A North Carolina rental application is a form that landlords or property management companies use to find the right tenant for a rental property. The application helps potential tenants present their personal and financial information in an organized way for the landlord's approval. Landlords sometimes ask for a non-refundable fee and typically respond to the application within one or two days. If the tenant is approved, they will be given a lease agreement to sign.
RentSpree makes this process fast, easy and safe for landlords and renters. You'll find everything from an online rental application and tenant screening to renters insurance and insurance verification.
North Carolina landlords are required to follow specific laws and regulations when screening tenants and reviewing rental applications. These laws are designed to protect both landlords and tenants and ensure that the rental process is fair and transparent. Informational only; not legal advice.
In North Carolina, there are various state and federal laws that govern the screening and selection of tenants. Some of the relevant laws include:
- Fair Housing Act: This federal law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619, 3631.
- North Carolina Fair Housing Act: This state law extends the protections provided under the Fair Housing Act to include additional categories such as age, marital status, and source of income. N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 41A-1 to 41A-6.
- North Carolina Security Deposit Act: This state law governs the collection and return of security deposits, including the maximum amount that landlords can collect and the timelines for returning deposits. N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 42-50 to 42-55.1.
- North Carolina Residential Rental Agreements Act: This state law governs rental agreements and provides guidelines for various aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship, including the application process, lease terms, and rent increases. N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 42-38 to 42-76.
Regarding tenant screening and rental applications, here are some specific requirements in North Carolina:
- Application fees: Landlords can charge a reasonable non-refundable fee for processing rental applications. However, the fee cannot exceed the actual cost of processing the application. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-42.1.
- Credit and background checks: Landlords can conduct credit and background checks on prospective tenants, but they must obtain written consent from the tenant and provide them with a copy of the report if requested. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-42.1.
- Income verification: Landlords can require proof of income from prospective tenants to ensure they can afford the rent. However, landlords cannot discriminate against tenants based on their source of income (e.g., government assistance, child support). N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-42.1.
- Tenant selection criteria: Landlords must apply their tenant selection criteria uniformly to all applicants and cannot discriminate based on protected characteristics under state and federal law. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-42.1.
- Denial of rental application: If a landlord denies a rental application based on information obtained during the screening process, they must provide the tenant with an adverse action notice that explains the reason for the denial and provides information about how the tenant can dispute the decision. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-42.1.
Additionally, North Carolina law provides some guidance on the use of criminal history in tenant screening. Under the state's "Ban the Box" law, landlords cannot ask about an applicant's criminal history on a rental application. However, they can conduct a criminal background check later in the process and use that information to make a decision. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-151.5.
This is not an exhaustive list of laws and regulations that govern tenant screening and rental applications in North Carolina. Consult with a licensed attorney to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.