City Resources

The City of Philadelphia offers its residents a wealth of municipal resources ranging from low-cost legal services to social community events. The list below is only a snapshot of the organizations that can support your off-campus living experience.

Legal Resources

For information on tenant advocacy groups and court procedures, please visit the Legal Resources page under Tenant/Landlord Relationship.

University City District

University City District is a partnership of world-renowned anchor institutions, small businesses and residents that creates opportunity, improves economic vitality and quality of life in the University City neighborhood of West Philadelphia. This organization strives to invest in world-class public spaces, address crime and public safety, bring life to commercial corridors, connect low-income residents to careers and promote job growth and innovation.

3940-42 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
215-243-0555
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universitycity.org

Center City District/Central Philadelphia Development Corporation

The CCD and CPDC share a mission to enhance the vitality of the Center City neighborhood as a thriving downtown and a great place to live, work or have fun. These organizations promote social engagement opportunities, develop resources for business entrepreneurs  and are committed to making Center City a safe, clean and beautiful neighborhood to work, shop, dine and play.

Public Ledger Building
660 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-440-5500
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www.centercityphila.org

Department of Licenses and Inspections

The City of Philadelphia has set minimum health, safety and maintenance standards for houses and apartments. Keeping the housing in our city up to the standards involves a partnership between tenant, landlord and the city. The Department of Licenses and Inspections strives to be the nation’s leading code enforcement agency by exercising the highest level of integrity in its interpretation and application of the city’s building, maintenance and safety codes. To provide the best customer service and operations systems possible, the Department of Licenses and Inspections has several divisions that govern code and regulation enforcement, residential and commercial licensing, permits and certificates, zoning and appeals.

Municipal Services Building
1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19102
215-686-2463
www.phila.gov/li

Licensing

Anyone who offers a dwelling unit or rooming unit for rent must obtain proper licenses from the Department of Licenses and Inspections. There are three categories of such licenses that the department issues and each has somewhat different requirements: Residential Rental, Multiple-Family Dwelling and Rooming House.

The owner of any rental dwelling unit or rooming unit cannot legally collect rent without having the required licenses. An owner cannot proceed with an eviction without the proper licensing. 

Residential Licenses

A Residential Rental License is required of any person who offers a one-family dwelling, two-family dwelling (duplex) or a rooming unit in either of these, for rent.
  • Owners who rent out a single family dwelling must have a Residential Rental License, a Business Privilege License and a Business Tax Number.
  • Owners of two-family dwellings must have a Residential Rental License, a Business Privilege License, Business Tax Number and Zoning approval, even if the owner occupies one of the units.
  • Only one Business Privilege License and one Business Tax Number is required, no matter how many rental properties a person has. The Business Privilege License fee is a one time fee.
  • Each time a dwelling unit is rented to a new tenant, the owner must give the tenant a written statement certifying that the rental unit is licensed, and listing the license number.

Multiple-Family Dwelling Licenses

A Multiple-Family Dwelling License is required of any person who operates a multiple-family dwelling (three or more dwelling units), whether rental, cooperative or condominium.
  • Owners of multiple-family dwellings must have a Multiple-Family Dwelling License, a Business Privilege License, a Business Tax Number and Zoning approval.
  • Only one Business Privilege license and one Business Tax Number is required of one person, no matter how many properties a person has. The Business Privilege License fee is a one-time fee.
  • Each time a dwelling unit is rented to a new tenant, the owner must give the tenant a written statement certifying that the rental unit is licensed, and listing the license number.
  • The owner of a multiple-family dwelling is required to name a managing agent over the age of eighteen years to receive service of notices, orders of summonses issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections.
The managing agent is required to have a residence or a regularly attended business office within the City of Philadelphia. If the owner meets these qualifications, he or she may be designated the managing agent.

Rooming House Licenses

A Rooming House License is required of any person who operates a rooming house, dormitory or hotel.
  • Owners of rooming houses, dormitories and hotels must have a Rooming House License, a Business Privilege License, a Business Tax Number and Zoning approval.
  • Only one Business Privilege License and one Business Tax Number is requested of one person, no matter how many rental properties a person has. The Business Privilege License fee is a one time fee.
  • Each time a rooming unit is rented to a new tenant, the owner must give the tenant a written statement certifying that the rental unit is licensed, and listing the license number.
  • The owner of a rooming house, dormitory or hotel is required to name a managing agent over the age of eighteen years to receive service of notices, orders or summonses issued by the Department of Licenses and inspections.
The managing agent is required to have a residence or a regularly attended business office within the City of Philadelphia. If the owner meets these qualifications, he or she may be designated the managing agent.