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Landlord/Tenant

Right to Representation Notice

SS1 for SB1 created a Right to Representation for certain tenants living in residential properties. Tenants who are income-eligible may be able to have free legal representation if they are facing eviction.

For more information about the program, call 211 or visit bit.ly/EvictionHelpDE.

Landlord Tenant Procedures
How to start, respond to and appeal a landlord tenant claim (summary possession action).

Landlord Tenant Summary Possession Interactive form
Complaint by landlord or tenant to obtain possession of a residential rental unit.

Landlord/Tenant Appeals
A written request to appeal the decision must be made within 5 days after the judgment of the Justice of the Peace Court in which the case was heard.

Manufactured Homes Communities Act (summary)
Summary of the Manufactred Home Communities Act with a comparison to the previous statute.

Landlord/Tenant Code

Information on Civil Proceedings


Residential Eviction Diversion Program

The Court provides a free residential eviction diversion program for landlords and tenants involved in eviction cases. It provides an opportunity for landlords and tenants to discuss a potential resolution of the issues in dispute before resorting to a legal eviction.

The program offers: (a) direct negotiation services for landlords and tenants to try and work out agreements through online messaging ; (b) neutral, trained mediators to help guide conversation between landlords and tenants in reaching an agreement; and (c) mediation conferences with a mediator to help landlords and tenants explore resolution.

BEGIN THE PROGRAM EARLY to allow adequate time to use the program. It can be started any time after the landlord files a complaint for summary possession with the Court.

REGISTER AND LOG ON to the program using the above link to the online dispute resolution website with any internet-connected device (i.e., computer, tablet, smartphone). You will gain access to the online messaging system to communicate and negotiate directly with one another.

If you reach an agreement with the other party, you must complete the written agreement on a form that is filed with the Court. A mediator can be requested if guided assistance is needed to prepare and finalize the agreement.

A mediator can also be requested to conduct a mediation conference to help discuss a resolution of the dispute. Start the process early – mediator assistance is subject to the availability of a mediator.

For more information, review the eviction diversion program procedures listed below.

WHAT A LANDLORD NEEDS TO KNOW:

  • Landlord participation is mandatory.
  • You must participate in the eviction diversion program with the tenant AFTER filing a complaint for summary possession with the Court.
  • The Court will NOT hold a hearing to consider your complaint until you:
    1. participate in the program with the tenant, including any scheduled mediation conference, and
    2. file a Landlord’s Affidavit of Participation in Eviction Diversion Program with the Court at least 5 days before the hearing.
  • Failure to complete these steps may result in dismissal of your complaint or a continuance of the hearing.

WHAT A TENANT NEEDS TO KNOW:

  • You have a limited amount of time to take advantage of the program before the hearing on the landlord’s complaint.
  • You can begin the program any time after the landlord files the complaint for summary possession with the Court.
  • But once you are formally served with the complaint, you have 15 days to begin the program.
  • If you do not register and log on within the 15-day period, and engage in mediation as scheduled, the landlord is then relieved of the obligation to participate in the program.
  • Your failure to engage in or complete mediation may not delay the hearing on the landlord’s complaint, or the scheduling of the hearing.

Residential Eviction Diversion Program Procedures

The Justice of the Peace Court provides a residential eviction diversion program to facilitate post-filing eviction dispute resolution between landlords and tenants. This guidance document informs landlords, tenants, attorneys, public agencies, and other interested parties about the eviction diversion program and its procedures.

This information is organized in a Question & Answer format so users can easily find the information they need by scanning questions and navigating directly to the relevant answers. It also allows for a clear and concise presentation of the Court’s program procedures, making it easier for users to understand and follow the procedures effectively. Please click on the question below and it will expand with more information.


Participation in the eviction diversion program is a mandatory step in residential eviction cases filed in the Justice of the Peace Court. The program helps landlords and tenants communicate with one another to explore mutually agreeable solutions before resorting to eviction.

TIt offers: (a) direct negotiation services for landlords and tenants to try and work out agreements using an online platform and a template for an agreement; (b) neutral, trained mediators to help guide conversation between landlords and tenants in reaching a resolution; and (c) mediation conferences, upon request, with a mediator to help guide conversation between landlords and tenants in reaching a resolution. The options allow landlords and tenants to take advantage of the methods that align with their needs, promoting flexibility in the dispute resolution process. The combination of direct negotiation and mediator assistance also increases the likelihood of successful resolution of disputes in eviction proceedings.

All complaints for summary possession involving residential properties filed with the Court on July 1, 2024 and afterward are subject to the eviction diversion program and these procedures.

