Lawful Occupancy Signs (LO) show how many people are allowed in a space at a given time. The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues Lawful Occupancy Signs.
You need a Lawful Occupancy Sign if:
- You own or operate an assembly space where 50 or more people gather.
- L&I decides it is necessary to post an occupant limit.
If L&I previously approved a Lawful Occupancy Sign for a space in your building, you may be able to get a copy.
New owners or tenants operating a previously approved space with a Lawful Occupancy Sign do not need to reapply.
If you are proposing a change in the number of people who will occupy a space, you must file a new application and plans for review.
If you are required to have a Lawful Occupancy Sign, you must display it where occupants can easily see it. If you don’t, you may be cited for a violation.
All issued Lawful Occupancy Signs must remain posted as long as the building is in use.
Any property owner or their authorized agent can apply. Authorized agents may include:
- Design professionals.
- Licensed expediters.
The permit 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 a tenant makes the application, include the executed lease agreement.
If your application requires plans, they must follow plan requirements.
A contractor isn’t required unless the plans examiner determines your building or space needs repairs or improvements before approval. In these cases, a contractor would be required in order for construction permits to be issued.
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
This fee is nonrefundable. It will be applied towards the final permit fee.
- $150 per space
- Cost for a replacement sign: $25
If you get a Building Permit or Certificate of Occupancy, Lawful Occupancy Signs are included for free.
- City surcharge: $3 per permit
- State surcharge: $4.50 per permit
Record retention fee
- Per page larger than 8.5 in. by 14 in.: $4
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.
If not approved, the applicant will receive an email stating what is missing or required.
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.