The issues that I see most commonly in landlord/tenant disputes are first, the communications between the landlord and the tenant are not in writing. Let’s say the landlord requires the tenant to cut the grass in the lease and the tenant is not doing it. The landlord calls the tenant and tells him he must cut the grass and then he goes to court to try to enforce the provision of the lease. If it’s not in writing, the court will likely dismiss that particular complaint.
Also, you need to be careful about retaliatory acts. I can’t tell you how many times a landlord will call up and ask if they can shut off the water or turn off the electricity. The answer to that question is always no. If the tenant puts in a complaint to you, the county, or some other governmental agency and you do such an action, you could be subject to three times the rent as a penalty.
In addition, you have to make sure you do all the notices in writing and in the proper format. The Justice of the Peace court is very particular about what they require for notices. If you do them wrong, you could spend a month trying to get through the court and have the case dismissed because the notices were not proper. If you have any questions about issues that may confront you in the landlord/tenant code, please contact your local landlord/tenant attorney.
The law firm of Mattleman, Weinroth & Miller, P.C., is composed of experienced landlord/tenant attorneys throughout the state of Delaware. Please contact the office for a free initial consultation and get any questions answered.