Any landlords in the largest city in the Tar Heel State needs to pay attention to Charlotte tenant screening laws. Charlotte attracts longtime residents and newcomers to the state because it is thriving place to live, work and play. Landlords that are seeking to fill their rental properties in Charlotte definitely need to pay attention to the tenant screening laws and regulations for the city. It makes good business sense to get good tenants in a rental unit, because bad tenants waste a landlord’s time and money.
In this post, Charlotte landlords will learn about:
- Charlotte tenant screening laws
- All kinds of free landlord resources
- Overview of tenant screening process
- Finding the best tenant screening services
Tenant Screening Charlotte Laws
Charlotte tenant screening laws should not be ignored, because there are plenty of significant issues that protect the landlord and the applicants. In metro areas where there are high percentages of rental units, laws help keep things fair.
Here are some Charlotte tenant screening laws that landlords need to pay attention to:
- There are no limits on the application fees that landlords can collect
- Application fees in Charlotte are not refundable once given to the landlord
- Application fees are separate transactions from security deposits
There’s no excuse for landlords to ignore Charlotte tenant screening laws, because the information is not difficult to find. Ignorance is no excuse when it comes to Charlotte tenant screening laws.
Landlords Often Make This Common Screening Mistake
The number one thing that landlords need to do to prepare to run background checks on applicants is to get a signature of consent. Many applications don’t provide a space for the applicant to sign. Charlotte landlords are not able to run a background check on an applicant without their signature. If current applications do not have a signature line, one ought to be added immediately.
This RentPrep form is a good example:
See the top red arrow? It indicates to the applicant that their fee will be non-refundable. Also, look at the bottom red arrow. This is where the applicant signs to provide consent for the landlord to run a background check. No signature means no background check.
Resources for Tenant Screening in Charlotte
RentPrep has gathered a helpful list of links for you to use in your real estate business. There’s no better way to find top tenants than to use the information here.
- Rental Application PDF – Have every prospective tenant fill out this rental application.*
- Move-In Move-Out checklist – This is helpful for after the tenant screening process to make sure you document the condition of the rental
- Rental Lease Agreement – Once you’ve decided on a tenant you’ll want to draw up a lease. (make sure this editable doc is compliant with your state laws)
- Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA – Our screeners here at RentPrep are FCRA certified to ensure compliance on your screening report
- Know Your Rights North Carolina – Detailed information on renting property in Charlotte
*Think about implementing a “no blank space” policy which allows landlords to deny applications that don’t have everything filled out completely. An incomplete application is impossible to investigate, so landlords should only put complete ones forward.
Charlotte Tenant Screening Process
When completed applications are gathered, Charlotte landlords really need to sort them based on the information on their tenant screening criteria list. This list, created by the landlord, should represent the features they would most like to see in a tenant. They key is to keep the criteria lofty but not impossible to meet.
This is what a Charlotte tenant screening list could look like:
- No smoking
- Clean eviction history
- Income to rent ratio 3:1
- One pet with current vet records and vaccinations
- No violent criminal history
- No bankruptcies within the last 7 years
Any Charlotte landlords that want to narrow down applications so the finalists best match their criteria can do so as long as they are not discriminating against a protected class. There is a lot of information about fair housing standards in Charlotte at this website, and landlords can learn more about federal fair housing at the hud.gov website.
As a review, Charlotte tenant screening laws include:
- Landlords are not restricted in how much they can charge as application fees.
- Charlotte landlords cannot deny an application based on an applicant’s status as a protected class.
- Applications can be legally denied if they don’t meet the landlord’s criteria.
Charlotte landlords certainly should not wait in order to find the best tenants to fill their rental units. Learning all they can about Charlotte tenant screening laws here is the best way to make that happen.
Check Out Your North Carolina Screening Guide
In many cases cities have their own screening rules and regulations while the state has another set of rules that govern the screening process.
Click here to go to our post on “North Carolina Tenant Screening Process.”
Tenant Screening 101
At RentPrep, we believe tenant screening is more than running a background check.
That is why we’ve put together a comprehensive tenant screening guide.
Learn the ropes of tenant screening and you’ll avoid costly mistakes that plague rookie landlords.
Getting the Best Tenant Screening Services
The last step in the process is for Charlotte landlords to locate a tenant screening service with a good reputation that delivers details on every applicant. A thorough report should include:
- Previous evictions
- Any bankruptcies
- Every judgment and lien
- Full address history
When the background checks come back, it’s then that Charlotte landlords will be able to choose the applicant that best fits their needs. Rather than rely on instinct or use inconsistent criteria, landlords in Charlotte can use the facts contained in the professional background check to find the best tenants.
At RentPrep, we have experience with over 21,000 landlords over the past 10 years. Check out our tenant screening packages to see the services we offer.
Our FCRA certified screeners will put your mind at ease by providing the best tenant screening report available.