessible. Landlords also cannot refuse to rent an apartment to a couple because they are unmarried.

Limits on Deposits

In Delaware, deposits for rented apartments or houses are limited to one month's rent. A landlord is not required to earn interest on deposits. If a deposit not returned within 30 days, tenant entitled to double the amount of the security deposit.

Get Legal Help

If you would like to know more about your rights and obligations when renting, there are many landlord-tenant attorneys throughout Delaware who may be able to help. In addition to answering your questions about landlord-tenant law, they may be able to help you recover improperly held deposits, or enforce discrimination laws.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.