How long does a landlord have to fix something in Delaware?

How Long Does a Landlord Have to Fix Something in Delaware?

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Last Updated on December 2, 2023 by Kelvin Nielsen

If you’re renting a property in Delaware, you have the right to a safe and habitable living environment. This means that your landlord is responsible for ensuring that the property meets certain health and safety standards.

If something in your rental unit needs to be repaired, you may be wondering how long your landlord has to fix it.

Under Delaware law, landlords are required to make repairs within a reasonable amount of time after receiving written notice from tenants. While there is no specific time frame outlined in the law, 15 days is generally considered to be a reasonable amount of time for most repairs.

However, if the issue is an emergency, such as a broken furnace in the middle of winter, your landlord may be required to make repairs more quickly.

If your landlord fails to make repairs within a reasonable amount of time, you have several options. You may be able to end your lease early, make the repairs yourself and deduct the cost from your rent, or take legal action against your landlord.

It’s important to keep in mind that you must follow the proper legal procedures and give your landlord written notice before taking any of these actions.

Key Takeaways

  • Landlords in Delaware are required to make repairs within a reasonable amount of time after receiving written notice from tenants.
  • 15 days is generally considered to be a reasonable amount of time for most repairs.
  • If your landlord fails to make repairs within a reasonable amount of time, you have several options, including ending your lease early or taking legal action against your landlord.

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Legal Time Frames for Repairs

If you are a tenant in Delaware, you have certain rights when it comes to repairs. Landlords are responsible for maintaining habitable living conditions, and they must make repairs within a reasonable amount of time. However, the time frame for repairs varies depending on the severity of the issue.

Emergency Repairs

If there is an emergency, such as a gas leak or flooding, the landlord must make repairs immediately. According to Delaware law, landlords must provide “hot water, heating, and electricity” at all times.

If these essential utilities are not working, it is considered an emergency, and the landlord must fix the issue within 48 hours of receiving notice from the tenant.

Non-Emergency Repairs

For non-emergency repairs, such as plumbing issues or broken appliances, the landlord has up to 15 days to make the necessary repairs. However, if the landlord fails to make repairs within this time frame, the tenant may be able to take legal action.

It is important to note that tenants must provide written notice to the landlord before taking any legal action. In addition, tenants may be able to withhold rent or make repairs themselves and deduct the cost from their rent, but only if they follow the proper legal procedures.

Overall, as a tenant in Delaware, you have the right to live in a safe and habitable environment. If your landlord fails to make necessary repairs within the legal time frames, you have options for seeking a resolution.

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Tenant’s Rights and Landlord’s Responsibilities

As a tenant in Delaware, you have certain rights and protections under the Residential Landlord-Tenant Code. Your landlord has a legal obligation to provide you with a safe and habitable living environment. If your landlord fails to fulfill their responsibilities, you have several options to protect your rights.

Withholding Rent

If your landlord fails to make necessary repairs, you may be able to withhold rent until the repairs are made. However, you must follow the proper procedures, which include providing your landlord with a written notice of the problem and giving them a reasonable amount of time to fix it.

You can withhold up to $400 or 1/2 of the monthly rent, whichever is greater, until the repairs are completed.

Repair and Deduct

Another option available to you is the repair and deduct method. This allows you to make necessary repairs yourself and deduct the cost from your rent. However, you must follow certain procedures, such as providing your landlord with a written notice of the problem and giving them a reasonable amount of time to fix it. You can only deduct up to $400 or 1/2 of the monthly rent, whichever is greater.

Landlord Retaliation

Your landlord cannot retaliate against you for exercising your rights as a tenant. For example, they cannot raise your rent, evict you, or decrease services because you made a complaint or took legal action.

If you believe your landlord is retaliating against you, you should document the situation and contact an attorney.

Remember, it is important to keep copies of all receipts and written notices in case you need to prove your case in court. If you have any questions about your rights or your landlord’s responsibilities, you should contact an attorney or a tenant advocacy group for assistance.

Disclosure: The content herein isn’t a substitute for advice from a professional attorney. It’s only meant to serve educational purposes. If you have a specific question, kindly seek expert attorney services.

Sources: Delaware Human Relations Commission,  Residential Landlord-Tenant Code

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