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Rental and property licenses

The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues rental and property licenses in the City of Philadelphia. Licenses are generally renewed on a regular basis and require a renewal fee.

What kind of license do I need?

Rental License

The Rental License is the most common type of property license.

You need a Rental License to rent dwelling, rooming, or sleeping units to tenants in Philadelphia. That includes residential dwellings and units, rooms in a home, dormitories, and certain visitor accommodations.

A Rental License is a type of business license. All businesses that operate in the city need to:

  • Register for an Activity License, or
  • Get a Commercial Activity License.

Landlords in Philadelphia need to follow certain requirements in addition to obtaining a Rental License. Learn how to rent your property long-term.

Still have questions? See the Rental License FAQ.

Common rental and property situations

In most cases, you will need a Rental License to operate your rental property. However, there are some situations where a different license or approval is needed. Here are some common examples:

To rent out … You’ll need a …
  • Residential dwellings.
  • Rooming or boarding houses.
  • Assisted living facilities.
  • Dormitories.
  • Hotels, motels, hostels, bed-and-breakfasts, and other short-term rentals of properties without a primary resident (i.e. visitor accommodations).
  • Certain other properties.
Rental License
A unit to a family member, without collecting rent. Notarized affidavit of non-rental
Your primary residence or a room in it for 30 days or less (e.g. using a short-term rental platform like AirBnB) Limited Lodging Operator License

Frequently asked questions

Still have questions? See these FAQs: