You need permits for certain kinds of fencing. You probably need a permit if your fence will be:
- Taller than 6 feet.
- Made of heavy material, like masonry or concrete.
- Located directly along a street front.
Check your zoning classification on Atlas and use the tables to check your permit requirements. A Building Permit is always required if the property is on the Philadelphia Historic Registry or in the 100-year floodplain.
Non-masonry (wood, metal, vinyl)
|Up to 4 ft.||4 ft. to 6 ft.||Over 6 ft.|
|Front yard||None*||Zoning only||Zoning + Building|
|Side yard||None||None||Zoning + Building|
|Rear yard||None||None||Zoning + Building|
*Exception: Fences that are 50% opaque or more require a Zoning Permit.
Masonry (poured concrete or stone)
|Up to 2 ft.||2 ft. to 4 ft.||4 ft. to 6 ft.||Over 6 ft.|
|Front yard||Zoning only||Zoning + Building||Zoning + Building||Zoning + Building|
|Side yard||None||Building only||Building only||Zoning + Building|
|Rear yard||None||Building only||Building only||Zoning + Building|
This permit is issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I).
Any property owner, business owner, or their authorized agent can apply for this permit. Authorized agents may include:
- PA design professional.
- Licensed expediter.
You need to complete one or both of the following:
Permit applications must include the complete scope of work and current owner information.
- If the property was recently sold, submit a copy of the settlement sheet or deed with the application.
- You must apply for all permits under the legal address established by the Office of Property Assessment (OPA).
If your project requires plans, they must follow plan requirements.
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:
- An owner who resides in the building.
- A registered PA Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) who holds a Commercial Activity License.
The contractor 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.
Forms and other documents
For Zoning and Building Permit applications:
- Flood Protection Forms, for properties located in Flood Hazard Areas
For Building Permit applications only, you may need:
- Application for Accelerated Plan Review
- Structural Design Criteria form
- 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
- Engineering design calculations, if requested by the plans examiner.
For fencing and fence walls on historic properties
You need approval from
The Historical Commission
You must have this approval in order to apply. L&I will refuse your permit application without Historical Commission approval. See how to get approval for work to a historic property.
You’ll need your plans with stamped approval from the Historical Commission before you make your application at the Permit and License Center in the MSB.
Submit your stamped plan as proof of approval when making your application.
For fences that will partially encroach on the right-of-way
You need approval from
The Department of Streets
You’ll need to complete a Streets plan review. Find Streets plan review requirements and applicable forms for more information.
You’ll need your plan with stamped approval from Department of Streets before you make your application to L&I.
Once approved, submit your stamped plan with your other application materials when submitting in person at the Permit and License Center in the MSB.
Where and when
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
- For lots containing one-or-two-family dwellings: $25
- For fencing on all other sites: $100
This fee is nonrefundable and must be turned in with each application.
- For lots containing one-or-two-family dwellings: $40
- For all other lots under 30,000 sq. ft.: $200
- For all other lots over 30,000 sq. ft.: $500
- For each fence: $100
- Flat fee for one-or-two-family dwellings: $55
These apply to the building permits only. There is no surcharge for zoning approval of fencing.
- City surcharge: $3 per permit
- State surcharge: $4.50 per permit
Record retention fee
- Per page larger than 8.5 in. x 14 in.: $4
Accelerated Plan Review fee (optional)
Applications for building permits for fencing that include plans are eligible for expedited review. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5–10 business days.
- Fee: $540
- If your plans require more than four hours to review, you will be charged an additional fee of $135 per hour.
To apply, fill out an Accelerated Plan Review application and submit with your permit application. Amount must be paid when you submit your application and will not be credited toward your final permit fee.
Payment methods and details
Accepted payment methods
|Online through the eCLIPSE application||
|In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building||
|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.)
Checks and money orders
- 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:
- Starter checks without account info
Returned payment policy
If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds:
- 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.
- The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.
You can apply for this permit in person at the Permit and License Center.
Applications are processed within 20 business days.
The applicant can accelerate the application for an additional fee. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5-10 business days.
If not approved, the applicant will receive an email stating what is missing or required.
Before a permit may be issued, the contractor must be identified and confirm association with the project.
Contact your local inspection office when the contractor is ready to start work. The contact information and required inspections will be noted on your permit.
A Certificate of Approval will be issued upon successful completion of all required inspections.