Delaware General Assembly






BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend Chapter 70, Part IV title 25 of the Delaware Code by striking said Chapter 70 in Its entirety, and substituting in lieu thereof the following:


§7001. Purposes and policies; enforceability

(a) This Chapter shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes and policies. The underlying purposes and policies of this Chapter are:

(1) To clarify and establish the law governing the rental of mobile homes and mobile home lots, as well as the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants.

(2) To encourage landlords and tenants to maintain and improve the quality of life in manufactured housing communities.

(b) This Chapter shall regulate and determine legal rights, remedies and obligations of the parties to any rental agreement or lease of a mobile home or mobile home lot in a mobile home park containing 2 or more mobile homes within this State, wherever executed, not covered by any county or municipal code or other State law. Any agreement, whether written or oral, shall be unenforceable insofar as the agreement or any provisions thereof conflicts with this Chapter and is not expressly authorized herein.

§7002. Jurisdiction

(a) Any person, whether or not a citizen or resident of this State, who owns, holds an ownership or beneficial Interest in, uses, manages, or possesses real estate situated in this State submits himself or his personal representatives to the jurisdiction of the courts of this State as to any action Proceeding for the enforcement of an obligation arising under this Chapter.

(b) A Luminary proceeding to recover the possession of premises, pursuant to Chapter 57 of this Title, may be maintained in Justice of the Peace Court in the county where the property is located.

§7003. Definitions

Unless otherwise expressly stated, where terms are not defined under the provisions of this Chapter, they shall have ascribed to them their ordinarily accepted meanings, or such u the context may herein imply. For the purposes of this Chapter, the following definitions shall apply:

(I) 'Landlord.' The owner of the rental unit or the property of which it is a part, or the owner of a mobile home lot to whom a tenant pays rent in exchange for placing and residing in a mobile home owned by the tenant on such lot, and in addition any person authorized to exercise any aspect of the management of the premises, including any person who, directly or indirectly, receives rents, and who has no obligation to deliver the whole of such receipts to another person.

(2) 'Mobile home.' A manufactured home, transportable in one or more sections, which, in the traveling mode, is 8 body feet or more in width and 40 body feet or more in length, or when erected on site, is 320 or more square feet. U Is built on a permanent chassis, designed to be used as a year round dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities, and if manufactured since June 15, 1976, has been built in accordance with the National Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards.

(3) 'Mobile home park.' A manufactured housing community or any area or tract of land where 2 or more mobile homes are rented or held out for rent for human habitation, or where 2 or more mobile home lots are rented or held out for rent to accommodate mobile homes used for human habitation.

(4) 'Owner.' One or more persons, jointly or severally, in whom is vested all or part of the legal title to property, part or aU of the beneficial ownership, and a right to present use and enjoyment of the property.

(5) 'Person.' Any legal entity, including, but not limited to the following: An individual, firm, partnership. association, trust. joint stock company. corporation, or successor of any of the foregoing.

(6) 'Premises.' A lot, plot or parcel of land including the buildings, structures and/or mobile homes thereon.

(7) 'Recreational camper or travel trailer.' A motor vehicle or structure which can be towed by a motor vehicle and which is used either for temporary shelter, recreational or camping purposes, but not wed or designed as a permanent dwelling unit.

(8) 'Rent.' Any money or other consideration given for the right of use, possession and occupation of property.

(9) 'Rubbish and garbage.' Combustible and noncombustible waste materials, the animal and vegetable waste resulting for the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food, useless and tuistored paper, rags, cartons, boxes, wood, rubber, leather, cans, metals, glass, crockery and other similar material.

(10) 'Tenant.' Any person who occupies a mobile home rental unit for dwelling purposes or a lot on which he places a mobile home for an agreed upon consideration. (25 Del. C. 1953, §7003: 58 Del. Laws, c. 286; 58 Del. Laws, c. 472, S4.)

§7004. Duties of Landlord

(a) No person may offer a mobile home or lot in a mobile home park for rent without delivering a copy of the rental agreement which must be executed before the lessee can occupy the leased premises. No person may move a mobile home into a mobile home park or personal belongings into a mobile home in this State until a written rental agreement has been signed by the lessee and the lessor. Before a current or prospective tenant signs a rental agreement or occupies the premiese the landlord shall:

(I) Deliver a copy of the rules or regulations of the mobile home community.

