SENATE BILL NO. 110
AS AMENDED BY
SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 25 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO RETALIATORY ACTS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :
Section 1. Amend Chapter 53, Title 25 of the Delaware Code by inserting a new § 5316 as follows:
“§ 5316. Protection for Victims of Domestic Abuse, Sexual Offenses and/or Stalking.
(a) A landlord may not pursue any action for summary possession, demand any increase in rent, decrease any services, or otherwise cause any tenant to quit a rental unit where said tenant is a victim of domestic abuse, sexual offenses, or stalking, and where said tenant has obtained or has sought assistance for domestic abuse, sexual offenses, or stalking from any court, police, medical emergency, domestic violence, or sexual offenses program or service.
(b) If the tenant proves that the landlord instituted any of the actions prohibited by subsection (a), above, within 90 days of any incident in which the tenant was a victim of domestic abuse, sexual offenses and/or stalking, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that said action is in violation of subsection (a), above.
(c) A landlord may rebut the presumption that the prohibited action is in violation of subsection (a), above if:
(1) The landlord is seeking to recover possession of the rental unit on the basis of an appropriate notice to terminate which was given to the tenant prior to the incident of domestic abuse, sexual offenses, or stalking;
(2) The landlord seeks in good faith to recover possession of the rental unit for immediate use as the landlord's own residence;
(3) The landlord seeks in good faith to recover possession of the rental unit for the purpose of substantially altering, remodeling or demolishing the premises;
(4) The landlord seeks in good faith to recover possession of the rental unit for the purpose of immediately terminating, for at least 6 months, use of the premises as a rental unit;
(5) The landlord has in good faith contracted to sell the property and the contract of sale contains a representation from the purchaser confirming his or her intent to use the property in consistency with paragraphs (2), (3) or (4) of this subsection;
(6) The landlord has become liable for a substantial increase in property taxes or a substantial increase in other maintenance or operating costs, and such liability occurred not less than 4 months prior to the demand for the increase in rent, and the increase in rent does not exceed the pro-rata portion of the net increase in taxes or cost;
(7) The landlord has completed a substantial capital improvement of the rental unit or the property of which it is a part, not less than 4 four months prior to the demand for increased rent, and such increase in rent does not exceed the amount which may be claimed for federal income tax purposes as a straight-line depreciation of the improvement, pro-rated among the rental units benefited by the improvement;
(8) The landlord can establish, by competent evidence, that the rent now demanded of the tenant does not exceed the rent charged other tenants of similar rental units in the same complex;
(9) The landlord can establish, by competent evidence, that the domestic abuse, sexual assault and/or stalking constitutes a viable and substantial risk of serious physical injury to a tenant who currently resides in another unit of the same multi-unit building as the domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking victim; or
(10) The landlord, after being given notice of the tenant’s victimization per 25 Del. C. § 5141(6) or (26), discontinues those actions prohibited by subsection (a), above.
(d) A tenant who is otherwise delinquent in the payment of rent may not take advantage of the protection provided in this section.”
Approved May 15, 2008