A Delaware (DE) Lease Agreement is a legally binding document between a landlord and a tenant, written per Delaware’s landlord-tenant laws.
Other Delaware documents you might be interested in are:
- Sublease Agreement – Used by a tenant to rent out all or part of their rented property to a new tenant (subtenant).
- Eviction Notice – Used by a property owner to start the eviction process with a current tenant if they didn’t pay rent or violated another lease term
- Month-to-Month Lease – A landlord uses a month-to-month agreement to rent a property for a shorter time and/or avoid being locked into certain provisions (such as a particular rent payment) for a traditional full lease term.
- Commercial Lease Agreement – A property owner uses this form to rent commercial property, such as an office building or retail space.
- Rental Application – Used by landlords to screen potential tenants to determine if the applicant is a good fit for the rental unit.
What is a Lease Agreement?
A lease agreement is a legally binding form where a landlord agrees to rent all (or a portion of) the residential property to a tenant for a fee.
A tenant agrees to the contract’s terms and conditions upon signing the agreement.
Other names for a lease agreement include:
- Rental agreement
- Rental/lease agreement
- Residential rental agreement
- Residential rental/lease agreement
What to Include in a Delaware Residential Lease Agreement
As a landlord in Delaware, you’re required by Federal and state law to include certain details in your contracts.
Specifically, you need to include:
- Tenant/Landlord Details: names and current addresses of both the tenant and landlord
- Premises: the address of the premises being rented
- Pets: whether pets are allowed, and any other pet-related rules
- Health Hazards: any known health or safety hazards or risks
- Rent Specifics and Late Fees: the amount of rent and security deposit due, payment dates and methods, and any late fees or grace periods
- Lease Term: the length of the lease (e.g., 12 months)
Be aware that each state has laws that govern the relationship between you (the landlord) and your tenant(s) and the lease agreements you create as legally binding contracts.
It’s in your best interest to learn Delaware’s landlord-tenant laws.
Delaware Landlord-Tenant Laws
Delaware state laws impose specific and distinct requirements on landlords and tenants when entering a lease or rental agreement. Some of those requirements include:
- Delaware Code Title 25, Part III – Residential Landlord-Tenant Code
- If the property is unfurnished and the lease term is one year or more, a landlord can charge up to one month’s rent for a security deposit. (25 Delaware Code § 5514(a))
- A landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant within 20 days after the end of the lease along with an itemized list of any monies deducted to repair tenant damage. (25 Delaware Code § 5514(e)-(f))
- A landlord must place the security deposit in an escrow bank account in a federally-insured banking institution. (25 Delaware Code § 5514(b))
Landlord Right of Entry:
- A landlord must provide at least 48 hours advance notice to the tenant before entering the rental property. (25 Delaware Code § 5509)
Delaware Disclosure Information:
- Required Disclosures – Delaware landlords must provide tenants with the following: (1) the names and business addresses of all property owners or their agents of the dwelling unit and/or any person who is considered a landlord; and (2) a copy of the written rental agreement. (25 Delaware Code § 5105)
- Summary of Residential Landlord-Tenant Code – Landlords must give tenants a summary of the Landlord-Tenant Code as prepared by the Consumer Protection Unit of the Attorney General’s Office. (25 Delaware Code § 5118)
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure – Landlords of Delaware rental units built before 1978 must provide a lead-based paint disclosure along with the rental agreement to notify tenants of the possible presence of lead-based paint hazards in rental units and in common areas. (Title 42 U.S. Code § 4852(d))
How to Write a Delaware Lease/Rental Agreement
Use the information below to guide you through writing a Delaware lease agreement.
Step 1 – Fill Out Agreement Date
Write the date of the Lease/Rental Agreement.
Step 2 – Enter Parties’ Information
Provide the name and address of the parties that are signing the agreement. First is the landlord or management company and their current address.
Then write in all tenants and their current address.
Step 3 – Describe Property
Describe the type of rental property such as an apartment or house and provide the full street address of the rental property.
Step 4 – Enter Term of the Lease
Write the term (length) of the lease in months and enter the beginning and end dates of the lease. If the lease is month-to-month, provide the start date of the lease.
Step 5 – Enter Rent Details
Provide the monthly rental amount, the date the rent is due each month and the acceptable payment method(s). Any late fees or grace periods for late payment of rent can be added.
Step 6 – Enter Security Deposit Amount
Write the amount of the security deposit the landlord will collect from the tenant, typically done at the beginning of the lease.
Step 7 – Additional Provisions
Provide additional and optional provisions such as regarding the use of a guarantor, payment of utilities, maintenance and repairs, alterations, or allowance or prohibition of pets, smoking, or sublease.
Step 8 – Signatures
The landlord and tenant(s) will sign and date the lease agreement.
Delaware Lease Agreement Sample
Below is an example of what a Delaware lease agreement looks like.