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Permits, violations & licenses

Get a Certificate of Occupancy

Service overview

A Certificate of Occupancy (CO) shows that a building is safe to be occupied. You need a CO for:

  • New construction.
  • Additions.
  • 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.

Who

Any property owner, their authorized agent, or tenant. Authorized agents may include:

  • Design professionals.
  • Attorneys.
  • Contractors.
  • Licensed expediters.

Requirements

Application

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.

Plans

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

Contractor

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.

Related permits

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

Online

You can apply online using eCLIPSE.

If you need help filing your application online, you can schedule a virtual appointment.

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.

Cost

Fee types that may apply

Filing fee

$100, Non-refundable and is applied towards the final permit fee

Permit fee

$207 per building or space that requires its own Certificate of Occupancy

Surcharge fees

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

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.

How

You can apply for this permit in person at the Permit and License Center or online using eCLIPSE.

In person

1
Bring your completed application, application materials, and payment to the Permit and License Center.

Applications are processed within 20 business days.

2
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.

Once approved, you must have an inspection before your CO is issued. Contact your assigned inspector to arrange the inspections noted on your Administrative Permit.

3
Once you are approved, schedule an inspection.

Contact your assigned inspector to arrange the inspections noted on your Administrative Permit.

 

Online

1
Log in to your eCLIPSE account and apply for a permit. Upload all required documents and pay the filing fee.

Applications are processed within 20 business days.

2
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.

3
Once you are approved, schedule an inspection.

Request an inspection through eCLIPSE or by calling (215) 255-4040.

Inspections

Contact your assigned inspector to arrange the inspections noted on 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.


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