Permits, violations & licenses

Get a Fence Permit

Service overview

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)

Height
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)

Height
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).

Who

Any property owner, business owner, or their authorized agent can apply for this permit. Authorized agents may include:

  • Contractor.
  • PA design professional.
  • Attorney.
  • Licensed expediter.

Requirements

Permit applications

You need to complete one or both of the following:

Permit applications must include the complete scope of work and current owner information.

Plans

If your project requires plans, they must follow plan requirements.

Contractor

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:

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:

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.

Required pre-approvals

For fencing and fence walls on historic properties

More +

For fences that will partially encroach on the right-of-way

More +

Where and when

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.

Cost

Fee types that may apply

Filing fee

  • 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.

Permit fee

Zoning
  • 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
Building
  • For each fence: $100
  • Flat fee for one-or-two-family dwellings: $55

Surcharge fees

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

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 permit in person at the Permit and License Center.

In person

1
Get any required pre-approvals before submitting your application to L&I.
2
Bring your completed application, application materials, and payment to 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.

3
If approved, the applicant will receive notice to pay the balance.

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.

4
Once approved, schedule your inspections

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.


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