The North Carolina Rental Application Process
Landlords generally like to see that a tenant makes between two and three times the rent, good credit, and doesn’t have a history of frequent bankruptcies and evictions. A rental application gives landlords an in-depth view of who their next potential tenant is. Additionally, these documents must conform to federal fair housing laws that prevent housing discrimination and comply with North Carolina landlord-tenant law.
Generally, prospective tenants pay a non-refundable fee when they complete the document. The fee is used by the North Carolina landlord during tenant screening to specifically cover the expenses associated with completing a credit check and background check on the applicant.
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A Sample North Carolina Rental Application with Examples for Each Step
Every North Carolina landlord should have a rental application form to use to help ascertain the risk presented for their rental property. Writing a rental application doesn't need to be complicated.
One thing to keep in mind is that a prospective tenant may be married or partner in a civil union. Will you require that each partner complete a separate rental application form or allow them to use the same one? If you decide to allow both partners to use the same form, it is crucial to ensure that you've provided enough room for both applicants to list their information in each section.
Here are the sections your rental application needs as well as the information each section should capture:
- The applicant's personal information: their full legal name, birthday, social security number, cell phone number, work number, and email address.
- A section for the applicant's employment history. This section starts with their current employer: the employer's name, full address (including the city, state, and zip code), the applicant's job title, how long the applicant has worked for the employer, the name of the applicant's supervisor, the contact number for either the supervisor or for HR, and enough space to request additional previous employment history.
- A section for all income sources, frequency of payments, and the amount of the income.
- Ask whether the applicant has checking or savings accounts and which banks or credit unions manage those accounts.
Rental history. Begin with the applicant's current rental address. Include the city, state, and zip code, the contact information for their current landlord, the amount of time they've lived in the rental unit, the amount of monthly rent they've paid. Leave additional room and spaces to request more of their previous rental history.
- A section for the applicant to describe their vehicles. Request the number of vehicles owned by the applicant. The description generally includes each vehicle’s year, make, model, color, and license plate. For North Carolina landlords who use parking permits or where parking is limited, knowing a description of the vehicles that belong to the chosen tenant is very helpful.
- Ask for the emergency contact information of the applicant.
- A section to list the name and age of each person who will live on the rental property.
- A section to list whether they have any pets, number of pets, type of pets, and their size.
- An authorization to run a background check and a credit check under North Carolina law once the applicant signs and dates the rental application. Remind the applicant that the fee they paid is non-refundable.
- A signature line and a blank space for the date.
Rental Application Resources for Tenants in North Carolina
If you're a renter in North Carolina, it may seem like the landlord has all of the rights. As a tenant, you do have rights. Here are some helpful links:
- The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency offers several resources that will help renters better understand rights regarding discrimination, eviction, and rental agreements.
- Legal Aid of North Carolina has a free Tenant Rights Clinic that you can register to attend. It offers information on what you should do if your landlord refuses to make repairs, the rental unit isn't habitable, what to expect when you move out, landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities, how you can terminate your residential lease if you're a member of the military, and more.
Pisgah Legal Services may be able to help you avoid eviction even if you live in a mobile home park, help you obtain a housing subsidy, and more. You can apply online or over the phone for services.
- North Carolina Central University School of Law has a civil litigation clinic that assists qualifying clients with landlord-tenant issues.
North Carolina Rental Application Laws
According to North Carolina law, landlords may not demand more than one and one-half month’s rent for a security deposit on a one-month lease. On longer-term leases (longer than one month), the landlord may request two month’s rent.
If a renter has pets, the landlord is legally permitted to request an additional non-refundable deposit.
When the tenant moves out, the landlord must return the deposit within 30 days.
(North Carolina General Statutes §§ 42-50 to 42-56)