(2) Deliver a copy of this chapter to the tenant who shall sign a receipt therefor.

(3) DeUver a copy of the rental agreement which shall contain the following:

a. A specific identification of the site to be leased;

b. A stipulation of the total amount of annual rental for the site;

c. A stipulation of the term of payment, whether monthly. quarterly, semiannually, or annually:

d. The amount due for each installment;

e. The amount of any late payment fee;

f. All fees, in a manner that identifies the service to be provided for each fee;

g. A description of each service, facility, and utility service that the landlord will provide; which clearly identifies the availability, capacity, and connection fee for all utility services at the proposed site in order to assure the proper and adequate installation of utilities and of the mobile home;

h. A description of any termination and renewal option;

between the tenant and landlord.

(b) No person shall offer for occupancy for rent any mobile home which does not conform to the requirements of sanitation, housing. building and health codes of the State or of the county in which the mobile home is located or any such codes or regulations which shall be promulgated hereafter.

(c) No persons shall offer for rent any lot in a mobile home park which does not conform to the applicable state, county or municipal statutes, ordinances or regulations under which said mobile home park was created or under which said mobile home park currently exists lawfully.

(d) A violation of subsections (b) and (c) of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $500 or 30 days in jail.

§7005. Exemptions

(a) No mobile home park operated by the State or the federal government on parkland owned by either, and no mobile home park operated solely for the use of recreational campers or travel trailers shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter.

(b) The rental of a recreational camper motor home, travel trailer or the rental of ground on which such a vehicle is placed. including any facilities or utilities thereon. is exempted from any and all requirements of this Chapter. and nothing in this Chapter shall be construed as determining. regulating, or governing the legal rights of parties to any lease or rental of such vehicles or the ground on which they are situated.

§7006. Rental agreement

(a) If only the lot is rented, a landlord shall offer all current and prospective tenants a rental agreement for a term of:

(I) One year; or

(2) A lesser period as the tenant may request; or

(3) A longer period as mutually agreed upon by the parties.

(b) Upon the expiration of the initial term, the rental agreement shall be automatically renewed for the same term as the original agreement subject to modified provisions relating to the amount and payment of rent, unless:

(I) The tenant shall notify the landlord in writing a minimum of 60 days prior to the expiration of the rental agreement that he does not intend to renew it: or

(2) A shorter or longer term is agreed to by the parties; or

(3) The landlord shall notify the tenant In writing a minimum of 60 days prior to the expiration of the rental agreement that it will not be renewed.

(c) If both the lot and the home are rented, a landlord may offer all current and prospective residents a rental agreement. for a term of any duration not longer than a I year term. Upon the expiration of the initial term the rental agreement shall convert to or continue for a month to month term, subject to modified provisions relating to the amount and payment of rent, unless.

(I) Either party delivers written notice a minimum of 60 days prior to the expiration of the rental agreement that it will not be renewed; or

(2) A shorter or longer term is agreed to by the parties. §7007. Prohibited contents of a rental- agreement

(a) A rental agreement shall not contain:

(I) A provision whereby the tenant authorizes any person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the rental agreement.

(2) A provision whereby the tenant agrees to waive or to forego any right or remedy provided by applicable law.

(3) Any provision whereby the tenant waives his right to a Jury trial.

(4) Any provision authorizing the landlord to take possession of the leased premises, or the tenant's personal property therein unless the rental agreement has been terminated by action of the parties or by operation of law, and such personal property has been abandoned by the mobile home tenant without the benefit of formal legal process.

(5) Any provision which permits the landlord to collect a penalty fee for late payment of rent without allowing the tenant a minimum of 5 days, beyond the date the rent is due, in which to remit:

(6) Any provision which permits the landlord to charge, for late payment of rent, a penalty fee in excess of 5% of the total lot rent due or 4% of the total rent due for the mobile home and lot:

(7) Any provision allowing the landlord to charge an amount in excess of I month's rent for a security deposit or to retain the security deposit upon terminaton of the lease if the tenant has paid his rent In full as of the date of termination and has caused no damage to the landlord's property.

