Del. Code tit. 25 § 5719

Current through 2021 Legislative Session Act 249
Section 5719 - Landlord regaining possession of residential rental unit upon the death of a deceased sole tenant
(a) Possession of a residential rental unit upon the death of a sole tenant shall be returned to the landlord without an action for summary possession if:
(1) an affiant or personal representative of the deceased sole tenant's estate presents the landlord with valid documentation issued by the Register of Wills evidencing such representation pursuant to Title 12, in which case the landlord shall allow the affiant or personal representative access to the residential rental unit of the deceased sole tenant to remove the deceased sole tenant's belongings, and
(2) an affiant or personal representative informs the landlord that further access to the deceased sole tenant's residential rental unit is not needed by the affiant or personal representative and/or their agents or 30 days have elapsed since the death of the deceased sole tenant and the affiant or personal representative has not provided the landlord written notice that access to the deceased sole tenant's residential rental unit is still needed by the affiant or personal representative and/or their agents.
(b) If an affiant or personal representative of the deceased sole tenant's estate presents the landlord with valid documentation issued by the Register of Wills evidencing such representation pursuant to Title 12, the landlord still retains the right to initiate at any time an action for summary possession and/or monies due, in which case the landlord shall bring the action against the estate of the deceased sole tenant and serve the complaint upon the affiant or personal representative at the address provided by the affiant or personal representative and, if no such good address is provided, then to serve the complaint upon the Register of Wills in the county in which the residential rental unit is located. If an affiant or personal representative of the deceased sole tenant's estate does not present the landlord with valid documentation issued by the Register of Wills evidencing such representation pursuant to Title 12, the landlord must serve the Register of Wills in the county in which the residential unit is located in order to bring an action for summary possession to obtain possession of the residential rental unit and monies due, if any. Anytime the Register of Wills is to be served as a registered agent for an estate, prior to initiating the action, the landlord must place a notice of such action in a paper that is circulated in the county in which the residential rental unit is located. The notice must identify: the name of the landlord; the name of the deceased sole tenant; the residential rental unit address; the type of action to be brought; the court in which such action will be brought; and the amount of the claim, if any.
(c) If at the time of the execution of the writ of possession there is still property inside the deceased sole tenant's residential rental unit that does not belong to the landlord then the landlord shall have the right to immediately remove and store such property for a period of 7 days, at the expense of the estate of the deceased sole tenant. If at the end of such period, a representative of the estate, who has valid documentation of such representation issued by the Register of Wills pursuant to Title 12, has failed to claim said property and reimburse the landlord for the reasonable expenses of removal and storage, such property shall be deemed abandoned and may be disposed of by the landlord without further notice or obligation to any party. Upon rendering a final judgment for plaintiff, but in no case prior to the expiration of the time for the filing of an appeal or motion to vacate or open the judgment, the court shall issue a writ of possession directed to the constable or the sheriff of the county in which the property is located, describing the property and commanding the officer to remove all persons and put the plaintiff into full possession.
(d) If the landlord is not entitled to all or any portion of the security deposit, the landlord shall remit the security deposit within 20 days of receiving possession of the residential rental unit (or, if storage of property that was inside the deceased sole tenant's residential rental unit is required, then within 20 days after the storage of said property has ended) to a representative of the estate of the deceased sole tenant, if any, who has valid documentation of such representation issued by the Register of Wills pursuant to Title 12. Within 20 days after receiving possession of the residential rental unit of the deceased sole tenant (or, if storage of property that was inside the deceased sole tenant's residential rental unit is required, then within 20 days after the storage of said property has ended), the landlord shall provide the representative of the estate of the deceased sole tenant, if any, with an itemized list of damages to the premises and the estimated costs of repair for each and shall tender payment for the difference between any rental amount due and owing, the security deposit and such costs of repair of damage to the premises. Failure to do so shall constitute an acknowledgment by the landlord that no payment is due. The representative's acceptance of a payment submitted with an itemized list of damages shall constitute agreement on the rental amount due, if any, and damages as specified by the landlord, unless the representative of the estate, within 10 days of the representative's receipt of such tender of payment, objects in writing to the amount withheld by the landlord. Failure for a representative of the estate to present the landlord with valid documentation of such representation issued by the Register of Wills or failure of the representative to provide the landlord with a good address shall relieve the landlord of responsibility to give notice of any damages and potential liability for double the amount of the security deposit, but the landlord shall continue to be liable to the representative of the estate for any unused portion of the security deposit; provided, that the representative of the estate shall make a claim in writing to the landlord within 1 year from the landlord receiving possession of the residential rental unit of the deceased sole tenant.

25 Del. C. § 5719

Added by Laws 2013, ch. 65,s 4, eff. 7/31/2013.