L&I Newsletter - January 2022


L&I rises to challenge as permit applications submitted in record numbers in advance of tax abatement changes

As 2021 came to a close, L&I plans examiners had processed a volume of new construction permit applications that exceeded the average by 65 percent. While demands on the L&I permitting unit did intensify in December, the unit managed a notably high workload all year despite continuing difficulties caused by the ongoing pandemic.

Acting L&I Commissioner Ralph DiPietro recognized L&I's plans examination staff and supervisors for the extraordinary dedication, and expertise they showed in their prompt and thorough handling of this avalanche of applications. The Acting Commissioner also thanked L&I's partners at the Department of Streets, Philadelphia Water Department, and Department of Planning and Development for their diligent efforts to process the approvals and other prerequisites needed before L&I permit issuance.


L&I Information sessions

Space is still available. The Department is offering regular information sessions to assist stakeholders in navigating L&I processes and keeping abreast of code changes. The list of current offerings is provided below. Customers can also sign-up for these and future webinars online under the “Events” section of the L&I homepage (www.phila.gov/li).

Changes in the 2018 Residential Code webinar

This 1-hour webinar will be an overview of the significant changes in the 2018 Residential Code.

This webinar will be held from 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm on Tuesday, March 15th via Zoom. Please register if you are interested in attending this information session.

eCLIPSE Q&A session

This is a 90-minute open Q&A session intended to address specific permit application questions for users with some experience using eCLIPSE.

This session will be held from 9:30 am - 11:00 am on Tuesday, February 15, 2022 via Zoom. Please register if you are interested in attending this information session.

eCLIPSE permitting and licensing basics webinar

This 2-hour public training session will cover the basics of filing license and permit applications through the online portal. This webinar is an introductory session intended for new users.

This session will be held from 9:00 am - 11:00 am on Wednesday, February 23, 2022 via Zoom. Please register if you are interested in attending this information session.

Note: Capacity is limited and, in order to accommodate all stakeholders, we need your help. We ask that you only register if you plan on attending the sessions and, if your circumstances change, please cancel your registration.


Process change for zoning permit extensions

The submission process for Zoning Permits that are eligible for an extension has changed. Applicants that wish to extend an eligible zoning permit can submit their request online or in-person using the applicable application forms noted below:

  • For by-right permits issued and/or Zoning Board of Adjustment approvals, granted on or before March 13, 2020:

  • Customers submitting in-person must complete a Zoning/Use Registration Permit application and select the same permit type as the original permit (i.e. New construction, sign, etc.).

  • Customers submitting online must complete the same permit type as the original permit (i.e. New construction, sign, etc.).

  • For permits issued after March 13, 2020:

Important note: The period of expiration for zoning permits is defined in Section 14-303(10) of the Philadelphia Zoning Code, outlined in Code Bulletin Z-1901, and referenced on the permit. Zoning permit expiration dates as established under Section 14-303(10) are NOT superseded by entries in the electronic permit application record.

Refer to the Zoning permit extension information sheet for more information.

Adoption of 2021 accessibility provisions are now in effect

At our webinar session, presented on January 19, 2022, L&I provided an overview of the significant accessibility changes in the 2021 I-codes. The slides from this presentation is available on the website. For additional information, please refer to the following resources:


Rental license category

Rental renewal applications for more than two (2) units and all new rental license applications must identify the use classification from the following categories:

  • Residential Dwellings
  • Rooming House / Boarding House
  • Hotel
  • Assisted Living
  • Dormitories
  • Other. If "other" is selected, the applicant must enter text that specifies what is meant by "other".

Please note that this information is only required to be provided once and any use must be validated through a Zoning Permit and/or a Certificate of Occupancy. This rental license classification does not supersede any other applicable laws.

Please allow additional time in renewing your rental license to accommodate this additional step.

City diversion program required for landlords seeking eviction

Under new legislation, as of January 10, 2022 landlords must participate in the City's Eviction Diversion Program before they can file a court case to evict a residential tenant. Landlords must:

  • Apply for the Diversion program on the Department of Planning and Development website, here.

