Renters License - When to acquire? (Philadelphia)

10 Replies

BP Community,

I close on two SFH in approximately one month (BTW - This will be my first deal!!!). Both properties currently have tenants that would like to stay. They are currently on month to month leases, but my intention is to have them sign new leases (6 - 12 months). My question is regarding the renters license that is required in the City of Philadelphia. I will not own the properties until after closing/settlement, and will be in the middle of the month when this is complete. Therefore, I am at a lost as to when should I apply for the license. Has anyone else been in a similar situation? When should I apply for the license?

Any information and advise would be greatly appreciated.


The license for the current year should already be bought and paid for by the landlord who currently has the properties rented out.  You will get mailed renewal letters every year when it is time to pay, and your check of the single family rental box that comes with it and mail in the check.  I do most investing outside the city in delaware county, but i would think there is an inspection they do yearly as a run though to check for smoke detectors and things of the like. ( at least that what they do in Delco ) when they are due, you'll know for sure

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Check the city website

search for the property, and look up the license and permit. It will tell you when the rental expires. 

@Connor Eichman

They stoped mailing out renewal notices in Philly (I got non this year). Also you can renew your licenses online, you don't have to mail checks. And we do not have inspections done unless someone reports you to L&I. 

@Kenneth C.

Even if current owner has rental license you still want to have your name on the license, not his/her. You'd be able to apply for the license the same day as you closing. You will need to bring along with your application a copy of your closing statement or deed to L&I. You can find the process of how to here:

Kenneth C.,  You will need a business license ( free of charge) before you can obtain a rental license.  Once you settle on the property you should take the paperwork to City Hall and file for the paper license.  The City understands there can be a lapse in time between obtaining a property and filing the paper work so they will give you an inch.  Just be sure you don't try and take a mile.

Also,  I am not sure where @Yuriy Skripnichenko is getting his information about inspections.  But the inspections are on a rotating system, most properties come up for inspection every 3 to 4 years, some sooner.  I have gone through a number of inspections, and it was not because I was reported to L&I.  I have a relative who works for L&I, where my source of information comes from as well as experience.

Thanks @Paulette Midgette for the info re: inspections and the business license. Concerning the license, I've had one for a little over a year now.

Rental license should be still be in place at purchase.  There will be a renewal date on it.  Usually it is February and then they changed that to renewing on the date they are renewed.  Dan or Joe at TCS MGT will be able to give you more information on the rental license than you care to know.  They deal with it all the time.  

@Paulette Midgette

Good to know. Are they doing inspections when renewing/applying for a license or any time when the time comes for the property to be inspected? 

I guess I was lucky and haven't had inspections when applying or renewing my licenses. However I had inspections done because of "nice" tenants that reported to L&I

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