Landlord participation is mandatory. Delaware law requires landlords to participate in eviction diversion with tenants after filing a complaint for summary possession with the Court involving a residential property. See, 25 Del. C. § 5702A. Some exceptions apply and are addressed in Question 19.

The Court will not hold a hearing to consider a landlord’s complaint for summary possession until the landlord:

  1. Participates in the eviction diversion program with the tenant, including any scheduled mediation conference; and
  2. Files a Landlord’s Affidavit of Participation in Eviction Diversion Program with the Court at least five (5) days before the hearing on the landlord’s complaint.

Failure to participate and timely file the affidavit may result in dismissal of the complaint or a continuance of the hearing.

The Landlord’s Affidavit of Participation in Eviction Diversion Program is a Court form landlords complete and sign confirming participation in the eviction diversion program. A landlord must file the affidavit with the Court at least five (5) days before the hearing on the landlord’s complaint, and send a copy to the tenant at the same time.The Landlord’s Affidavit of Participation in Eviction Diversion Program can be found on the Court's forms page.

A landlord and tenant can begin participating in the eviction diversion program any time after the landlord files a complaint for summary possession with the Court. There is no need to wait for the tenant to be formally served with the complaint to begin the program. Landlords and tenants should begin eviction diversion early in the process because it allows more time to use program resources and explore resolutions.

After the complaint for summary possession is filed, the Court will send notice of the eviction diversion program to the landlord and tenant with information on how to access and use the program. While the parties are involved in the program, the Court will continue to process the case, and formally serve the summons and complaint upon the tenant in accordance with Justice of the Peace Court Civil Rule 4.

The parties must complete the eviction diversion program prior to the hearing on the landlord’s complaint. Any mediation conference must be completed at least forty-eight (48) hours before the hearing on the landlord’s complaint. A request for a mediation conference should be made early in the process to allow adequate time for mediator involvement and scheduling of the conference.

Each party registers and logs on to the eviction diversion program using an internet-connected device (i.e., computer, tablet, smartphone). A landlord and tenant will gain access to the online messaging system to communicate and negotiate directly with one another. A landlord and tenant may talk to one another in writing and discuss the issues in the negotiation space. The messaging is asynchronous, which means there may be delays between messages. This facilitated space for discussion allows the parties to work toward resolving the issues in the complaint.

If a landlord and tenant reach an agreement on their own, they complete the written agreement on a form provided by the Court. This form agreement is completed, signed, and submitted to the Court through the program. The parties can also ask for a mediator if guided assistance is needed to prepare and finalize the terms of the agreement.

If a landlord and tenant do not reach an agreement on their own, they can request the assistance of a mediator, who is trained in conflict resolution and facilitating communication within the eviction diversion program.

The online messages between a landlord and tenant are confidential, and not viewed by judges or Court staff. The Court staff can only view when a party to a case has registered in the program and logged on. The program also provides a notification, viewable by Court staff, when a party has requested a mediator.

A mediator is a neutral individual who facilitates confidential discussions between landlords and tenants to help them resolve their dispute on terms that are mutually agreeable to both parties.

Mediators support landlords and tenants participating in eviction diversion in several ways:

Guidance and support: Mediators guide and support each party through the eviction diversion process and help them navigate the challenges and explore potential resolutions. Mediators do not provide legal advice.

Online messaging: Mediators actively engage with landlords and tenants through the program’s online system. The mediator facilitates online communication and helps the parties explore options.

Mediation conferences: : Mediators conduct mediation conferences on a date and time mutually agreeable to the parties. The mediator guides the discussion in real time and assists the landlord and tenant in discussing the dispute and exploring a resolution through interactive communication.

Drafting agreements: Mediators assist the parties by drafting agreements reached during online negotiations or mediation conferences. The mediator helps by drafting the agreement that reflects the mutually agreed upon terms and ensures an understanding of the resolution reached.

Yes. Discussions with a mediator are confidential to encourage open communication between the parties. A mediator cannot be called as a witness or testify in Court regarding the discussions that occur during online negotiations and mediation conferences. A mediator’s role is to assist with communication and resolution, and not to testify as a witness.

Signed agreements are legally binding, and can partially, or fully resolve the eviction proceedings depending upon the terms of the agreement. The program provides a template agreement for the parties to use and file with the Court.

If no agreement is reached, the eviction proceedings will continue through the Court’s regular process. The eviction diversion program is designed to encourage collaboration, but does not guarantee resolution in every case.

