North Carolina Tenant Screening
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Like other states in the Country, North Carolina does not have its own state guidelines for reporting criminal records. Instead, they follow federal guidelines, which include:
- Felony charges that resulted in a conviction are reportable indefinitely
- Felony charges that resulted in a non-conviction are only reportable for 7 years from the file date
- Misdemeanor charges are reportable for 7 years from the file date if it was a non-convictions, and 7 years from the disposition date if it was a conviction
- To ensure compliance with fair housing laws and avoid any discriminatory practices, housing providers should follow the guidelines set forth by federal, state, and local fair housing regulations.
Reporting guidelines for bankruptcies, judgments/liens, and evictions are set by the Federal Credit Reporting Agency (FCRA). The FCRA has determined that:
- Judgments are reportable for up to 7 years from the filing date or released date
- Liens are reportable for up to 7 years from the filing date or released date
- Evictions are reportable for up to 7 years from the filing date or released date
- Bankruptcies are reportable for up to 10 years
Remember, tenant screening is not solely about an applicant’s criminal history. It’s essential to consider other factors, such as their creditworthiness, rental history, and employment status to make an informed decision. By adhering to these principles and taking a thoughtful and balanced approach to tenant screening, you can create a safer and more inclusive community while still protecting your property and maintaining a responsible and lawful landlord image.
Regarding Security Deposit
North Carolina state law sets the limit that landlords can collect for security deposits based on the length of the lease agreement. If the rent is collected weekly, the security deposit can’t exceed two weeks’ rent. For tenancies that are month to month, the security deposit can’t exceed two months’ rent.
North Carolina law requires landlords to put a tenant’s security deposit in a licensed bank. Landlords are not required to earn or pay out interest to tenants on this amount.
The state laws of North Carolina require landlords to return a security deposit to a tenant within 30 days of the end of tenancy.
North Carolina laws concerning security deposits can be found in N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 42-1 to 42-14.2; 42-25.6 to 42-76.
Regarding Application Fees
North Carolina law places no restrictions on application fees that landlords can collect for tenant screening services.
Regarding Tenant Bad Checks
Civil Penalties: A written demand letter must be sent to the tenant. After 30 days with no response, the landlord can charge either three times the amount of what is owed, or $500, whichever is less.
Criminal Penalties: A check less than $50 can get a tenant a fine of $50, or up to 30 days in jail. For a check between $50 or greater, then they can get a fine of $500 or up to 6 months in jail. There are exceptions to this, for example, if the tenant has had over 3 convictions, then the tenant can get up to 1 year in jail. It also depends on if the check was drawn on a closed account or non-existent account. For a closed account, they could get a fine up to $400, up to 5 months in jail, or both. For a non-existent account, they could get a fine up to $1,000, up to 2 years in jail, or both penalties.
Allowable Fees: $25
Regarding Notice of Termination for Nonpayment
In North Carolina, a landlord must give a tenant at least 10 days in which to pay rent or vacate. After that, the landlord can begin eviction proceedings according to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-3.