Save yourself: Mosaic’s guide to navigating common landlord problems

Autumn Reflections
Creative Commons
Save your and your housemates’ time and money with Mosaic’s guide to navigating common landlord problems.

Senior Reporter

While landlords are required to give a summary of Delaware Residential Landlord Tenant Code during lease signing, the summary leaves out important information that can grant more power to landlords if misunderstood by tenants.

Additionally, by signing a lease, you may waive certain rights within the Landlord Tenant Code.

While most are aware of the requirement that landlords give 48 hours notice before entering the residence (with the exception of repairs), Delaware law permits tenants to waive that right.

According to 25 Del.C. §5509,“The tenant may expressly waive in a signed addendum to the rental agreement or other separate signed document the requirement that the landlord provide 48 hours’ notice prior to the entry into the premises.”

In signing this right away, you may be subject to surprise visits by your landlord or tours guided by your landlord with limited notice.

Because Newark homes are older, the air conditioning, heating or water may not be newly remodeled; therefore, they may break before your lease is up. If these utilities stop working, your landlord has 48 hours to remedy the situation after notice.

According to 25 Del.C. §5308, the tenant may, “upon written notice to the landlord, keep two-thirds per diem rent accruing during any period when hot water, heat, water, electricity or equivalent substitute housing is not supplied.”

Although this does not apply if the repair is impossible, keep note of the haste at which your landlord is required by law to supply utilities.

When it comes time to move out, landlords in Newark tend to take a chunk of security deposits for repairs. But if the remainder of the security deposit, with an itemized list of damages and deductions, is not returned within 20 days of the end of the rental agreement, 25 Del.C. §5514 entitles you to double the amount withheld.

Landlord tenant codes are difficult to navigate. Luckily, your landlord is required to offer you a summary of Delaware Residential Landlord Tenant Code. That way, if you ever suspect bamboozling on the part of your landlord, you can check a more digestible version of the codes yourself.

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