  • Participate in mediation and make good faith efforts to come to a mutually beneficial agreement with the tenant instead of proceeding with eviction.

See https://eviction-diversion.phila.gov/#/ for more information and reach out to EvictionDiversionProgram@coraservices.org with any questions.

Outdoor dining in 2022

Legislation enacted at the end of last year authorizes the City to issue permanent licenses for streeteries in the parking lane in designated areas of the city, beginning March 2022. The Streets Department and this newsletter will provide information about applying for a permanent streetery license as the information becomes available.

The Philadelphia Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability has issued a memorandum explaining the status of streeteries that were established under temporary licenses, including those located outside the areas designated for permanent streeteries. Refer to the memorandum for more information.


Construction certifications "hold" type in eCLIPSE

As a reminder, certification information for construction permits may now be found in one location. The construction inspections page of the L&I website includes a list of all permit inspection certifications and the conditions that trigger submission by permit type.

As of January 1, 2022, all permits have a specific hold type and the contractor must upload the certification to the associated "hold". Contact the Department using the online help form if the "hold" does not appear in the permit.

Important change to mechanical HVAC certifications:

In lieu of the Manual J and S reports, contractors must complete and upload the newly created HVAC equipment certification form to verify the building loads and equipment sizing for new, one-or-two family dwellings.

Mid-rise sprinkler provision

The mid-rise sprinkler ordinance, signed by the Mayor in 2018, requires all buildings 45 feet or more in height to have an automatic sprinkler system installed in the basements and level of exit discharge by January 1, 2022. The department will begin inspecting applicable buildings for compliance.

Updated timeline for repairs of facades, piers, and private bridges

L&I has rescinded a regulation requiring that repairs to facades, piers, and private bridges be completed within six months when a qualified professional has assessed the structure as "safe with repair & maintenance program". Instead, the repairs must be carried out within the timeframe designated by the professional or by such time necessary to prevent a condition from becoming an unsafe condition, whichever is sooner.

Going forward, professional engineers must submit these revised summary inspection forms online to document their assessments.

For more information on property maintenance certifications, please refer to the website.


Development impact tax now in effect

A Development Impact Tax (DIT) passed by Council went into effect on January 1, 2022. Building permit applicants must now pay a 1% tax on the value of residential new construction and improvements that are eligible for a real estate tax abatement and cost more than $15,000. Fifty percent of the tax is payable upon permit issuance and the other 50% is payable before finalization of the permit and issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). ECLIPSE will hold the permit and CO until the applicant resolves the holds by documenting DIT payment.

Fire suppression worker licenses

Fire Suppression Worker - Specialty License: This license is required for the annual inspection of water-based fire protections. Fire suppression workers can apply for this license now, but it is not required until March 15, 2022.

Fire Suppression Worker - Kitchen Fire Extinguishing System License: This license is limited to those who only perform work on commercial kitchen fire extinguishing systems. Individuals can apply for this license now, but this license cannot be used to perform this work until March 15, 2022.

Note: You can continue to work on commercial kitchen fire extinguishing systems if you possess a Fire Suppression Systems Worker License.

Site violation notice penalties

L&I inspectors are currently issuing Warning Notices. They will begin issuing Site Violation Notices with financial penalties, starting July 1, 2022. For more information about these Warning Notices, Site Violation Notices and other L&I violations, please refer to the website.

New ordinance impacting commercial lease agreements

In accordance with Bill No. 210917, starting March 18, 2022, commercial lessors will be required to provide certain disclosures to tenants before entering into lease agreements with them. Look out for more information in future editions of the newsletter.

Update to limited lodging (short-term) requirements
Bill No. 210081, signed by the Mayor in 2021, changes the existing licensing and Zoning Code requirements for owners or renters that offer their homes as limited lodging rentals in Philadelphia. Starting April 1, 2022, the following licenses will be required:

  • Limited Lodging Operator License
  • Limited Lodging and Hotels Booking Agent License

For more information on the upcoming license changes, refer to Bill No. 210081. For more information on the zoning requirements, refer to the short-term rental FAQ.

Back issues of the L&I Newsletters are available on the L&I website under Resources.