1. Licensing
  2. Forms
  3. FAQs
  1. Download Your Step-by-step Guide to Rental Property Licensing
  2. Obtain your Commercial Activity License
  3. Obtain your Housing Inspection / Rental License
  1. Sign up for PGW’s Landlord Cooperation Program
  2. Complete Peco’s Always Revert Form
  1. What Is A Commercial Activity License?
  2. Why Do I Need A Housing Inspection / Rental License?
  3. Do I Need A Landlord Insurance Policy?
  4. When Will I Receive My Rental Disbursements?

When it comes to being a landlord, there are several licenses the city requires for your rental property. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process.

Download Your Step-by-step Guide to Rental Properties

The first step is to obtain a Philadelphia Tax account number – visit the Philadelphia Department of Revenue’s site here where you can apply online. If you own the property under your personal name, you will use your SSN. If you own it under an entity name, like an LLC, you will use your company’s EIN. Keep the tax account number which you will obtain handy as you’ll need it for the next step in the process. If the property is owned by more than one person, each person needs to apply for their own commercial activity license separately. A married couple can, however, share the same business tax account number.

 

Please direct any tax related questions to your accountant as we are unable to advise on any tax implications.

 

The second step is to use the eclipse system to apply online for your commercial activity license – register  here.

 

A rental license is required on a per unit basis for all rental properties. (The Rental License is formerly known as the Housing Inspection License). The initial application may be submitted by online through the City of Philadelphia’s eclipse system or in paper form, (view the Eclipse Brochure.)  The rental license fee is $55 per unit. A single-family home, for example, would be considered 1 unit.

 

If the property is owned by more than one person, you should each first have separate commercial activity licenses, and then once you do, you will put both owners’ names on the same Rental License application, along with both of your license numbers.

 

If you as the owner of the property reside outside the City of Philadelphia, you are required to list an agent on the Rental License application. This agent will receive city notices, orders, & summonses. A representative of JG Real Estate will sign section 16 of the application to act as agent as part of our property management service.

 

Rental Licenses need to be renewed annually which can most easily be done through your eclipse login. Each time a tenant rents your unit, you are required to provide them with a Certificate of Rental Suitability (free and easy to get here), but if you don’t have a current Rental License, you will not be able to obtain the certificate, so it is important to keep it up to date.

 

For a guide on how to obtain each license mentioned above, visit the Licensing Section of this page, or click here.

Most likely, your tenants will be responsible for having electricity & gas utilities in their names throughout their lease, but there are steps you can take in order to make sure it reverts back to your name when they move out so that service is not interrupted during periods of vacancy. Use these links to ensure a smooth transition between tenants, and download our helpful guide for getting your rental property ready to list.

Sign up for PGW’s Landlord Cooperation Program

Most likely, your tenants will be responsible for having electricity & gas utilities in their names throughout their lease, but there are steps you can take in order to make sure it reverts back to your name when they move out so that service is not interrupted during periods of vacancy. Use these links to ensure a smooth transition between tenants, and download our helpful guide for getting your rental property ready to list.

Complete Peco’s Always Revert Form

A commercial activity license is required for ALL for profit businesses operating in Philadelphia. Yes, you as an individual real estate investor with only a handful of properties or maybe just one property, qualify as a business. Therefore, you must get a commercial activity license. Luckily the license can be obtained completely online through the Department of Licenses & Inspections and is FREE. The predecessor to the Philadelphia commercial activity license was called the “business privilege license” and had cost $300.

 

If the property is owned by more than one person, each person needs to apply for their own commercial activity license.

 

You also need the commercial activity license in order to apply for the Housing Inspection / Rental License and receive the required certificates of rental suitability for new tenants.

In order to legally rent a property in the City of Philadelphia a valid Rental License is required. From time to time proof of your Rental License will be requested. The most frequent example is enrollment in the PGW Landlord Cooperation program – in order to register you will need to provide your license number. Additionally, if you are ever in the unfortunate situation of having to evict a tenant, you may not be able to collect lost rent for any period of time where you did not have the appropriate license.

 

Each time a tenant rents your unit, you are required to provide them with a Certificate of Rental Suitability (free and easy to get here), but if you don’t have a current Rental License, you will not be able to obtain the certificate, so it is important to keep it up to date.

This question comes up often when a property owner has been living in the unit, decides to move somewhere else and then wants to rent it out for the first time. Yes, you absolutely need to have a landlord’s insurance policy. This is just a homeowner’s insurance policy with different coverage specifications. Your tenants may have renter’s insurance, but that only covers their own personal belongings incase something happens and is in no way a substitute for a policy of your own. You still need a landlord policy to cover the property itself, personal liability, etc.  There are even policy options and riders which cover things like vandalism and rent guarantees. Switching your homeowner’s policy to a landlord’s policy should be a very quick and easy call to your current insurance provider, but if you’d like quotes or referrals for a new insurance agent, we can recommend someone.

 

If you are a management client, we will need to be added as an additional insured party to your landlord policy. Additional insured is not the same as additional interest. Additional interest means we are simply kept apprised of policy changes; additional insured means we are actually afforded coverage in the event of a claim.

 

If you are a property management client, you know that we as the management company will first collect the rent from your tenants each month, and then send it along to you.  When exactly you can expect to receive it depends on a few factors, mainly being when we receive it. Leases have different rent due dates and grace periods. Typically when we are the ones writing the lease, we have rent due on the 1st and only allow a grace period of 2 days before late fees begin to accrue. We send out disbursements as soon as the funds are available. It needs to clear from the tenants’ bank account to ours, and then from ours to yours (one of the reasons why we have such a strict grace period and heavy late fees in our leases is because we are trying to cut down on the time it takes you to receive your funds). Because our properties have varying lease terms and due dates, we make multiple rental disbursements throughout a month, so no client needs to wait to receive whats due to them. In general, you can expect to receive your money about a week after we have received it from the tenants, at most.

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