When a tenant lives in a place that you own, one thing becomes very clear: the property needs both you and your tenant’s help in maintenance and upkeep. Per 25 Del.C. § 5305 and 5503, Delaware has set aside certain responsibilities for both you and your tenant, covered below:

Landlord's Responsibilities

  • comply with all applicable provisions of any state or local statute, code, regulation, or ordinance governing the maintenance, construction, use or appearance of the premises and the property of which it is a part;
  • provide a premises which shall not endanger the health, welfare, or safety of the tenants or occupants and which is fit for the purpose for which it is expressly rented;
  • keep in a clean and sanitary condition all common areas of the buildings, grounds, facilities, and other components which are maintained by Landlord;
  • make all repairs and arrangements necessary to put and keep the premises and its components in as good a condition as they were, or ought by law or agreement to have been, at the commencement of the tenancy;
  • maintain all electrical, plumbing, and other facilities supplied by the landlord in good working order;
  • provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of ashes, rubbish, and garbage and arrange for the frequent removal of such waste; and
  • supply or cause to be supplied, water, hot water, heat, and electricity to the Premises.

Any evidence of your compliance with the applicable building and housing codes will be initial evidence that you’ve complied with these above responsibilities.

Tenant’s Responsibilities

  • comply with all obligations imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of all municipal, county and state codes, regulations, ordinances, and statutes;
  • keep that part of the premises which the tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the conditions of the premises permit;
  • dispose from the rental unit all ashes, rubbish, garbage, and other organic or flammable waste, in a clean and safe manner;
  • keep all plumbing fixtures used by the tenant as clean and safe as their condition permits;
  • use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, and other facilities and appliances in the premises;
  • not willfully or wantonly destroy, deface, damage, repair, or remove any part of the structure or premises or the facilities, equipment or appurtenances thereto, nor permit any person on the premises with the tenant’s permission to do any such thing;
  • not remove or tamper with a properly functioning smoke detector installed by the landlord, including removing any working batteries, so as to render the smoke detector inoperative;
  • not remove or tamper with a properly functioning carbon monoxide detector installed by the landlord, including removing any working batteries, so as to render the carbon monoxide detector inoperative; and
  • comply with all covenants, rules, requirements, and the like which are in accordance with 25 Del.C. §§ 5511 and 5512 and which the landlord can demonstrate are reasonably necessary for the preservation of the property and persons of the landlord, other tenants, or any other person.

In addition, you and your tenant may come to a written agreement that’s separate from the lease that your tenant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, or remodeling if the following provisions apply: the work that is to be performed by the tenant is for the primary benefit of the premises; the work is not necessary to bring a noncomplying rental unit into compliance with a building or housing code, ordinance, or the like; adequate consideration or a reduction of rent is exchanged for your tenant’s promise; and this agreement is entered into with good intentions and is not for the purpose of evading one of your obligations specified above.