(8) Any provision which prohibits the tenant from terminating the rental agreement upon 30 days notice whenever a change in the location of the tenant's employment requires a change in the location of his residence, except that nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent a tenant who is a member of the armed forces of the United States from terminating a lease with less than 30 days notice to his landlord if he receives reassignment orders which do not allow such prior notification.

(9) A waiver of any cause of action against, or indemnification from the landlord by the tenant for any injury or harm caused to the tenant, his family, his guests or his property or the property of his family or his guests resulting from any negligence of the landlord, his agents, or his assigns in the maintenance of the premises;

(10) Any provision which denies to the tenant the right to treat a continuing substantial violation by the landlord of any agreement or duty protecting the health, welfare, or safety of the tenants or occupants, which is set forth in the rental agreement, or which otherwise binds the landlord as a matter of law, as a constructive or actual eviction, which would otherwise permit the tenant to terminate the lease and to Immediately cease payments thereunder. provided that the landlord fails to correct the condition giving rise to the violation or fails to cease the violation within a reasonable time after written notice is given by the tenant by registered mail.

§7008. Fees

(a) A landlord may increase a fee only if he delivers to the tenant a written notice describing the increase at least 60 days prior to the effective date of the fee increase.

(b) If a landlord fails to so notify a tenant of a fee increase, he may not collect from the tenant the increased amount of the fee.

(c) An entrance or exit fee is prohibited. An entrance fee is defined as any fee in excess of fity dollars charged to a tenant prior to the tenant's occupany of the leased premises, including an application fee, except those fees for utilities. direct services actually rendered, or the use of facilities which must be identified and described in the rental agreement or a separate notice pursuant to subsection 7004 of this chapter.

(d) A landlord may charge a late payment fee if:

(I) The rent is not paid within 5 days after the due date specified in the rental agreement. (2) The rental agreement provides for the fee.

(e) A landlord may charge the tenant a reasonable service fee, based on the amount that the landlord directly incurs for installing, placing. or removing a mobile home from the site. Such a fee for services actually rendered shall be listed In the rental agreement.

(f) A landlord shall provide to a tenant on request a written receipt for any fee or other financial transaction between the landlord and tenant.

§7009. Termination of rental agreement by tenant

(a) The tenant may, on written notice to the landlord, terminate the rental agreement and vacate the premises at any time during the first month of occupancy, if the landlord substantially falls to conform to the rental agreement, or if there is a material non-compliance with any code, statute, ordinance or regulation governing the operation of a mobile home park or the maintenance of the premises. The tenant shall retain the right to terminate beyond the first month of occupancy, so long as he remains in possession in reliance on a written promise by the landlord to correct all or any part of the condition or conditions which would Justify termination by the tenant under this section.

(b) If there exists any condition which deprives the tenant of a substantial part of the benefit and enjoyment of his bargain, the tenant may notify the landlord in writing of the condition, and if the landlord does not remedy the condition within 15 days, the tenant may terminate the rental agcement. Such notice need not be given where the condition renders the mobile home uninhabitable or poses an imminent threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the tenant.

(c) The tenant may not terminate the rental agreement for a condition caused by want of due care of the tenant, a member of his family, or any other person on the premises with his consent.

(d) If the condition referred to above was caused willfully or negligently by the landlord, the tenant may recover any damages sustained as a result of the condition including, but not limited to, reasonable expenditures necessary to obtain adequate substitute housing while the mobile home is uninhabitable.

§7010. Termination of rental agreement by landlord

(a) The landlord may not terminate a rental agreement before it expires without due cause. Due cause means:

(I) Substantial noncompliance with any provision of the rental agreement.

(2) Nonpayment of rent.

(3) Clear and convincing evidence that the tenant has violated the rules and regulations of the mobile home park or any provision of this Chapter.

(4) Change in use of land.

(b) The landlord shall specify the reason or reasons for the termination of the rental agreement. The reason or reasons relied on for the termination shall be delivered in writing to the tenant with specific facts so that the date, place, and circumstances concerning the reason or reasons for termination can be determined. Reference to or recital of the language of this Chapter is not sufficient compliance with this section.

