2023 Legislative Updates

Posted By: Candy McVey Advocacy, Community,






AS OF:  13 July 2023


 “This will do exactly the opposite of what you think you are doing.”

Rep. Rich Collins

Information provided by Scott Kidner



The following bills and positions noted represent the overall commercial and residential real estate, multi-family, and manufactured housing industry, along with the business community as it relates to their private property rights, how they conduct their business, and their ability to use/transfer real property within the state of Delaware.




SS#1 to SB1w/HA#1 – Sen Townsend and Rep Minor Brown – Right to Counsel/Diversion Program/CLASI


As most in housing know, the bill is a significant rewrite of SB101 from last session that for virtually every eviction case, an attorney must be provided for the defense of that tenant.  A Coordinator would be hired through the AG’s office to contract with CLASI or other legal services who would provide the defense counsel.   The bill saw numerous changes after lengthy and detailed conversations with the sponsor and CLASI, which resulted in: Defining a “tenant”, how full-time students are calculated, how income is calculated, requiring that mediation must occur no later than 48 hours before trial date, and tenant’s failure to complete mediation may not delay commencement of trial (HA1), creates a list of actions that are covered for representation, among many other changes. 


Based upon these changes and other items removed from the bill, the DAA eventually took a position of neutral, and it easily passed both Chambers by 16 June 2023

Awaiting Governor’s Signature


SB9– Sen McBride and Rep Lambert – Relating to Lead Paint


The bill creates a much more robust lead testing and abatement program in Delaware by inspection of properties where a child is found to have elevated BLL’s screened for lead paint, and if found, abated.  Also says for those property owners/landlords that receive state money to mitigate, they are barred from raising rents for three years, and creating a dedicated fund for abatement, and finally expanding the duties of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Advisory Committee that includes inspections and remediation in pre-1978 properties.  The DAA and DAR offered some slight modifications included in both SA#1 and HA#1.  With positions of neutral from the housing community, the bill eventually passed the Senate with the amendments on 30 June.

Awaiting Governor’s Signature


SB99 – Sen Pinkey and Rep Wilson-Anton – Municipalities


The bill prevents the use of municipal ordinances that require removal by eviction a tenant or the tenant’s household for criminal activity.  Essentially, this bars the local government from enforcing eviction by landlords, such that if they do not remove the tenant – they will have their rental license cancelled.  Both DAA and DAR took the position of neutral, passing int eh Senate with 4 No votes, and then released from House Housing on 15 June, without making it to the House floor for a vote before 30 June.

No Further Action Taken.



HB37 (HB191) – Rep Dorsey-Walker and Sen Brown – Tenant Remedies/Escrow


Like HB477 from the last year, the bill seeks to address issues in Wilmington relating to a specific landlord and condemnation of his rental units in 2022, by giving tenants ability to withhold and/or escrow rent into an account within the JP Court system.  DAA maintained throughout the debate from last year and into this year, creating an escrow account does nothing to help tenants that are facing life and safety issues and their unit is condemned.  After several weeks of meetings and two separate hearings, the bill was changed again and filed as HB191 and then a week later, HS#1 to HB191 was introduced.


Each version made changes to the current code around escrow, and while some changes were positive for the landlord community, the final version needed significant redress to eliminate conflicts and confusion in the bill.   Opposed by DAA in committee again, the bill was released – then assigned to House Appropriations (Fiscal Note) – whereby it was released late on the 21st .  It passed the House on 22 Yes, 1 N, 1 NV and 16 Absent (this was the night the R’s walked out) and assigned to Senate Housing with no hearing held before 30 June.

No Further Action Taken.


HS#1 to HB55 – Rep Lynn and Sen Hoffner – Homeless Bill of Rights


Amending Title 6 and Tile 31, the bill – and like many versions before it, seeks to establish a new protected class for those that are defined as homeless in the bill.  And like the previous version, this one is also opposed by DAA and DAR because of the negative impact it will have the ability of the property owner to determine if the potential tenant can meet the requirements of tenancy.  Additional issues remain in this version as the broad definition of homelessness, the rights afforded to these people that include their ability to “stay” in cars or in public spaces without intervention from police, and what happens to the landlord if they are accused of violating the provisions of this new fair housing claim charged against them by a tenant. 


Introduced on 14 Mar 2023 and assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, no hearings were held before the close of the Session.  

No Further Action Taken.




HB168 – Rep Williams and Sen Mantzavinos – Short Term Rental Tax


Amending Titles 9 and Title 30 – the bill creates a new tax for short-term rentals (VRBO/ARBNB) of a 150 days or less and adds a new rental license fee of $25 a year for short-term listing services.   Strongly opposed by DAR and supported by the Hotel Lodging and Tourism Associations – the bill was introduced on 18 May and assigned to House Revenue and Finance Committee.  It was released from Committee in June and remains on the House Ready List.  The expectation is the parties will try and seek some common ground before the return of the Assembly in January 2024.

No Further Action Taken.