Giving notice is the first step in the eviction process. In Delaware, the 7 Day Notice to Cure or Vacate may be served on a tenant for a violation of the rental lease other than nonpayment of rent. Nonpayment of rent is addressed with a different form, the Delaware 5 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.
Landlords must use this form to notify a tenant of the lease violation and tell them they have 7 days to correct the violation or move out. The form must be completely and accurately filled out, and the lease violation must be described in detail.
The notice warns the tenant that if the violation remains uncorrected after 7 days have passed, the landlord may end the lease agreement and file a court action to reclaim possession of the unit. (Tenants in mobile homes are given 10 days to correct a violation.) Additionally, the notice states that if the tenant repeats the same violation within the next year, the landlord has justification to begin court action to reclaim possession, and does not have to give the tenant a second 7 day notice.
The clock starts for the 7 days on the day after the notice is served and ends on the 7th day, unless it is a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday. In that case, the notice period ends on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.
If the violation is one that the landlord can correct through repairs, replacement of something broken or through cleaning, the notice states that landlord can make the correction and then bill the tenant for the cost. The bill would be added to the cost of rent and the tenant would have to pay it immediately, along with the rent.
A copy of the notice must be given to the tenant in one of the following ways:
- Personally hand the notice to the tenant
- Mail the notice. Delaware law states that mailing must be done by registered or certified delivery, or by first-class mail with a “certificate of mailing postage-prepaid, addressed to the tenant at the leased premises.”
- Post the notice on the rental property; this method requires that you obtain a receipt or certificate of mailing.
- Pay for a court-appointed process server to deliver the notice.
In some cases, such as when the tenant commits a Class A misdemeanor or felony, the landlord may notify the tenant that the lease agreement is being ended immediately and may file a court action to reclaim possession of the unit.
For more information on the Delaware Residential Landlord-Tenant Code and a full description of eviction notices, visit Delaware.gov