(c) The landlord's right to terminate or, if only the lot is rented, refuse to renew a rental agreement does not arise until the landlord has complied with subsection (d), (e) (g) of this section.

(d) If the tenant breaches any rule or provision which is material to the rental agreement, the landlord shall notify the tenant of his breach and must allow 10 days after such notice for the remedy or correction of such breach. Such notice shall substantially specify the acts or omissions constituting the breach and advise the tenant that if the violation continues after not less than 10 days after receipt of said notice, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement.

(c) A landlord may, at any time after rent is overdue longer than 5 days, demand payment, thereof and notify the tenant in writing that unless payment Is made within 5 days after written notice by the landlord, the rental agreement will be terminated. If the tenant remains in default. the landlord may thereafter terminate the rental agreement and bring any proper legal action or suit for recovery of rent due and bring a summary proceeding for possession of the premises.

(f) A landlord may bring an action for rent along at any time after he has demanded payment of past due rent and notified the tenant of his intentions to bring such an action.

(g) If a change is intended In the use of land on which a mobile home park or a portion of a mobile home park is located and the landlord intends to terminate a rental agreement or to evict a mobile home tenant due to the land use change, the landlord shall notify all tenants In the park In writing that:

(1) The land use change may subsequently result in the termination of a rental agreement.

(2) The tenant being terminated due to the land use change will receive written notice no less than 180 days before the actual termination of the rental agreement.

(1) The landlord shall provide 180 days notice before the actual termination of a rental agreement due to a change in land use.

(1) For the purposes of this chapter, change in use of the land does not include any land use change which is contemplated by Chapter 71, Title 25.

§7011. Holdover remedies after rental agreement expires

(a) Whenever the term of the rental agreement expires, If the tenant continues in possession of the premises after the date of termination of the rental agreement without the landlord's consent, the landlord may bring an action for possession and if the tenant's holdover is willful and not in good faith, the landlord in addition may recover from the tenant an amount equal to double the periodic rent under the previous agreement, computed and prorated on a daily basis, for each day the tenant remains in Possession.

§7012. Effect of unsigned rental agreement

(a) If the landlord does not sign a written rental agreement which has been signed and tendered to him by the tenant, acceptance of rent without reservation by the landlord shall give to the rental agreement the same effect u If it had been signed by the landlord.

(b) If the tenant does not sign a rental agreement which has been signed and tendered to him by the landlord, acceptance of possession and payment of rent without reservation shall give to the rental agreement the same effect as if it had been signed by the tenant. No person serving in the Armed Forces of the United States shall be required under any condition to sign or become obligated under any lease which requires that he provide more than 2 weeks advance notice to the landlord of his intention to terminate the rental agreement in the event that his military orders for reassignment do not provide him with more than 2 weeks notice of transfer.

(c) Where the rental agreement which is given effect by the operation of this section provides by its terms for a term longer than 1 year, it shall operate to create only a 1 year term.

§7013. Security deposit

(a) If a rental agreement requires the tenant to provide any deposit to the landlord, to be held for the term of the rental agreement, or any part thereof, said deposit shall be considered a security deposit. Security deposits shall be returned in full to the tenant provided that the tenant has paid all rent due in full for the term of the rental agreement, has caused no actual damages to the leased premises, and has left the lot clean and free of debris. If the landlord has not returned the security deposit to the tenant prior to the termination of the rental agreement, within 15 days of the termination or expiration of the rental agreement, the landlord shall provide the tenant with an itemized list of damages to the premises and the estimated cost of repair of each. With the list the landlord shall tender payment for the difference between the security deposit and the estimated cost of repair of damages to the premises. The tenant's acceptance of this payment shall constitute agreement on the damages as specified by the landlord.

(b) Failure by the landlord to provide a list of damages and tender the remainder of the tenant's deposit within 15 days shall constitute agreement by the landlord that no damages are due and he shall immediately remit to the tenant the full amount of the security deposit. FaUure to provide a forwarding address to the landlord prior to or upon termination of the lease shall relieve the lessor of his responsibilities under this Section.

