It's been a tough few years for Delaware renters.
First, the pandemic shutdown left many struggling to keep up with monthly payments, now inflation and a tight real estate market are taxing them even further.
Never in recent memory have renters' rights been more critical.
Reporter Amanda Fries has written about several cases of landlord neglect and poor oversight by local governments to protect renters from unsafe conditions.
Tenants have few remedies to hold landlords accountable for providing safe and secure housing. They can either complain to local code enforcement or take a landlord to court, but neither guarantees problems will be fixed nor that a tenant won’t be retaliated against for complaining. All of them cost money that many renters don’t have.
Delaware lawmakers this year had opportunities to balance the scales between renters and landlords but chose not to act.
Reforms to Delaware’s landlord/tenant code that may have helped Secouler and Imburgia, and thousands of renters like them, have been resisted by state lawmakers and landlords who claim proposals would prolong the eviction process and allow tenants behind on rent to remain there.
Proponents say the changes would improve the process for everyone and level the playing field, which they say is skewed in favor of landlords.
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This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Delaware failed to strengthen renters rights this year