Philadelphia specific rental rules

6 Replies

Good morning,

I was wondering if anyone knows of any specific rules in Philly for rentals. I am planning to rent out a spare room or two in my house and wanted to see if there were any specific clauses that I might need to include in a lease. I was planning to use the BP state specific lease, but know from prior rentals that sometimes cities can be more restrictive. Any suggestions for rules, resources or websites would be greatly appreciated.



@Lana Lee

I have never rented rooms. However, I think the only difference will be if you are renting a room out of your primary residence. Most-likely in that case you do not have to pay for rental license.  Everything else should apply to any residential rentals since you will need the same papers in order to evict. 

@Yuriy Skripnichenko and @Lana Lee Do either of you know anyone who has rented out rooms in their primary residence (i.e. a roommate) while they continue to live there? I have a 4 bedroom house and I am only using one, so I wanted to rent out one or two of the others while my husband is stationed overseas for 9 months.  I tried calling 311 to figure out what I would need to do in this situation.

First the guy told me I would need to rezone my house to a duplex. This makes no sense, since my home is a single family and does not have a separate entrance.

The next thing he told me was that I would need to create a company, lease the house to myself and put the other roommates on that lease in order to charge them rent. This also seems to make no sense, because I would be both the lessee and lessor on the document. I am sure that most people just put it on Craigslist and call it a day. I just want to make sure that I am reporting the income on my taxes properly.

@Maureen Campbell

I do not have anyone who rents a room out of their property. However what the 311 representatives told you is complete BS. You do not need to rezone anything nor you need a company (unless if you want to or if that benefits you for tax purposes).

You may need to have business income receipt tax account with the city of philadelphia. I'd go to the municipal building and talk to people there. 

Also reporting your rental income on your taxes has nothing to do with the property zoning nor rental license.