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COVID-19 Information for Delaware

The purpose of this page is to provide apartment industry professionals with an overview of the issues affecting our industry with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The page is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice. This resource is not intended to provide a mandatory standard of care for the industry.

State and Local Affiliates

Please remember to use your state or local apartment association as the primary resource for the most up-to-date information on your responsibilities. Find your local affiliate.

State Legal and Regulatory Information

We highly suggest you contact a local attorney before you decide to initiate an eviction action against a resident in the current environment as overlaying federal, state and county laws or restrictions on the judicial process may apply. This includes: issuing a notice to vacate, initiating any eviction-related action, or assessing fees or penalties on residents for nonpayment of rent or other lease violations. In addition to the below, you can access NAA's statutory information on late fees, eviction laws and other policy issues.

Shelter in Place

Effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020, a “Shelter in Place” order is currently in effect for the state of Delaware through Friday, May 15, 2020. The order covers property management as an essential business in Section Q, line 15. “Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults or children.” This order has now been extended through Sunday, May 31, 2020.

Effective Friday, May 8, 2020, Delaware will be taking interim steps to allow non-essential retail businesses to resume operations with limited occupancy rules and certain safety requirements. 

Phase 1 of Delaware’s economic reopening is scheduled to begin on Monday, June 1, 2020, allowing retail establishments, restaurants and other businesses to open at 30 percent of stated fire capacity with social distancing requirements and other public health guidance in place.

State of Emergency

Governor John Carney declared a state of emergency on March 12.

Eviction

Delaware Justice of the Peace Standing Order 3 Standing Order 4

  • Action: Suspension of eviction proceedings and ejectments ordered and scheduled.
  • Scope: All lease violations.
  • Exceptions: “Forthwith summons applications in landlord-tenant matters involving essential services and/or harm to person or property will be accepted and ruled upon” – “Case by case exceptions to these guidelines may be ordered at the discretion of the Court and with proper notice to all parties.”
  • Duration: Until further notice. A comprehensive standing order related to residential eviction filings will be issued at the expiration of the Governors Executive Order implementing an eviction moratorium.
  • COVID-19 Related Impact Requirement: No.
  • Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes.
  • Additional Commentary: The Justice of the Peace Court has also ordered that all landlord/tenant cases and ordered/scheduled evictions between March 17, 2020 and April 16, 2020 be delayed until after June 1, 2020, with exceptions for "landlord-tenant matters involving essential services and/or harm to persons or property."

Executive Order

  • Action: Governor John Carney issued a comprehensive executive order establishing moratoriums for evictions, foreclosures, and utility shutoffs during the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. The order prevents new filings, tolls deadlines in pending cases until 31 days after the emergency ends, and prevents execution of issued judgments, and prohibits landlords from charging late fees. It also prevents new foreclosure actions, tolls deadlines in ongoing foreclosure cases, and prevents sheriff sales and the execution of writs of possession until 31 days after the emergency ends. 
  • Scope: All lease violations.
  • Exceptions: Summary possession actions based on claims of irreparable harm to person or property.
  • Duration: Through the end of the state of emergency.
  • COVID-19 Related Impact Requirement: No.
  • Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

On March 26, 2020, Gov. Carney and the Delaware State Housing Authority established a $2.5 million Housing Assistance Fund for renters experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

Renters must make 80% below the area median income for their respective county to be eligible and can apply for up to $1,500 in support that will be paid directly to their housing provider or utility provider.

Rent Freeze

No rent freeze is in effect at the state or local level. There is no statute preempting local rent regulation.

Price-Gouging Law

Delaware does not have statutory language regulating price gouging during declarations of emergency.