Landlord's' Remedies for Tenants Wrongfully Quit the Premises
Twenty-Five Del. C. 5101(a) in relevant part provides, "This code shall regulate and determine all legal rights, remedies and obligations of all the parties . . . within this State, wherever executed."
25 Del. C. 5101 also provides, inter alia, "any rental agreement, whether written or oral, shall be enforceable insofar as any agreement or any provision thereof conflicts with any provision of the Code, and is . . . not expressly authorized herein".
Twenty-Five Del. C. Ch. 51 provides a remedy for landlords to receive rent due, late charges, damages and security deposits, as remedies for tenants' actions. Twenty-Five Del. C. 5507(d) provides that if the tenants wrongfully quit the premises, the tenant shall be liable for the lesser of the following:
The entire rent due for the remainder of the term and expenses for actual damages caused by the tenant [other than normal wear and tear] which are incurred in preparing the rental unit for a new tenant; or
All rent accrued during the period reasonably necessary to re-rent the premises at a fair rental; plus the difference between such fair rental and the rent agreed to in the prior rental agreement . . .
As counsel stated in their respective filings with the Court, the Delaware Supreme Court has ruled that a landlord is ". . . limited to collecting the agreed rent as complete remuneration for the rental contract." Stoltz Management Company, Inc. v. Consumer Affairs Board, Del. Supr., 616 A.2d 1205, 1210 (1992).
Twenty-Five Del. C. 5117(a) provides, inter alia, that for any violation of the rental agreement or this Code, or both, by either party, the injured party shall have a right to maintain a cause of action in any court of competent jurisdiction."
Notwithstanding the provisions of 25 Del. C. Ch. 51, case law in Delaware also provides that in construing the Landlord-Tenant Code, the Court does not presume any other remedies exist. Patton v. Simone, Del. Super., C.A. No. 90C-JA-29, C.A. No. 90C-JA-219, Herhily, J. (September 22, 1993).
Recent Delaware case law cited in this record provides that Delaware contract law does not permit recovery of punitive damages in a landlord-tenant dispute for a "bad-faith" claim unless the action arises in an insurance contact dispute. See, e.g., Dietz Enterprises, Inc. v. Stoltz Management of Delaware, Del. Super., C.A. No. 99C-03-178, Carpenter, J.