When deciding whether to become an Airbnb host, it is important for you to understand the laws in your city. As a platform and marketplace we do not provide legal advice, but we want to give you some useful links that may help you better understand laws and regulations in Philadelphia. This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you a good start in understanding your local laws. If you have questions, contact the City Planning Commission or other city agencies directly, or consult a local lawyer or tax professional.
- Short-term Rental Ordinance. In July 2015, an amendment to the Philadelphia Code went into effect permitting short-term rentals in any dwelling unit provided that the operator of the short-term rental complies with certain conditions. These conditions include obtaining a permit if the listing is rented for more than 90 days a year. Please review Section 14-604 of the Code for more information.
- Zoning and Planning Code. Title 14 of the Philadelphia Code governs most land use in Philadelphia. You should consult this to see if your listing is consistent with any zoning requirements or use definitions. Important terms include “bed and breakfast,” “booking agent,” “dwelling unit,” “group housing,” “household living,” “limited lodging,” and “visitor accommodations.”
- Hotel Taxes. Hosts renting any form of overnight temporary lodging in Philadelphia are required to collect certain hotel taxes from guests. Airbnb collects and remits hotel taxes in Philadelphia; more information about that process is available here.
- Business Registration and Tax. Section 14-604 of the Code does not contain any specific provisions requiring operators of short-term rentals to obtain a separate commercial activity license for short-term rental activity. Other provisions of the Code require certain businesses in Philadelphia to get a commercial activity license from the Department of Licenses and Inspections, and pay a business tax. The City summarizes the process for obtaining this license here. Please review Chapters 19-2600 and 19-3800 of the Philadelphia Code to see if your listing requires registration and/or payment of business taxes. More information is available on the Department of Revenue’s website here.
- Housing Rental License. Chapter 9-3900 of the Philadelphia Code provides that any unit rented for overnight stay must have a valid rental license. The provision also contains an exception for owners operating a short-term rental unit out of their primary home. Other operators of short-term rental units may be required to obtain a rental license if the unit does not already have a valid rental license. The application process may include a review or inspection to make sure the unit complies with zoning regulations.
- Building and Housing Standards. Philadelphia has rules and regulations specifying minimum construction, design, and maintenance standards for buildings, including regulations on habitability, health, and safety. Certain regulations applicable to residential and non-residential uses may be relevant to your listing. Please see Title 4 of the Philadelphia Code. In addition, short-term rentals units must comply with certain requirements set forth in Section 14-604 of the Code.
- Other Rules. It is also important to understand and follow other contracts or rules, such as leases, condo board or co-op rules, HOA rules, or rules established by tenant organizations. Please read your lease agreement and check with your landlord if applicable.
We are committed to working with local officials to help them understand how Airbnb benefits our community. Where needed, we will continue to advocate for changes that will allow regular people to rent out their own homes.
Last updated: July 17, 2015