New Phase of Enforcement Begins In Coordination with City Council Ordinance

PHILADELPHIA- July 12, 2023, The City of Philadelphia, Department of Licenses and Inspections will start notifying short-term rental booking agents to delist unlicensed short-term rental properties this month. Short-term rental properties are available to rent on websites such as Airbnb and VRBO. These websites are also known as “booking agents.” As L&I enters a new phase of enforcement in coordination with a 2021 City Council ordinance, many unlicensed short-term rental listings will be removed from the booking agent’s website in the coming weeks.

The City of Philadelphia began regulating short-term rentals in 2015, and in 2021, Mayor Kenney signed Bill No. 210081, changing the zoning and licensing requirements for owners or renters that offer their properties as short-term rentals in Philadelphia. This new law requires that for a booking agent to advertise a unit for rent, the operator must provide a valid license from L&I. Through the license requirement L&I can ensure that properties being used as short-term rental meet minimal safety and zoning requirements. If a booking agent is notified that a unit is not properly licensed, they are required to remove the listing within five business days.

L&I has worked diligently in recent months to meet with several booking agents about enforcing the provisions of the new law. Upon review L&I has determined nearly 85% (about 1500-1700 properties) of short-term rental properties in Philadelphia are unlicensed.

When will Properties be Removed from Short-Term Platforms?

L&I will begin notifying booking agents such as (Airbnb, VRBO) of unlicensed short-term rental properties today July 12, 2023.  The booking agents are required to remove the listing within five business days of notice, as per the law. Properties without proper licensing will be removed from the booking agent’s website.

A notice will be sent to the host letting them know that the City of Philadelphia identified an issue, and their short-term rental will be removed from the list of available properties.

Hosts will have an opportunity to update the registration with a new number or convert to long-term rental (more than 30 days) only.  If no action is taken within five business days, then the listing is removed.

If customers have existing reservations booked, they should check with their booking agent to learn their policy.

How Can Hosts Fix It?

Hosts will have to provide proper licensing and resubmit to the booking agent’s website.  Hosts should follow up with booking agents for next steps.

“The City of Philadelphia isn’t trying to make it more difficult for hosts to offer their houses, condominiums, or apartments as short-term rentals, we are committed to making sure they meet safety standards, protect guests and our communities, ” said Commissioner Ralph DiPietro.

The Department of Licenses & Inspections (L&I) enforces the City’s codes for the safe and lawful construction and use of buildings. Our main goal is to build and sustain a safer Philadelphia. L&I embraces best practices in technology and customer service. We enable the public to access information, secure required approvals, and comply with building safety requirements in a convenient, reliable, and transparent manner. L&I achieves code compliance through collaboration, education, and effective enforcement measures that hold businesses, contractors, and property owners accountable.