§7014. Provisions of mobile home park rental agreements

(a) Any rental agreement or lease hereafter executed or currently existing between a landlord and tenant in a mobile home park in this State shall contain, or shall be made to contain, the following provisions:

(1) The landlord shall agree all times during the tenancy to:

a. Maintain the premises and regrade them when necessary to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water thereon, and to prevent the detrimental effects of moving water;

b. Maintain the premises in such a manner to protect the health and safety of the occupants or tenants including maintaining the ground at a level such that the mobile home will not tilt from its original position:

c. Keep each lot area in the park marked in such a way that each tenant will be certain of his area of responsibility;

d. Keep all exterior property areas not in possession of a tenant, but part of the mobile home park property, free of species of weeds or plan growth which are noxious or detrimental to the health of the tenants;

c. Be responsible for the extermination of insects, rodents, vermin or other Pests dangerous to the health of the tenants whenever infestation exists in the exterior areas of the park or in the interior of a mobile home if such infestation is not the fault of the tenant, and particularly if such infestation existed prior to the occupancy of the tenant claiming relief;

f. Maintain, in a rental mobile home, a dwelling which is structurally sound and impervious to the effects of weather, other than a hurricane or tornado wind of 50 miles per hour or more, cyclone, flood, earthquake, severe hailstorm, lightning, or any other such condition which might reasonably be considered beyond the control of the landlord;

g. Maintain all electrical, plumbing, gas, septic systems or other utilities provided by him in good working condition with the exception of emergencies, after which repairs must be completed within 48 hours or due cause must be shown why such repairs are not immediately possible.

h. Specify In the rental agreement whether septic systems are to be maintained by the landlord or maintained by the tenant;

i. Maintain all water lines and connections and all sewage lines and connections provided by him in good working order, for the provision of such services of a temporary basis;

j. Respect the privacy of tenants and if only the lot is rented, agree not to enter the mobile home without the permission of the mobile home owner, unless emergency circumstances exist which threaten life or property; or if the mobile home is the property of the landlord, to enter only after a minimum of 24 hours notice:

k. Allow all tenants freedom of choice in the purchase of services such as laundry, milk, or any such other services desired by the tenant, except that no mobile home park may be required to allow service vehicles in the park in such numbers and with such frequency that a danger is created for pedestrian traffic in the park; and

1. Maintain all roads within the mobile home park in good condition, providing adequate space for parking 2 cars for each mobile home which does not block traffic on any road, and be responsible for damage to any vehicle which Is the direct result of unrepaired or poorly maintained access roads within the mobile home park.

(2) The tenant shall agree at all times during the tenancy to:

a. Keep the mobile home unit, if he rents such, or the exterior premises, if he rents the lot, in a clean and sanitary condition, free of garbage and rubbish;

b. Refrain from the storage of more than I motor vehicle for a period in excess of I month, when such vehicle is in a state of disrepair and therefore Is incapable of being moved under its own power, and refrain from the storage of any building material, furniture, or similar items on the exterior premises when such items are unusable;

c. Keep the supplied basic facilities, including plumbing fixtures, cooking, and refrigeration equipment, and electrical fixtures in a rented mobile home unit in a clean and sanitary condition and be responsible for the exercise of reasonable care in their proper use and operation;

d. Dispose from his mobile home all rubbish, garbage, and other waste materials in a clean and sanitary manner as shall be spelled out in the agreement;

e. Abide by all reasonable rules and regulations concerning his use, occupation, and maintenance, of the premises, if such obligations are brought to his attention at the time he signs the rental agreement.

(3) No party other than the lessee, sublessee or the state of a deceased lessee or sublessee of a mobile home lot shall be responsible to the landlord for payment of rent under the terms of any rental agreement, and the landlord shall not be entitled to remittance on the part of any seller of or mortgagee of a mobile home for rents not paid by the tenant and not collectable from the tenant due to his permanently vacating his mobile home without notice to the landlord or mortgagee and leaving no forwarding address.

§7015. Rules and regulations

(a) Landlord may promulgate and prescribe written, reasonable rules and regulations related to the order, peace, health, safety, and welfare of the tenants, to promote the orderly and efficient operation of the mobile home park, and to preserve the landlord's property from abuse.

