When you are done reading about the Delaware Eviction Process below, we recommend you purchase the corresponding Delaware Eviction Notice to be delivered to your Tenant.
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Delaware Eviction Laws
Eviction in Delaware is called “Summary Possession.” The laws in Delaware regarding Eviction are found in the Delaware Residential Landlord Tenant Code, which is found in Part III of Title 25 of Delaware Code. It is important to learn these Delaware Eviction Laws if you are a landlord in Delaware, because it is only a matter of time until you will need to use them!
Reasons to Evict in Delaware
There are a few different reasons that a landlord in Delaware can evict a tenant. The most common reason for eviction in Delaware is non-payment of rent. Another common reason is when the tenant does not leave at the end of their lease (assuming the landlord gave the required 60 day notice before the end of their lease). Breach of some obligation, or breaking the terms of the lease is another common reason for eviction. A more rare reason for eviction in Delaware, which does not require any notice, is where the tenant is convicted of crime that causes or may cause harm to a person or property.
Delaware Eviction Notice
The first Step in the Delaware Eviction Process is serving the tenant with a Delaware Eviction Notice. Depending on the reason for the eviction, there are different time periods for the Delaware Eviction Notice:
If the landlord is evicting for non-payment of rent, the Eviction Notice needs to give the tenant 5 business days to pay the rent. These 5 days begin from when the notice is mailed or delivered, and these days do not include weekends (so if the notice is delivered on a Friday, the deadline is the following Friday). If the landlord is evicting someone from a manufactured home for non-payment of rent, the landlord must give the tenant 7 days.
If the landlord is evicting for breaching the terms of the lease (rule violations), the landlord must give the tenant 7 days to cure the problem before the eviction case is filed (10 days for mobile homes).
If the landlord wants to terminate a rental agreement at the end of that lease, or terminate a month to month agreement, the landlord needs to give a 60 day notice (the 60 day period begins on the 1st day of the month following the day notice was given).
If the landlord needs to evict a tenant that has committed a crime that causes or may cause harm to person or property, no advance notice is required.
File the Action for Possession (Eviction Case)
After the landlord has given the notice and waited the correct amount of time, the next step in the Delaware Eviction Process is actually filing the Eviction Lawsuit, called an “Action for Possession.” The landlord should file this eviction case in the Justice of the Peace court that is closest to the rental property. The case will start when the landlord files a “Complaint” with the court and pays the filing fee. The landlord should check with the local court to see if there is a specific form to use. The court clerk will then set a trial date and issue a “Summons.” The summons will be delivered to the tenant by the constable, and will tell the tenant that they have been sued and need to appear for trial. The court may notify the landlord by mail when this trial date is.
If the tenant does not answer the Summons and Complaint by the deadline, then the landlord wins the case automatically. This is called a “Default Judgment.”
At the trial, the landlord should bring all evidence necessary to win the case against the tenant. This includes rent receipts, photographs, witnesses, copies of the lease and the eviction notice, etc. The landlord and the tenant will have their opportunity to tell their side to the judge. At the end, the judge will make a ruling. The court may order losing party to pay court costs, but not the other side’s attorney fees. If the judge rules for the landlord, the tenant will usually have 10 days to leave the property.
Either the landlord or the tenant may appeal the court’s decision within 5 days. There is a $50 appeal fee to do this.
Writ of Possession
The last step of the Delaware Eviction Process is the landlord getting a “Writ of Possession.” This is only necessary if the tenant has not moved out after 10 days has passed from the court’s judgment. The landlord will have to pay a $35.00 fee, and the constable will serve the Writ on the tenant giving them 24 hours to vacate or else be physically removed from the property.
Next Step: We recommend you purchase the corresponding Delaware Eviction Notice to be delivered to your Tenant.
This site strives to have the most current information on state eviction laws and forms, however, legislatures and judges’ rulings are always changing the laws. The information on this site is to be used as a guide, and is not to be used as legal advice, or as a substitute for the advice of an attorney. If you believe any information on this site is incorrect or needs to be updated, please Contact Us immediately.