Business & self-employment

Get a Rental License

Service overview

You need a Rental License to rent housing units or properties to tenants. This license is issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I).

If you rent 1-3 units in a property that you occupy, you need an Activity License Number instead.

You do not need a Rental License if a unit is being occupied by a family member and no rent is collected. However, you need to submit an Affidavit of Non-rental. This document must be notarized.

This was previously called a Housing Inspection License.

Who

Property owners can apply for this license.

Requirements

Other licenses and registrations

Lead safety

Owners must certify that they are following rules related to lead safety.

Zoning

For two or more dwelling units, you must have a Zoning Permit. For three or more units, you must also have a Certificate of Occupancy, but only if the Zoning Permit was issued after 1999.

Tax compliance

You must be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.

Violations

You must not have any outstanding L&I violations.

Where and when

Online

Use the eCLIPSE system.

In person

Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
MSB, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Office hours: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Office closes at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.

Cost

Fee per unit
$55

Maximum fee: $22,000

There is no fee for owner-occupied units.

Renewal fee per unit
$55

Maximum fee: $22,000 or

$160 for a vacant property or lot

Payment methods and details

Accepted payment methods

Where Accepted payment
Online through the eCLIPSE application
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Cashier’s Station in the Municipal Services Building

(Items paid at the Cashier’s Station will be mailed within five business days.)

  • Check
  • Money order
  • Credit card (+2% surcharge)
  • Cash

Checks and money orders

Check requirements
  • Make all checks and money orders payable to the “City of Philadelphia.”
  • The individual or company listed on the check must be listed on the application.
  • Personal checks are accepted.
  • Checks and money orders must have issue dates within 12 months of the transaction.
Reasons your check may be rejected

L&I will not accept checks that are missing depository information or are:

  • Unsigned.
  • Expired.
  • Post-dated.
  • Starter checks without account info

Returned payment policy

If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds:

  1. You authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect a fee of $20.
  2. The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.

How

You can apply for this license online using eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center.

Online

1
Upload all required documents.

Applications are reviewed within five business days.

2
If the application is approved, you will receive a notice to pay the balance.

If the application isn’t approved, you will receive an email stating what is missing or required.

In person

1
Visit the Permit and License Center.

L&I can review most applications while you wait.

2
L&I will either issue your license or request more information.

Renewal requirements

This license must be renewed annually. You can renew online through eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center.

To renew, you must:

  • Be up to date on all City of Philadelphia taxes.
  • Have a valid email address.
  • Not having any outstanding L&I violations.
  • Follow rules related to lead safety.

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