A Certificate of Occupancy (CO) shows that a building is safe to be occupied. You need a CO for:
- New construction.
- Alterations that impact exits or fire ratings.
- Projects that change the use or occupancy of a building.
A CO is not required:
- For existing one-or-two-family homes.
- If the owner, tenant, or residents have changed but the building use remains the same.
A CO is issued upon completion of some Building Permits. There is no separate application or extra charge for a CO connected to a Building Permit.
To get a CO without a Building Permit you must apply and pay the fee.
Building owners and tenants can request copies of a previously issued, available Certificate of Occupancy.
Any property owner, their authorized agent, or tenant. Authorized agents may include:
- Design professionals.
- Licensed expediters.
Application must include a description of use 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 you are a tenant making application, include the executed lease agreement.
If your application requires plans, they must follow plan requirements.
You don’t need a contractor to get a CO unless the plans examiner determines that your building or space needs repairs or improvements. In those cases, you need a contractor for all associated construction or repair permits. That work must be completed before the CO is issued.
Forms and documents
You may need one of the following forms. If so, it must be notarized.
- Affidavit of Limited Cooking: Required if there are permanent cooking appliances in a space but not a commercial kitchen exhaust system.
- Affidavit of Restricted Use: Required for parts of a building that may not meet code and will not be occupied.
If you need a CO because of change of use, make sure you get a Zoning Permit for any Change of Use before applying for a CO.
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
Office closes at Noon on the last Wednesday of each month.
Fee types that may apply
$100, Non-refundable and is applied towards the final permit fee
$200 per building or space that requires its own Certificate of Occupancy
City surcharge: $3 per permit
State surcharge: $4.50 per permit
Record retention fee
$4 per page larger than 8.5 in. x 14 in.
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.
- Applications are processed within 20 business days.
If not approved, the applicant will receive an email stating what is missing or required.
Once approved, you must have an inspection before your CO is issued.
Contact your assigned inspector to arrange the inspections noted on your your Administrative Permit. You need to have an inspection for each new Certificate of Occupancy. Inspections are not needed for replacement certificates.
A Certificate of Occupancy will be issued upon successful completion of the inspection.