Charlotte councilmember hopes to implement centralized rent application ‘beginning of next year’

CHARLOTTE — Many renters complain about rent application fees.

With Charlotte being such a competitive housing market, a lot of renters say they keep spending money just to apply for rentals and end up on the waitlist.

Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke has investigated ways to remove this hurdle to affordable housing and found one not far away. A nonprofit in the Asheville area called Just Economics created a centralized rent application.

“You can apply to multiple housing units from different landlords with one application and one application fee,” Just Economics Executive Director Vicki Meath told Stoogenke.

Stoogenke took the idea to Charlotte city leaders and several expressed interest, including Councilmember James Mitchell Jr. who went to Asheville to meet with people tied to the plan.

When Mitchell returned to Charlotte, he told Stoogenke what he envisions — you pay $20 and you can apply for as many as five rentals per day. If you can’t afford the $20, the city would use federal stimulus money it still has from the pandemic to cover that for you.

Mitchell says he:

- Already discussed the concept with neighborhood services staff.

- Will check in regularly with Just Economics to see how the process is going and what Charlotte can learn from it.

- Hopes to launch a Charlotte version around January.

“Hopefully, if I have my way, our fiscal year is July 1, by the time we get the parties involved I would love to roll out something probably beginning of next year,” he said.

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