Senate Bill 1
152nd General Assembly (Present)
Adopted in Lieu of original; takes status of original
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 25 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD-TENANT CODE.
This Act creates a right to representation for tenants in evictions and other landlord-tenant actions. The disruptive displacement that accompanies eviction proceedings creates significant costs for state and local government related to shelter funding, education funding, health care provided in hospitals instead of community-based providers, transportation costs for homeless youth, and foster care. Evictions and disruptive displacement also have significant, well-documented, and long-lasting effects on the lives of individuals and families, including poorer physical and mental health, increased risk of homelessness, increased risk of employment loss, loss of personal property, damage to credit standing, and relocation into substandard housing. Further, evictions fall disproportionately on Black and Latinx families, who have also been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Section 1 of this Act establishes a right to representation for evictions and other landlord-tenant actions for covered individuals with household incomes below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. The Attorney General shall contract with legal services providers for the provision of representation in proceedings covered by this Act. The Right to Representation Coordinator will manage the contracts and work with community organizations to do outreach and education regarding the right to representation. Section 1 of this Act requires landlords to provide notice of the right to representation at periodic designated intervals in the tenancy and in eviction proceedings. Section 2 of this Act authorizes the creation of a residential eviction diversion program modeled after the Superior Court’s Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program. Section 3 of this Act is a severability clause. Section 4 of this Act makes Sections 1 and 6 effective 120 days after the Act's enactment. Section 5 of this Act makes Section 2 of this Act contingent on funding. Section 6 requires the Coordinator to provide the General Assembly with a copy of the first annual report required under § 5605 of Title 25, as contained in this Act, to determine if additional funding is needed to address the fiscal impact of the Act on the Justice of the Peace Court.
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Takes effect upon being signed into law