You need a Rental License to rent housing units or properties to tenants. If there are multiple buildings on the lot, you must get a separate rental license for each building.
This license is issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I).
You do not need a Rental License:
- If a unit is being occupied by a family member and no rent is collected. However, you need to submit an Affidavit of Non-rental. This document must be notarized and provided to L&I through a virtual or in-person appointment.
- If the unit is being used as limited lodging. A limited lodging use requires a Limited Lodging Operator License.
This was previously called a Housing Inspection License.
Property owners and their agents can apply for this license.
Other licenses and registrations
You must submit a Rental License Supplemental Information form with all new rental license applications.
- New owners: Provide proof of ownership in the form of a recorded deed or a settlement sheet (must be signed by both buyer and seller). L&I will not accept an agreement of sale or a receipt of sheriff’s sale.
- Owners who live outside Philadelphia: Identify a managing agent with a Philadelphia mailing address on the application. The agent is responsible for interfacing with L&I. The license application must be submitted under the commercial activity license of the property owner. The property owner will be listed as the license holder and bear legal responsibility for the license.
- Company-owned properties: Provide the name and mailing address of one of the following:
- Each individual with more than 49% interest in ownership of the property
- The two individuals with the largest interest
- Questions? See the rental license FAQ.
Lead safety certification
- Owners must certify that they are following rules related to lead safety.
- For properties built before March 1978, the owner must submit lead certification and inspection reports to the Department of Public Health.
- If the property was built later, you must submit proof through a statement of exemption.
Proof of legal occupancy
You must demonstrate that the building is legally occupied under the Zoning and Building Construction and Occupancy Codes. Refer to the Rental License (Proof of Use and Occupancy) information sheet for details on the required documentation and instruction on accessing records.
- You must submit a copy of the Certificate of Occupancy.
- You may submit a prior rental license record if the license was issued in the past three years for the same number of units and there has been no other change to the occupancy.
- Where a Certificate of Occupancy or a prior license record are not available, you can submit a Zoning Permit if the use was established before 2000. You must also submit an Affidavit of Continuous Use.
Tax and code compliance
- You must be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.
- You must not have any outstanding L&I violations.
Where and when
You can apply online using eCLIPSE.
If you need help filing your application online, you can schedule a virtual appointment.
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.
Maximum fee: $25,542
There is no fee for owner-occupied units.
Maximum fee: $25,542.
$185 for a vacant property or lot.
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.
You can apply for this license online using eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center.
Applications are reviewed within five business days.
If the application isn’t approved, you will receive an email stating what is missing or required.
L&I can review most applications while you wait.
This license must be renewed annually. You can renew online through eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center.
To renew, you must:
- Be up to date on all City of Philadelphia taxes.
- Have a valid email address.
- Not having any outstanding L&I violations.
- Follow rules related to lead safety.
Rental Licenses are not transferrable and cannot be renewed by the new owner of a property.