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How to Obtain a Philadelphia Rental License

Do you need a rental license for your Philadelphia investment property? Obtaining a Philadelphia rental license requires several compliance items to get started, but Bay Property Management Group Philadelphia can guide you in the process.

how to get a Philadelphia rental license

Things To Do Before the Rental License


There are items you will need in hand when you go to apply to get a rental license as a Philadelphia landlord. Avoid having your application denied by following these steps:

  1. Commercial Activity License and Business Tax Account Number: This license is required for all companies to run their business in Philadelphia legally. The good news is, this license is free of charge. You can fill out the application online for your Commercial Activity License — it also includes your Business Tax Account application on the same form. If you fill out a physical copy, you’ll then bring it to the local Revenue Department. They will review and provide you with your tax ID number. Finally, you need to take the application over to the License and Inspections department. Here, you’ll provide them with the application, as well as the tax ID number, and the application will be processed.
  2. Zoning Approval: Before being able to get a rental license, you will need zoning approval. The Philadelphia Zoning Code regulates how property use within the city. You can get approval and certificate of zoning from the Zoning Board of Adjustments.
  3. Certificate of Occupancy: You will also need to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy. You should receive this certificate with the purchase of the property. If not, you can get this certificate by contacting the local Building Permits office. New Occupancy Certificates are only needed for construction and other items not pertinent to your rent.
  4. Outstanding Property Violations: Check to be sure there are no outstanding property violations for the property you wish to rent out. These may include; lack of zoning permits, violations due to upgraded property without city zoning approval, infestations, and more. Check with your local department for a full list to verify your property is free of violations.
  5. Property Taxes: Obtain proof of paid property taxes. No further explanation needed!

Steps to Obtain a Philadelphia Rental License 

Applying for a Philadelphia Rental License:

  • Fill out the housing rental application license. This is available online or in-person at the License and Inspections office.
  • Complete the application and bring it to the Licenses and Inspections office with all the requested proof and information listed on the form.
  • You will receive any final certifications and approvals, along with the license,  after the department fully processes your application.

After the Rental License:

  • Notify tenants of the license and provide them a copy as well as a copy of the New Housing book.
  • Be sure to follow all guidelines in the New Housing Book to provide a livable and safe home for tenants.
  • Follow all local housing laws and nondiscrimination laws. Research these and speak with a lawyer or property management company to be positive your rental is fully compliant. The last thing you need is legal trouble when renting your first home!

Renting Your Philadelphia Investment Property

As we just mentioned, the last thing you want is legal trouble for simply not understanding the laws and regulations of renting a property. With that said, we highly recommend consulting a Philadelphia property management company to assist you through this process. They’ll be able to assist you in obtaining all initial documents and licenses plus provide on-going property management services.

How Can a Property Manager Help with My Rental Property?

  • Marketing and Leasing Services
  • Vacancy Management
  • Lease Renewals and Tenant Retention
  • Tenant Screening
  • Rent Collection
  • Eviction Services
  • Property Compliance
  • Property Maintenance
  • Financial Reporting

Bay Property Management Group Philadelphia offers full-service property management along with cutting edge technology and superior customer service! Contact us today for a free property analysis.