North Carolina Tenant Screening

Last Updated: January 19, 2015

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North Carolina became one of the English Thirteen Colonies and with the territory of South Carolina was originally known as the Province of Carolina. The northern and southern parts of the original province separated in 1729.

How to Screen a Tenant in North Carolina

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Step 1: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities

The Laws

Landlords and property managers are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF] (FCRA) during the tenant screening process. Additionally, North Carolina has laws that affect the tenant screening process. You can find the current North Carolina landlord-tenant Codes on the North Carolina State Legislature website. If you are finding the formalities of the state code daunting, you might want to check out these friendlier sites:

Recent Law Changes

An act in North Carolina became effective October 1, 2012, amending the laws related to landlord / tenant relationships and established a process whereby a landlord may remove tangible personal property belonging to a deceased tenant and applies to all actions for summary ejectment filed on and after that date, and to personal property that was owned by a tenant who dies on or after that date. SESSION LAW 2012-17 HOUSE BILL 493

Step 2: Required Forms & Disclosures

Tip: before you rent for the first time, consider hiring a lawyer to review all of the documents you will use during the application and rental process to ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law.

Before Screening:

  1. Rental Application [PDF] (this must be completed in full by the applicant prior to screening)
  2. Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF]
  3. Consumer Report Disclosure [PDF]

After Screening:

If you are ACCEPTING an applicant:

  1. Move-In Checklist [PDF]
  2. Lease Agreement (written), containing or attaching the following information:
    1. Owner/Agent Identity - this should include name and address, and if the owner/agent is out-of-state it must include contact information for a resident of the COUNTY in which the rental is located that can act as an agent for the purposes of serving notices and process.
    2. Security Deposit - this must include the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which some or all of the deposit may be withheld. It must also include the name and banking institution holding the deposit.
    3. Non-refundable Fees - explicitly describe any non-refundable fees, and state clearly that they are non-refundable.
  3. Fire Protection & Safety Information: You must disclose the available fire protection and safety information specific to the unit you are renting, including smoking policy, evacuation plans, and who to notify in case of emergency.
  4. Mold: While there is no specific statute regarding mold, toxic or otherwise for renters, North Carolinas implied warranty of habitability statute and the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act could provide some protection. For renters, landlords are required to maintain habitable premises. NC Mold Combined Facts Sheet
  5. Going To Court Fees: If a North Carolina landlord wishes to charge a complaint-filing fee, a court-appearance fee, or a second trial fee, which may be done when the landlord files an eviction lawsuit or sues for money owed, the policy must be in the written lease. (N.C. Gen. Stat. 42-46(e) to (h))
  6. Security Deposit: Within 30 days of the beginning of the lease term, North Carolina landlords must disclose the name and address of the banking institution where the deposit is located. (N.C. Gen. Stat. 42-50 to 42-56)

If you are DECLINING an applicant:

  1. Adverse Action Notice [PDF]

Step 3: Order a Tenant Screening Report

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Resources for North Carolina Landlords



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