Whether you’re a first-time landlord or an experienced property owner, tenant screening is essential in finding reliable and responsible tenants for your rental property.

With many potential candidates, figuring out where to start can be challenging. Fortunately, there are some simple steps that any landlord can take to ensure a thorough and effective tenant screening process for their rental unit in Raleigh.

In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about tenant screening in the area. From what elements make up good candidate selections, to strategies for efficient applicant review processes, let’s dig into all there is to know about effective tenant screening in Raleigh! 

Understanding Raleigh’s Laws and Regulations

Raleigh, North Carolina, has several state and local laws that must be considered regarding tenant screening. 

The most important is the North Carolina Fair Credit Reporting Act, which sets out rules for using credit reports and other tenant screening tools. Landlords must comply with the act when using these methods to screen potential tenants.

In addition to the state laws, landlords should know that Raleigh has its own Human Relations Commission. This commission is responsible for addressing discrimination claims, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with their policies and procedures.

Creating Your Ideal Tenant Checklist

When it comes to tenant screening, it’s essential to have a clear list of criteria when assessing potential tenants.

This checklist should include credit score requirements, rental history verification, income verification, and background checks. It’s also helpful to have a clear policy in place for how you’ll handle any issues that arise during the screening process.


Once you’ve established your criteria, applying that to each applicant consistently is essential. This will help ensure you provide a fair and equitable selection process for all potential tenants. 

Identifying Needed Information

The first step to successful tenant screening is determining necessary information. Information that should be collected to effectively screen tenants includes:

  • Full legal name and current address
  • Social Security number 
  • Proof of employment and income
  • Previous rental history (with permission from the landlords)
  • Credit score and report
  • Bank statements
  • Criminal background check

Collecting this information allows you to decide who is the best fit for your rental property. Additionally, it allows you to stay within legal parameters when renting to a particular tenant. It’s essential to check with local laws and regulations as these may vary from city to city.

Creating a Tenant Screening Application

Once you’ve established your criteria and collected the necessary information, it’s time to create an application for tenant screening. 

This application should be used to collect all of the required information from each potential tenant. It should also include questions about credit score, rental history, employment, income verification, and any other specific criteria you may have.

Performing Background Checks

The next step is to perform a thorough background check. You can look into the tenant’s past rental history, credit score and report, bank statements, and criminal background checks. Check references if available.

When researching a potential tenant’s credit score and report, pay close attention to their payment history and any items that may indicate the tenant has difficulty paying bills on time.


When reviewing the potential tenant’s rental history, get permission from former landlords before inquiring and following up with them for a more thorough report. 

Ask questions such as: Did they pay rent on time? Did they cause any issues while renting? How did they maintain the unit?

It’s also essential to run a criminal background check. This will help you identify past convictions that could risk your property or other tenants.

Assessing Candidates During Property Viewings

Once you’ve collected the necessary information and performed background checks, assessing prospective tenants during the property viewing is essential. This is the ideal opportunity to get a feel for how the tenant will live on your property.

Moreover, take note of their attitude and tone when speaking to them. Pay attention to any questions they ask and how they interact with your other tenants. Ask them to walk through the property, ensuring they take note of safety issues and any potential repair needs.

This is also a great time to ask about their rental history, employment, and income. This will help you determine if the tenant has a reliable means to pay rent on time.

Making the Final Decision

Once you’ve gathered the necessary information and done your due diligence researching the candidate, it’s time to decide.

Consider all the information you’ve collected before making a selection. Pay attention to any red flags that may have come up during the screening process. If there are any concerns, it may be best to decline the application.


When deciding who to rent to, always remember that you decide who lives in your rental property and should strive to choose the tenant who will be the most responsible, reliable, and respectful of your space.


Tenant screening is an essential part of the rental process. It ensures that you select responsible and reliable tenants for your property. 

Collecting necessary information, assessing candidates during showings, performing background checks, and ultimately making the final decision can all be vital steps in choosing the right tenant for your rental. 

For additional assistance with tenant screening and property management in Raleigh, connect with Keyrenter Raleigh! Our experienced team can provide guidance and answer any questions you may have about finding the perfect tenant for your rental. Contact us today for more information!