Charlotte city leaders to consider centralized rent application program

CHARLOTTE — The competitive housing market in Charlotte has many renters frustrated. They keep applying for rentals and paying application fees but striking out.

It can get expensive, so Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke looked for a solution and found an option.

The nonprofit Just Economics is launching a centralized rent application for the Asheville area. Renters submit one application and pay one application fee of $20 that multiple landlords can use.

“It’ll work similarly to the Common App with colleges and universities where you can apply to multiple through one application,” said Vicki Meath, Just Economics executive director.

Although the program isn’t currently available in the Charlotte area, Meath said, “Our hope is to make it easy for other people … and other communities to replicate this.”

So Stoogenke shared the concept with Charlotte city leaders and several expressed interest, including City Councilmen James Mitchell Jr. and Tariq Bokhari.

“You’ve done the legwork and found this group in Asheville that’s a nonprofit. I’d like their contact info. from you. I’ll reach out today and start vetting their tool,” Bokhari told Stoogenke.

Mitchell said he contacted Asheville’s City Manager Debra Campbell, who used to be Charlotte’s planning director. “So I’m scheduled to go spend some time in Asheville,” Mitchell said. That meeting is on May 4.

Stoogenke plans to follow up with Mitchell after the meeting.

The City of Spokane, Washington, is also considering a program like this.

In the meantime, Stoogenke suggests that if you are applying for a rental property, ask the landlord how many other people have applied so you can decide if it’s worth spending an application fee on that particular home.

(VIDEO: Spending a lot on rent applications? Platform similar to Common App in the works)

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