Tenants in Philadelphia rental properties have a number of documented rights regarding safety and health standards. These rights are mandated to landlords through a number of City license and inspection requirements. See below for documents outlining these requirements.
Housing Rental Licenses
Housing Rental Licenses are required for any type of housing rentals. Prior to getting this license, applicants should obtain a Commercial Activity License, Business Tax Account Number, Federal Tax Identification Number or Social Security Number (for individuals), and Zoning Approval (for two or more units). Licenses cost $50/unit and must be renewed annually.
L&I CODE VIOLATIONS: No license shall be issued or renewed if the licensing property has any outstanding violations issued under the Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code.
TAX DELINQUENCY: No license shall be issued or renewed if the entity is delinquent in the filing or payment of City taxes.
The Philadelphia Property Maintenance Code (Section PM-102.6.4) requires residential property owners to provide new tenants with a copy of the “City of Philadelphia Partners for Good Housing” brochure issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections.
In addition, residential property owners must provide tenants with a Certificate of Rental Suitability, issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections, no more than sixty (60) days prior to residence. This Certificate states that properties have obtained all required rental licenses and do not have critical code violations. Questions? Learn more..
The Lead Paint and Disclosure Certification law requires landlords to ensure that property rented to families with children 6 years and younger is lead safe. For more information, visit the Department of Public Health's Lead Paint Law page.
Real Estate and Property Rental Forms
Permits and Certificates
The Department of Licenses & Inspections reviews construction plans and conducts building inspections to ensure the safety of the workers and the public. Building permits are required before beginning projects to enlarge, repair, change, add to or demolish a structure, and to install equipment or systems in a structure. Plumbing and electrical permits, among others, may also be required for new or existing buildings.
Note that a Commercial Activity License is required for all properties with four or more residential units. An exemption is made for buildings with four residential units in which the owner is an occupant of at least one unit.
Apply in person
Department of Licenses and Inspections
License Issuance Unit - PSC
1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Please bring proof of occupancy in the form of a valid Pennsylvania Driver’s License or a current utility bill from an electric, gas or telephone company showing the applicant’s name, address and unit number. A water utility bill is not acceptable as proof of occupancy.
Please call 311 or 215-686-8686 if you have any further questions.
Circular Non-Delivery List
As provided by Section 10-723 of the Philadelphia Code, the Department of Licenses and Inspections maintains a commercial handbill Non Delivery List identifying all properties whose owners request non-delivery. Property owners who do not wish to receive hand-delivered advertising circulars or handbills can fill out the "Circular Non-Delivery Decal Order" form.
The owners of registered properties will receive a "Circular Free Property" decal (sticker), which should be posted at the property, visible from the sidewalk. Please review the order form for more information.