Worried that your landlord is snooping around your apartment when you’re not around, especially if you’re on vacation? Wondering if the property manager can just enter your place any time to make a repair that you haven’t requested? What are your rights when it comes to your landlord showing your apartment to prospective tenants when you’re moving out?
Read on to learn tenant rights when it comes to landlord access to your rental unit in Delaware.
When Landlords May Enter a Rental Unit in Delaware
Tenants have a basic right to privacy in their rental homes. That doesn’t mean that landlords always need an invitation to enter. Under Delaware state law (Del. Code Ann. tit. 25, § 5509), landlords can enter rented premise in the following circumstances:
- in case of emergency, such as a fire or serious water leak
- to make needed inspections, repairs and read meters of utility consumption
- if the landlord has reasonable cause to believe the tenant has abandoned the premises
- when reasonably necessary during a tenant’s extended absence, defined as a period of time in excess of seven days (see Del. Code Ann. tit. 25, § 5141(9) and § 5507(b)), or
- to show the property to prospective new tenants, purchasers or contractors.
Notice Required to Enter Rental Property in Delaware
Except in cases of emergency, landlords who want to enter rental property in Delaware for the above reasons must give tenants at least 48 hours’ notice of their intent to enter (unless the tenant agrees to a shorter time), and must enter only at reasonable times (defined as 8:00am to 9:00pm).
Your Legal Rights if Your Landlord Violates Your Privacy in Delaware
Depending on the circumstances, it’s usually best to start by discussing your concerns with your landlord, and follow up with a firm letter asking for the invasive behavior to stop. (See the Nolo article, Tenants’ Rights to Privacy, for advice on the subject.)
If your conciliatory efforts don’t work, and your landlord continues to violate your privacy without notice or legitimate reason, you may be able to sue your landlord in small claims court for money damages, on legal grounds, such as infliction of emotional distress or trespass. For advice on dealing with landlord invasions of privacy, see the Nolo article, Can I Sue my Landlord for Entering my Home Without Notice or Otherwise Invading My Privacy?
More on Tenant Rights in Delaware
For more state-specific information, see the Delaware Renters’ Rights Information section of Nolo. com.