How to Get a Housing Rental License in Philadelphia

How to Get a Housing Rental License in Philadelphia

Every landlord or entity that rents-out a residential housing unit in Philadelphia is required to obtain a rental license (formerly known as a housing inspection license).  

 

The rental license itself is one piece of the compliance puzzle. There are prerequisites to being able to get the rental license, and then there are other things you must do or fulfill after you get the actual license.

 

The following is a simple step-by-step guide to walk you through the process of getting your rental license(s):

 

 

Step 1: Obtain a Commercial Activity License and a Philadelphia Business Tax Account Number

 

If you need help obtaining your commercial activity license and housing rental license please click here and fill out the form and our team will get both of your licenses obtained and delivered.

 

 

Step 2: Confirm that You have the Zoning Approval & Certificate of Occupancy for the Property 

 

You will not be able to acquire your housing rental license(s) if you do not have the zoning/use permit for the property in question.

 

 

Step 3: Ensure There Are No Outstanding Violations on the Property

 

The City of Philadelphia will not issue your rental license(s) if there are any outstanding violations assigned to the property.

 

 

Step 4: Make Sure Your Taxes Are Paid-Up

 

The City of Philadelphia will not issue your rental license(s) if there are any taxes owed on the property. 

 

 

Step 5: Lead Paint Due Diligence

 

If the property in question was built prior to 1978 and will be occupied by a group that includes a child under the age of 6 years old, you must take the necessary steps to confirm that the property is lead-free or lead safe. You are held responsible for this by law and will be required to confirm this on the rental license application, as well as required to provide the tenants with certain statements and materials.

 

 

Step 6: Fill Out a Housing Rental License Application

 

 

If you need help obtaining your commercial activity license and housing rental license please click here and fill out the form and our team will get both of your licenses obtained and delivered 

 

Don’t forget: You must renew your housing rental license annually.

 

Hopefully this guide will help you take the steps necessary to get your licenses. If not, we can help.

 

We can do the heavy-lifting for you! It’s a lot of steps and things can fall to the wayside when you try to do it yourself. It doesn’t make much sense to avoid getting it done, as you will be way worse-off in the long run for not doing your due diligence and getting your licenses.

 

Fill out the form to get started.

 


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    Commercial Activity LicensePhilly Tax AccountHousing Rental LicensesBuilding or Zoning PermitsRental License RenewalProperty Violations





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    Philly Zoning Team
    19 Comments
    • Diana T Simmer
      Reply
      Posted at 7:25 pm, March 10, 2018

      Hello,
      I followed your steps but one question. After I gave all info and paid my licenses with a check, for which I have a receipt Now, when and how will I receive my physical copy of my license? I am assuming that city wont issue license until checks clears ?

      Thank you.Diana

      • Alexa Ahrem
        Reply
        Posted at 2:30 pm, March 12, 2018

        Hi Diana– Did you physically go down to L&I to apply? Once paid, the licenses are issued the same day if so.
        If you did it online, the city takes a few weeks to process and issue the licenses. They update the status in your eclipse account.

    • Chelsea
      Reply
      Posted at 9:37 pm, March 13, 2019

      Greetings,

      If I am doing owner occupied renting, would i need to follow all of these steps?

      • Alexa Ahrem
        Reply
        Posted at 12:10 am, May 12, 2019

        Yes, you would.

    • Debra Yanni
      Reply
      Posted at 11:02 pm, April 23, 2019

      Is it now a new law that landlords do Not need a permit to rent? How do I find out if my landlord is claiming me for income?

      • Alexa Ahrem
        Reply
        Posted at 7:38 pm, April 29, 2019

        Every landlord needs a rental license to rent a unit.

    • Brendan Fitzsimmons
      Reply
      Posted at 9:28 am, May 7, 2019

      Do you need to physically go down to L&I to apply or can you do it online? Step 7 says to go there but I no longer live in the area.

      • Alexa Ahrem
        Reply
        Posted at 5:40 pm, May 12, 2019

        You can apply online, although most times the online system doesn’t work for new license applications. If you are out of the area, we would be happy to get you set up with anything you need!

    • Brendan Fitzsimmons
      Reply
      Posted at 6:03 pm, May 7, 2019

      Do you physically need to go to L&I to apply or can you do it online? I moved and I am no longer living in the area. Thanks!

    • Lisa M
      Reply
      Posted at 5:26 pm, July 19, 2019

      Hello. If the property’s deed lists three names, can those three names be on the rental license? If so, what steps need to be taken?

      • Alexa Ahrem
        Reply
        Posted at 9:34 pm, August 28, 2019

        Hi Lisa– If the owner in the city’s system has those three names on it, then they can be on the rental licenses. Please fill out a project help request form on our website if you are interested in working together! Thanks!

    • Julie Schmidt
      Reply
      Posted at 6:14 pm, October 22, 2019

      We are an LLC and have a Land Contract with the current resident. We are simply carrying the note they are the actual buyer of the home. Are we still required to obtain a rental license?

      • Alexa Ahrem
        Reply
        Posted at 4:51 pm, October 24, 2019

        Rental licenses are required to be obtained by the owner if any units are being rented out to tenants, and are required to be renewed annually.

    • karoline kelsen
      Reply
      Posted at 1:02 am, June 5, 2020

      How do you get these licenses when all of the city offices are closed?

      • Alexa Ahrem
        Reply
        Posted at 8:16 pm, August 13, 2020

        You can obtain them online through the city’s eclipse system.

    • Posted at 8:02 pm, July 26, 2020

      I brought a 3 story home that the old sellers made into a duplex which I will be renting each out. My question is, do I need to form an llc in PA and get an Ein for each unit and file for a license for each unit even if it’s the same house just a wall separating the families?

      • Alexa Ahrem
        Reply
        Posted at 8:18 pm, August 13, 2020

        You will need housing rental licenses in order to be compliant. In order to get a housing rental license, you also need a Commercial Activity License and BIRT account as well. So yes, if it is a duplex, you need licenses and appropriate accounts. Even if it was a single family, you still need the licenses in order to be legally compliant when renting.

    • Jess
      Reply
      Posted at 1:41 pm, August 9, 2020

      Hi – if you have an owner occupied duplex and renting the (1) unit – do you know how to claim the exemption of the fee through the Eclipse system? I can’t seem to get that to work out.

      • Alexa Ahrem
        Reply
        Posted at 8:19 pm, August 13, 2020

        Hi Jess, you will have to reach out directly to licenses and inspections permit help for assistance on that one!

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