(b) A landlord may promulgate and prescribe written, reasonable standards for the mobile homes to be placed or sold in the mobile home park as to size, quality, appearance, material specification, construction, and safety conditions.

(c) A landlord may not promulgate standard in which the age of the mobile home is the exclusive or dominant criterion prohibiting a mobile home from being sold in the park or retained in the park after the sale is consummated.

(d) All standards for the sale or placement of mobile homes in a mobile home park shall be fair and apply uniformly to all tenants.

(e) A landlord may amend existing rules and regulations at any time, but an amendment to a rule or regulation is not effective until the latter of:

(1) The date specified on the amendment; or

(2) 60 days after the landlord delivers to the tenant written notice of the amendment. §7016. Rent increases

The landlord shall give a minimum of 60 days written notice prior to the expiration of the rental agreement of any increase in the rent payable by the tenant. If only the lot is rented. the tenant's rent may not be increased more than once during any 12 month period, regardless of the term of tenancy or the term of the rental agreement.

§7017. Lease transfer

(a) The rental agreement or lease for a mobile home lot shall be transferable at any time during the term of the rental agreement from the tenant who owns his mobile home unit to any person to whom he may sell or transfer title to his mobile home, unless the home does not quality for sale according to written standards promulgated pursuant to Section 7015 of this Chapter. The landlord shall have the right to reject the proposed new lessee on the same basis by which he accepts or rejects any new tenant. The proposed new lessee shall not be rejected, however, without a written statement as to the cause for such action being given to the proposed new lessee.

(b) Failure on the part of the original lessee to notify the landlord in writing 3 weeks prior to the transfer of the lease or a transfer of title to his mobile home and transfer of the lease to a new lessee, giving the name and address of the new lessee in the notice, shall be grounds for termination of the lease by the landlord.

§7018. Retaliatory evictions prohibited

(a) The following actions on the part of the tenant shall not constitute grounds for eviction or termination of the lease:

(1) Filing a complaint with any state, county, or local governmental official regarding any violation by the landlord of this chapter or any housing, health, building, sanitation, or other applicable statute or regulation;

(2) Requesting the landlord to honor his obligations and responsibilities under the terms of this chapter or any housing, health, building, sanitation or other applicable statute or regulation of the State, county of municipality of jurisdiction;

(3) Filing of a suit against the owner or landlord for any reason; and

(4) Withholding payment of rent while seeking relief for the failure of the landlord to carry out his duties or honor his obligations to the tenant as set out in the rental agreement, provided that the tenant can produce evidence to an officer of the State Division of Public Health, the Division of Housing, the Division of Consumer Affairs, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the county or municipal housing code enforcement agency, or an officer of any court if one is called in by the landlord, that a breach of the lease or any State, county, or municipal regulation governing mobile home parks on the part of the landlord has actually occurred and that the tenant is able to remit the total amount of rent due upon compliance by the landlord.

(b) Harassment of a tenant in the form of interruption of services, invasions of privacy or similar means in retaliation for any of the above actions shall constitute grounds for a civil suit for damages by the tenant against the landlord.

§7019. Delivery of written notice

(a) Any notice required by this Chapter shall be served either personally upon the tenant or on the landlord or upon the tenant by leaving a copy thereof at his dwelling place with an adult person residing therein and upon the landlord by leaving a copy thereof at his dwelling place with an adult person residing therein or with an agent or other person in the employ of the landlord whose responsibility it is to accept such notice. If the landlord is a corporation, firm or unincorporated association, services of the notice may be made by leaving a copy thereof at its office or place of business with an agent authorized by appointment to accept such notice or by law to receive service of process; or

(b) Any notice required by this Chapter may be sent by registered or certified mall, postpaid, to the tenant at the leased premises, or to the landlord at his last known dwelling place. or at his last known office or place of business. The return receipt, signed or unsigned in case of a notice sent by registered or certified mail, shall be held and considered as prima facie evidence of the service of such notice.

§7020. Enforcement

To the extent that a violation of this chapter affects a tenant or a prospective tenant, that violation shall be within the scope of the forcement duties and powers of the State Division of Consumer Affairs, as described in 29 Del. C. §8612 (b) (1)."

Section 2. This Act shall become effective January 1, 1987.

Approved July 7, 1986.