Delaware Residential
Lease Agreement for
Rental Properties


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Leases are the cornerstone of a successful landlord-tenant relationship, providing a legal framework for both parties to enter a harmonious agreement.

In Delaware, residential lease documents—including their structure, nature, and contents—are regulated by Delaware landlord tenant laws. For this reason, it’s imperative to understand the intricacies of the law before constructing a lease.

This guide will walk you through the crucial components of a residential lease agreement Delaware considers compliant, ensuring you’re well-equipped to make informed decisions. And to make your journey easier, we’re offering a free Delaware lease template for download!

A Delaware lease is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions governing the rental of a residential property within the state. This lease must adhere to Delaware’s landlord-tenant laws, providing a clear framework for both landlords and tenants to follow and fostering a secure and transparent rental environment.

The following components should be included in every Delaware lease agreement. Keep in mind that these components apply primarily to residential lease agreements; a Delaware commercial lease agreement will necessarily have different requirements.

Lease Term

This section specifies the lease’s start and end dates, establishing the duration of the rental agreement for a residential property.


Here, you’ll find details regarding the rent rate, due date, and the status of rent control. In Delaware, there is no statewide rent control. This means landlords can choose their own rental rates based on the current market. However, keep in mind that individual cities or counties in Delaware may have their own regulations or restrictions on the price of rent. Be sure you know which laws apply in your region.

Late Fees

The penalties for missing rent payments should be clearly stated in the rental agreement, as should any exceptions. In Delaware, late fees are limited to 5% of monthly rent (Del. Laws 25 § 5501(d)). Additionally, Delaware has a mandatory grace period of five days. This means late fees can only be enforced after five days have passed since the rent due date. Be sure your Delaware lease agreements clearly describe the late fee policy so that tenants know exactly what will happen if they are late to pay rent.

Security Deposit

This section of the lease includes details about security deposits, including their amount, where they will be stored, and how/when they will be returned.

The maximum or limit for security deposits in Delaware is one month’s rent (Del. Laws 25 § 5514(a)(2)). However, this limit doesn’t apply to furnished units since there is more risk of damage in these cases. Landlords in Delaware can also charge an additional pet deposit of one month’s rent or less.

When the lease ends, Delaware requires landlords to return the security deposit to the tenant (minus any deductions) within 20 days (Del. Laws 25 § 5514(e)).

All Delaware rental agreements should include a thorough explanation of the landlord’s security deposit policy, including the amount of the deposit, how/when it will be returned, and the conditions under which funds may be withheld from it.

Required Disclosures

This section encompasses crucial required disclosures, which are information that must be disclosed to the tenant in the lease before they agree to rent the property. These required disclosures must be included in a residential lease agreement Delaware considers compliant, or else provided to the tenant in a separate written notice.

In Delaware, the required disclosures for lease agreements are:

  • Lead-based paint – Landlords in all 50 states must disclose lead-based paint hazards in rental agreements for most properties built before 1978.
  • Landlord/agent identification – Landlords in Delaware must disclose the name and address of the owner or owner’s agent who manages the rental unit.
  • Summary of landlord-tenant laws – Delaware landlords must provide tenants with a summary of the Delaware Landlord-Tenant Code.
  • Security deposit location – Landlords in Delaware must disclose the location of the tenant’s security deposit.

Landlord Right to Entry

In Delaware, there are specific laws governing when a landlord can enter a rental property. Landlords in this state must provide at least 48 hours’ notice before entering an occupied rental unit for a non-emergency reason, except when the tenant requests repairs (Del. Laws 25 § 5509(b)). Additionally, Delaware landlords can only enter units between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Be sure to include the landlord’s right of entry in every Delaware rental lease agreement.

Repairs & Maintenance

The lease outlines how and when tenants should submit maintenance requests and clarifies the process for addressing necessary repairs. Every Delaware residential lease agreement should specify which maintenance responsibilities are the landlord’s and which are the tenant’s.

Lease Termination/Renewal Procedures

This section details the procedures for early lease termination and breaking the lease, including eviction processes. Specifically, the lease should clearly state how many days’ notice the tenant needs to provide the landlord to announce their intent to either renew or terminate the lease for a Delaware rental property.

A Delaware residential lease agreement should also clearly describe what happens if the tenant breaks the lease. Before filing for eviction in Delaware, landlords must send eviction notices of specified lengths before filing for eviction: A five-day notice to pay or quit for nonpayment, a seven-day notice to cure or quit for lease violations, or an immediate, unconditional notice to quit for severe or harmful violations, like illegal activity. These notice periods should be specified to the tenant so that both parties are clear on what will happen if the tenant fails to uphold the lease agreement.

Community Rules

Any specific community rules or regulations, such as policies on smoking, guests, and pets, are listed in this section. You may also include a Delaware sublease agreement if tenants are permitted to sublease their units.

Joint and Severability Clause

This clause is for leases with multiple roommates and explains the legal consequences if one party fails to fulfill their obligations. It ensures that the entire lease isn’t invalidated due to one roommate’s breach.


Both the landlord and tenant will sign the lease either on paper or electronically, ensuring a secure and convenient process.

Delaware Lease Agreement Download

To make your leasing journey simpler, we offer a free, downloadable Delaware lease agreement. This template is tailored to meet the specific requirements of Delaware state law, making it a valuable tool for landlords and tenants.


Understanding the nuances of a Delaware residential lease agreement is vital for a smooth and legal tenancy. We hope this guide has provided you with a clear understanding of the components of a Delaware lease. To get started on the right foot, download our free Delaware lease template and ensure a transparent, lawful, and satisfying rental experience.