Steps to be a Landlord in PA- Philadelphia

12 Replies

Hi Everyone,

I am new to the landlord business....and I've been doing a lot of research in the past few days to get ready. I've compiled a list of steps that I need to do before I find tenants, and I wanted to see if anyone could see anything missing from this list.

  1. File for a Fictitious Name with the Pennsylvnania Dept. of State Corporation Bureau, and wait for your number.
  2. Apply for an EIN with the IRS.
  3. Set up Bank Account for DBA / Rental Property
  4. Switch from homeowners to landlord insurance
  5. Get an umbrella liability insurance for $1,000,000
  6. Register with PA-100 form (I'm not sure if this is needed for landlords or not...I can't figure that out)
  7. Apply for a Philadelphia Tax Account Number
  8. Apply for a Commercial Activity License
  9. Apply for a Business Income and Receipts Tax Account Number
  10. Get a Registered Agent in the city limits of Philadelphia
  11. Apply for the Philadelphia Housing Inspection License
  12. Receive a Certificate of Rental Suitability issued by L&I
  13. Find a tenant
  14. Distribute a copy of the required "City of Philadelphia Partners by Good Housing" & Lead Warning pamphlets to tenants
  15. Set up an Escrow account to hold tenant's security deposits.
  16. Collect Rent with checks made out to DBA

Did I miss anything??

@Sean Treston

...Step#1 Rid yourself of emotion, j/k (sort of)

You seem to have the administrative side of things figured out. Once the paperwork comes back from the state, items 2-12 can all be done in one day.

I would add enroll in the Philadelphia Gas Works LCP to this. And determine if the water will be in your name or you'll allow the tenant to create an account with PWD.

Number #13) Finding a tenant & run application/background screening are the most involved steps, so that probably deserves its own checklist.

Good luck!

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Originally posted by @Gabe Gordon:

Are you kidding?

Is all that really required in Philly?

Why would anyone want to landlord there.

Some of the stuff is definitely required by the City of Philadelphia, and some of that is only required if you form LLC or DBA.

If I'm not mistaken, the BIRT tax ID is the same as the city tax ID. 

Remember that the City of Philadelphia has its own lead paint disclosure requirements. And that if your tenant has a child below a certain age, lead dust testing is required by the city. 

I'm not certain you would need to file the PA-100. 

Originally posted by @Sean Treston :

Hi Everyone,

I am new to the landlord business....and I've been doing a lot of research in the past few days to get ready. I've compiled a list of steps that I need to do before I find tenants, and I wanted to see if anyone could see anything missing from this list.

  1. File for a Fictitious Name with the Pennsylvnania Dept. of State Corporation Bureau, and wait for your number.

 Could you explain exactly what you mean by "Fictitious Name".  I recently purchased a triplex which is close to completing the required renovations.  You guide is a great help for me.  Thank you for this post. 

Maybe not the best advice but I jumped into the game first and figured out the rest along the way. So far so good.

@Clarence Smith @Steve Babiak @Brandon Eleazer @Sean Treston @Max T.

I'm late to this thread but thought those of you local and active in Philly might have some insight on this.

I am dealing with my first rental in Philly right now and I wanted to ask regarding the step for holding security in Escrow; since I collected last month's rent as well, is that something that also is required in PA/Phila to go into escrow as well? The same as security deposit? Different? Or none at all?

I'd appreciate any insight you had and cared to offer.

It's a good start. Make sure you want to be an LLC as it can cause lending hurdles going forward. You might want to use an online rent collection utility to automate the process: automatic ACH deposits to save trips to the bank, late fee management and rent reminders. Systemize; then systemize some more!

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