Airbnb owners in Philadelphia are facing code violation complaints if they do not comply with the City’s new licensing requirements for the short-term rentals.
Starting on January 1, 2023, people renting out their units on Airbnb, VRBO, and other short-term rental sites had to start obtaining proper licenses to operate as “limited lodging operators.” Those owners who have not obtained the proper licensure may now receive code violation complaints from the City of Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I).
While the license fee is currently only $125, the license also requires hosts to follow other requirements, such as living in the unit for a certain percentage of the time. Owners who do not live in the units they’re renting must obtain a hotel license. Hotel licenses are much more difficult to obtain and may require applying for a zoning variance.
Owners also must provide their license numbers to online brokers such as Airbnb. Those companies are also now responsible for helping to enforce Philadelphia’s regulations in order to list their properties online. In fact, Airbnb hosts in Philadelphia recently received email notifications from the company, alerting them that the City of Philadelphia has issued a subpoena to obtain certain records about online hosts in order to crack down on unlicensed operators.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, only 409 limited lodging operator licenses have been issued, but industry experts estimate that there are about 3,000 short-term rental hosts in Philadelphia, and most do not have permits. Those who continue to operate without the necessary permits risk being taken to court by the City, having to pay steep fines, or possibly having their short-term rental businesses shut down completely.
Kenny, Burns & McGill represents many different people and companies for alleged code enforcement violations in Philadelphia. Our firm also provides other real estate legal services that are important to Airbnb hosts, including zoning appeals, ejectments, and tax appeals.
Are you a short-term rental owner looking for help with your legal issue? Contact Kenny, Burns & McGill today for a free consultation: message us here or call/text (215) 423-5500.