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Permits, violations & licenses

Get a Make Safe Permit for a dangerous building

Service overview

You need a Make Safe building permit to repair a structure that has been marked as unsafe or imminently dangerous. A Make Safe Permit is also called a permit to remediate a dangerous condition.

You can only use a Make Safe Permit to address unsafe or dangerous conditions. Failure to address an outstanding violation could result in fines or the demolition of your building or structure by the City.

The permit does not authorize any unnecessary renovations or additions. You need separate permits to do additional construction, plumbing, electrical, or other work.

The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues this permit.


Property owners and their authorized agents can apply for this permit. Authorized agents include:

  • Design professionals.
  • Contractors.
  • Licensed expediters.


Permit application

The permit application must include the complete scope of work and current owner information.


  • A licensed Philadelphia contractor must perform the work, except when the project involves an existing one-or-two-family home. Then work may also be performed by:
  • If a contractor is required, they must be named before final payment for the permit can be accepted. The contractor must:
    • Have an active license.
    • Be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.
    • Have current insurance on file with L&I.

Reports and plans

You’ll need to provide plans, pictures, and a PA-licensed engineer’s report.

  • Provide pictures that depict building conditions.
  • A report describing conditions and remediation prepared by a PA-licensed engineer:
    • L&I may waive this requirement for minor repairs, but the applicant must fully describe remediation.
    • Plans that are signed and sealed by a professional engineer.
      • Plans must be drawn to scale on a minimum sheet size of 18 in. by 24 in.
    • Provide three copies of the report and plans.

Supplemental forms

  • Structural Design Criteria form
    • This form is intended for IBC regulated buildings. Designs under the IRC may note structural design parameters on the plans.
  • Special Inspections documentation
    • Duties & Responsibilities Agreement signed by all parties
    • Statement of Special Inspections Schedule with categories and frequency selected
    • Name of licensed Special Inspection Agency qualified for all inspection categories

Required pre-approvals

For all historic properties

More +

Where and when


You need a virtual appointment to apply online using eCLIPSE.

In person

You need an appointment to visit the Permit and License Center 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

Offices close at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.


Fee types that may apply

Filing fee

  • For one-or-two-family dwellings: $25
  • For all other buildings: $100

This fee is nonrefundable and is applied towards the final permit fee. This fee is not required for permits without plans.

Permit fee

The cost of your building permit depends on your project size and type.

Before applying, review the summary of building permit fees to estimate the cost.

Surcharge fees

  • City surcharge: $3 per permit
  • State surcharge: $4.50 per permit
  • Development impact tax: 1% of total improvement costs for alterations

The development impact tax will only apply to all residential, including multi-family, improvement projects eligible for a real estate tax abatement. For more information on the real estate tax exemption, refer to sections 202 (c) – (e) of the regulations.

Record retention fee

  • Per page larger than 8.5 in. by 14 in.: $4

Payment methods and details

Accepted payment methods

Where Accepted payment
Online through the eCLIPSE application

(There is a $200,000 limit for online payments.)

  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.25% surcharge)
In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.25% 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 (+2.25% 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 will be charged a $20 fee for collection.
  2. You authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect this fee directly.
  3. The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.
  4. If the City is unable to obtain payment, the license, permit, or appeal application will be void.
  5. You cannot take any additional action under a permit until you have paid all fees.
  6. The permit or license will be revoked if the outstanding fees are not paid within 30 days.
  7. You cannot file or obtain additional permits until you resolve the outstanding debt.

Late license payment

If you renew your license more than 60 days after the due date, you will be charged 1.5% of the license fee for each month since the license expired.


You must apply for this permit in person.

Bring your completed application, application materials, and payment to the Permit and License Center.

Before a permit can be issued, the contractor must be identified.

L&I will review your application.

The applicant must respond to any request for information within 10 business days or the application will be abandoned.

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

If the application is not approved, L&I will tell you what is missing or required.

Set up the inspections listed on your permit.
Notify the inspector that issued the initial violation that you got a permit and will start work.
For imminently dangerous structures or conditions, work must begin within 10 days after you get the permit. Work must continue until the structure or condition is safe.
For unsafe structures or conditions, work must begin within 30 days after you get the permit. Work must continue until the structure or condition is safe.