Articles Posted in Landlord - Tenant

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This was a case between the owner of a manufactured homes community, Bon Ayre Land, LLC (Landowner), and an association that represented the affected homeowners, Bon Ayre Community Association (HOA) about what Delaware law required the Landowner to show to increase rent above inflation. Their dispute arose under Chapter 70 of Title 25 of the Delaware Code, commonly known as the "Rent Justification Act." To raise rent by more than inflation, the Act set out three conditions a landowner had to satisfy. One condition required the owner show that the proposed increase was directly related to operating, maintaining or improving the manufactured home community, and justified by one or more factors listed under subsection (c). The one factor at issue here was market rent: that rent which would result from market forces absent an unequal bargaining position between the community owner and the home owners. Among its many arguments, the Landowner argued that the Superior Court erred in giving effect to the word "and," and that the Landowner ought to have been allowed to justify a rent increase based on market rent alone. The Landowner admitted that it failed to present any evidence of its proposed rent increases being directly related to operating, maintaining or improving the community. But, the Landowner argued that the Act could not be read sensibly as it was plainly written and that the term "and" in section 7042(a)(2) should have been read as "or." Contrary to the Landowner's argument, the Delaware Supreme Court found nothing "absurd" about the use of "and" in joining section 7042's three conditions. "Consistent with proper principles of interpretation, the Superior Court gave effect to the clear language of the Act and gave it an interpretation that is consistent with the Act's stated purpose." Because the Landowner concededly made no showing that its proposed rental increase was directly related to operating, maintaining or improving the community, the Superior Court properly reversed the arbitrator's ruling that the Landowner could raise rents in excess of CPI-U. View "Bon Ayre Land, LLC v. Bon Ayre Community Association" on Justia Law

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Gail and Scott Helm filed a personal injury action against Gallo Realty, Inc., one of its real estate agents, and 206 Massachusetts Ave, LLC (owner of the property). The Helms rented a beach house at 206 Massachusetts Avenue in Lewes for a week in 2010. As Gail descended the stairs, she fell and sustained injuries. Gail sought to recover damages based on claims of negligence and breach of contract; Scott claimed loss of consortium. The Superior Court granted defendants' motions for summary judgment, dismissing the Helms' claims. The Helms appealed, arguing: (1) the Superior Court erred in granting defendants' motion for summary judgment on the issue of primary risk assumption and comparative negligence as a matter of law; (2) the Superior Court erred in holding that an indemnification clause provision in the lease protected defendants from liability; and (3) the Superior Court erred in granting summary judgment on the contract claims. After review, the Supreme Court concluded the Superior Court applied both the doctrine of primary assumption of risk and the doctrine of comparative negligence incorrectly. The record reflected that the Superior Court never specifically based its decision on the indemnification clause. The Superior Court's initial ruling in favor of defendants was only on the negligence claims. Furthermore, the Supreme Court found that the record reflected that the Superior Court's dismissive rulings on the Helms' contract claim was "cursory and inextricably intertwined" with its erroneous rulings on the negligence claims. As such, the Supreme Court reversed the Superior Court and remanded this case for further proceedings. View "Helm v. 206 Massachusetts Avenue,LLC" on Justia Law

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In late 2013, when Paul Taylor filed a complaint seeking back rent and possession of a home he rented to James David and Elisabeth Black. Justice of the Peace Court 13 ordered an expedited summary possession trial under 25 Del. C. 5115. The Blacks appealed a Superior Court order denying their petition for a writ of certiorari, arguing that Justice of the Peace Court 13 proceeded contrary to law and denied the Blacks due process of law when it issued a forthwith summons under 25 Del. C. 5115 absent satisfaction of the statutory requirements for issuance of that summons. Furthermore, the Blacks argued the record showed that Justice of the Peace Court 13 proceeded irregularly because it created no record regarding the basis for its issuance of the forthwith summons. The Supreme Court concluded that both of the Blacks’ contentions were meritorious, and reversed the Superior Court. The case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Black v. Justice of the Peace Court 13, et al." on Justia Law