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Delaware Landlord Failure to Deliver Possession of Property

The Delaware Code Title 25 Chapter 53 Section 5304 provides the following rights for a tenant when a landlord fails to deliver possession of a rental property at the start of a lease:

Tenant’s Remedies for Landlord’s Failure to Deliver Possession

(a) If the landlord fails to put the tenant into full possession of the rental unit at the beginning of the agreed term, the rent shall abate during any period the tenant is unable to enter and:

(1) Upon notice to the landlord, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement at any time the tenant is unable to enter into possession; and the landlord shall return all moneys paid to the landlord for the rental unit, including any pre-paid rent, pet deposit and security deposit; and

(2) If such inability to enter is caused wrongfully by the landlord or by anyone with the landlord’s consent or license due to substantial failure to conform to existing building and housing codes, the tenant may recover reasonable expenditures necessary to secure equivalent substitute housing for up to 1 month. In no event shall such expenditures under this subsection exceed the agreed upon rent for 1 month. Such expenditures may be recovered by appropriate action or proceeding or by deduction from the rent upon the submission of receipts for same.

(b) If such inability to enter results from the wrongful occupancy of a holdover tenant and the landlord has not brought an action for summary possession against such holdover tenant, the entering tenant may maintain an action for summary possession against the holdover tenant. The expenses of such proceeding and substitute housing expenditures may be claimed from the rent in the manner specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

Del. Code § 5304.

See also Delaware Tenant May Terminate if Property isn’t Ready.

Return to Delaware Landlord-Tenant Laws.