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.