Delaware law requires landlords to engage in the eviction diversion program with tenants after filing a complaint for summary possession involving a residential property. It is essential for landlords to follow these program guidelines and participate in good faith to satisfy this requirement. Since the goal of eviction diversion is to reach an agreement that benefits both parties, it relies on landlords and tenants engaging in the process with genuine, cooperative intent.

A landlord must promptly register and log on to the program, thereby making the landlord available for the tenant to also log on and negotiate. Logging on to the system is an initial, procedural step that ensures the landlord is present in the online environment. But, merely logging on to the system does not establish the landlord’s participation in the program. Participation involves more than just presence, it requires active engagement, such as initiating and responding to communications from the tenant, making reasonable efforts to communicate with the tenant about the issues that can lead to the tenant’s eviction, and a willingness to explore a fair and reasonable resolution. Participation means the landlord will cooperate with the mediator, and participate in any mediation conference that is scheduled.

While a landlord’s participation in the program should be within a reasonable time frame, it does not require an indefinite commitment of time. Landlords and tenants should negotiate and explore resolutions that are feasible for both parties. However, mediation may end if the parties fail to come to an agreement.

Tenants may participate in the eviction diversion program before a Court hearing on the landlord’s complaint for summary possession. While it is not mandatory, tenants are encouraged to participate and discuss the issues raised by the landlord. The program provides tenants with an opportunity to explore resolution, including alternative housing options, and potential move-out dates when a complete eviction cannot be avoided.

Participation means a tenant will promptly register and log on to the program, actively engage in the program with the landlord and make reasonable efforts to discuss the issues raised by the landlord and the tenant’s defenses. Participation means the tenant will cooperate with the mediator, and participate in any mediation conference that is scheduled.

Tenants have a limited amount of time to take advantage of the eviction diversion program before the hearing on the landlord’s complaint. A tenant has fifteen (15) days after being formally served with the complaint to register and log on to the program using an internet-connected device (i.e., computer, tablet, smartphone) and engage in mediation, as scheduled. If the tenant chooses not to, the landlord is relieved of the obligation to participate, and the Court will proceed with the hearing on the landlord’s complaint.

A tenant’s failure to engage in or complete mediation may not delay the hearing on the landlord’s complaint, or the scheduling of the hearing.

The landlord is not required to participate in eviction diversion in the following cases:

  1. When the Court Grants a Forthwith Summons: When a landlord alleges and by substantial evidence demonstrates to the Court that a tenant has caused substantial or irreparable harm to the landlord’s person or property, the Court will grant and issue a forthwith summons if requested by the landlord. See, 25 Del. C. § 5115. A forthwith summons expedites the Court’s consideration of the case, and the landlord is not required to participate in the eviction diversion program. The substantial or irreparable harm demonstrated by the landlord accelerates the need to address the complaint.
  2. When the Landlord Alleges Substantial or Irreparable Harm: When a landlord alleges and by substantial evidence demonstrates to the Court that a tenant’s breach in the rental agreement has caused or threatens to cause irreparable harm, or the tenant is convicted of a class A misdemeanor or felony during the term of the tenancy that has caused or threatens to cause irreparable harm to a person or property, the landlord is not required to participate in the eviction diversion program. See, 25 Del. C. § 5513(b). This must be clear on the face of the complaint and/or the basis for the filing of the court action.
  3. Actions for Waste or Damages Based on Rental of Single Room: When a landlord brings an action for waste or breach of contract for damages based upon the tenant’s willful or negligent failure to comply with responsibilities under 25 Del. C. 5512, participation in the eviction diversion program is not required. See, 25 Del. C. § 5513(c).
  4. When the Tenant Does Not Participate: When the tenant has not registered and logged on to the program, or participated in a scheduled mediation conference, within fifteen (15) days after being formally served with the complaint, the landlord is relieved of the obligation to participate.

In these cases, the landlord is also not required to file the Landlord’s Affidavit of Participation in the Eviction Diversion Program with the Court.

The Court extends the eviction diversion program to all landlords and tenants involved in disputes pending before the Court, beyond just eviction cases pertaining to residential properties. For example, the program is available to address a tenant’s complaint for summary possession, a landlord’s complaint for summary possession involving a commercial property, and a landlord’s complaint seeking unpaid rent or monetary relief only. Participation in these types of cases is optional for the parties, and the Court does not require participation before the trial. Mediator assistance with these other types of cases may not be available.

The program does not provide legal advice or offer legal representation. The parties are encouraged to consult with their own legal counsel.

NOTE: Certain tenants living in residential properties who are income-eligible may be able to have legal representation at no cost if they are facing eviction pursuant 25 Del. C. § 5602. For more information about the program, call 1-302-478-8850. Or visit: bit.ly/EvictionHelpDE.