If you are being evicted in the state of Delaware, you may not know how to proceed. Learning about the eviction process in Delaware can help you understand your rights and options under the law. After reading this guide, you will understand the steps involved in the eviction process in Delaware and how long each step will take.
When your landlord has a reason to evict you, the first step in the eviction process in Delaware is for the landlord serves you an eviction notice. Your eviction notice will give you a certain amount of time to either fix a problem or leave the premises. If you have not paid rent, your eviction notice will give you five full business days to pay (unless you live in a mobile home, in which case the eviction process in Delaware requires landlords to give you 7 days).
If your landlord wants to evict you because you have violated some other term of the lease agreement, your landlord will give you 7 days (10 days in a manufactured home) to cure the breach in your lease agreement—for instance, by re-homing a pet that was illegally living in your residence.
Only one type of eviction can be done without notice: if a tenant has committed a crime that causes harm to someone or to the apartment, the landlord can file for eviction immediately.
Court Filings and Hearings
The next step in the eviction process in Delaware happens only if you don't correct the breach of your lease. If you do not respond satisfactorily to the eviction notice in the specified time period, your landlord can take you to court.
Your landlord will begin the court proceedings by filing a summons and complaint with the local courthouse. Then, the eviction process in Delaware requires that your landlord serve you with a copy of the same summons and complaint. These documents will give you a date for a hearing, at which you and your landlord can tell your sides of the story to a housing mediator or judge. If you choose not to attend the hearing, this is an option, but your landlord will win the lawsuit by default and be able to have you removed from the property.
If your landlord has broken terms of your lease, you may be able to win at your eviction proceedings. Consulting with a landlord/tenant lawyer will help you to understand your rights and the chances that you could win at the hearing.
Writ of Restitution
If you lose an eviction suit, the court will issue a writ of restitution to your landlord. This writ specifies a time during which you must vacate the property. If you vacate within the number of days specified, you will not be forcibly removed. Forcible removal will only occur if you don't vacate by the time specified in the writ.
Your landlord is not allowed to use so-called “self-help measures” in the eviction process in Delaware. This means that your landlord cannot turn off your utilities or change your locks. Only the sheriff can forcibly remove you from your home after you have gone through the legal eviction process in Delaware.