Permits, violations & licenses

Get permits without plans (EZ permits)

Service overview

You can get an EZ permit for some construction and renovation projects. EZ permits do not require you to submit plans.

To find out if your project qualifies, check if the planned work complies with an EZ Standard. If you get an EZ Permit and don’t follow the standard, the permit will be revoked.

Types of projects that may qualify for an EZ permit include:

Alterations and interior demolition
  • Interior, non-structural alterations in single-family residences
  • Limited commercial alterations
  • Demolition of interior walls that aren’t load bearing
Miscellaneous exterior items
  • Residential decks up to 216 sq. ft. (excluding roof decks)
  • Exterior window and door replacement with no change in size (one-or-two-family dwellings don’t need a permit for this, unless they are historic)
  • Masonry facade replacement (not applicable for historic properties)
  • Above-ground pools and spas
  • Roof covering replacement
  • Security gates and grilles
  • Wall covering replacement
  • Retaining walls
Trade work

The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues these permits.

Who

Any property owner or their authorized agent can apply for these permits. An authorized agent may include:

  • Design professional.
  • Attorney.
  • Contractor.
  • Licensed expediter.

Requirements

Permit application

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

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:
  • A contractor with a specific license is always required for:
    • Fire suppression work.
    • Electrical work.
    • Plumbing work.
  • Where required, 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.

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

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

Some EZ Permits can also be issued at District Offices:

Cost

Permit fee

There are several different fees applicable to EZ Standards. Find your scope of work and estimate with the schedule.

Surcharge fees

  • City surcharge: $3 per permit
  • State surcharge: $4.50 per permit

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 or at one of the District Offices.

In person

1
Bring your completed application, application materials, and payment to the Permit and License Center or to a District Office.

If a contractor is required, the application must be made by a licensed contractor or include a signed statement on the contractor’s letterhead verifying involvement with the project.

Applications will be reviewed while you wait.

2
L&I will either approve your permit or request more information.
3
Once approved, you must schedule an inspection.

Contact your local inspection office when the contractor is ready to start work. The contact information will be noted on your permit.

You need to arrange the inspections noted on your permit with your assigned inspector.

A Certificate of Approval will be issued upon successful completion of all required inspections.


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