You need a Rental License to rent out dwelling, rooming, or sleeping units to tenants. This can include residential dwellings and units, rooms in a home, dormitories, and certain visitor accommodations.
One license can cover all units in a single building. If there are multiple buildings on your property, you must get a Rental License for each building.
Still have questions?
- Learn about rental and property licenses.
- See the Rental License FAQ.
- See the Short-Term Rental FAQ.
This license is issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I). It was previously called a Housing Inspection License.
Property owners and their agents can apply for this license.
To close a Rental License
Rental Licenses are not transferrable. If you are the new owner of a previously licensed property, you must close the old Rental License and apply for a new one.
To renew or receive a new Rental License
There are several requirements for renewing or receiving a new Rental License. View the requirements to:
Per unit: $63
No fee for owner-occupied units.
Per unit: $63
Renewal late fee: 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.
Payment methods and details
Accepted payment methods
|Online through the eCLIPSE application
(There is a $200,000 limit for online payments.)
|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 will be charged a $20 fee for collection.
- 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.
- The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.
- If the City is unable to obtain payment, the license, permit, or appeal application will be void.
- You cannot take any additional action under a permit until you have paid all fees.
- The permit or license will be revoked if the outstanding fees are not paid within 30 days.
- 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.
Applications are reviewed within five business days.
If the application is approved, you will receive a notice to pay the balance.
If the application is rejected, you will receive an email stating what is missing or required.
You need to schedule an appointment to visit the Permit and License Center in person.
Office hours are 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Offices close at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.
The Permit and License Center is located at:
L&I can issue most licenses while you wait. They will either issue your license or request more information.
- File and pay Business Income & Receipts Tax (BIRT)
- Get a Commercial Activity License
- Get an Activity License Number
- Rent your property (long-term)
- Rent your property (short-term)
- Renters’ Access Act: Tenant screening guidelines
- Partners in good housing brochures
- Philadelphia Code – Section 9-3902: Rental Licenses