Complete House Renting Guide For Philadelphia, PA – 2024

Understanding Philadelphia’s Rental Market

Philadelphia offers a wide variety of rental options that cater to different budgets and preferences. Whether one is looking for a modern apartment in downtown or a charming row house in historic neighborhoods, the city has it all.

In Upper North Philadelphia, the average one-bedroom apartment rents for $925, showing a notable 61% rise compared to last year.

Rittenhouse Square and University City remain popular areas, with rents for one-bedroom apartments rising slightly to $2,200 and $2,386 respectively.

For those seeking more affordable housing, Lower North Philadelphia and Brewerytown present viable options.

Rental Prices By Neighborhood:

NeighborhoodAverage Rent (1-bedroom)
Upper North$925
Rittenhouse Square$2,200
University City$2,386
Lower NorthMore affordable
BrewerytownMore affordable

Rental prices are also influenced by supply, demand, and economic trends. Seasonal fluctuations play an important role in these changes, and renters might notice different prices during peak and off-peak seasons.

Renting a house in Philadelphia varies greatly, with prices ranging from $150 to $24,300, and a median rent of $1,650 in May 2024. This makes it essential to understand the market dynamics to make an informed decision.

Philadelphia’s rental market is diverse. From sleek high-rise apartments downtown to historic row houses, it offers options for everyone.

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Guide to Philadelphia Neighborhoods

Philadelphia boasts a variety of neighborhoods, each offering its own unique flair and amenities. Whether you’re looking for a bustling city vibe or a quieter suburban feel, you’ll find it in one of these communities.

Center City and Surrounding Areas

Center City is the heart of Philadelphia, featuring iconic landmarks like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. It’s home to the historic Old City, known for its cobblestone streets and cultural attractions. The area is highly walkable with a Walk Score of 97. For dining and entertainment, South Street and Broad Street offer a plethora of options. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $2,580, making it one of the pricier sections in Philly.

West Philadelphia

West Philadelphia is famous for its greenery and educational institutions, notably the University of Pennsylvania. This area offers a mix of student housing and residential spaces. Chestnut Street is a popular thoroughfare, packed with eateries and shops. Renters here will find a vibrant community and diverse food and entertainment options. The average rent tends to be more affordable compared to Center City, attracting students and young professionals alike.

North Philadelphia

North Philadelphia has seen significant revitalization in recent years. Key streets like N 18th St and Bailey St have become hubs for new developments. People can also find affordable housing options in neighborhoods such as Strawberry Mansion and Brewerytown. Despite its historical challenges, the area now boasts emerging trendy spots and a diverse demographic, making it a rapidly changing part of the city worth watching.


Roxborough-Manayunk offers a more suburban atmosphere while still being close to the city’s vibrant core. Roxborough, near Shurs Ln, provides picturesque landscapes and outdoor activities. Manayunk, on the other hand, features Napa St with boutique shops and a lively nightlife. It’s one of Philadelphia’s safer neighborhoods with low crime rates. The average rent price is around $1,898, appealing to families and individuals seeking a quieter lifestyle.

South Philadelphia

South Philadelphia is known for its deeply-rooted communities and cultural heritage. Areas along Broad St and within the 19145 ZIP code offer a mix of row homes and newer constructions. Italian Market, one of the oldest outdoor markets in the U.S., is a popular destination. The area also provides easy access to the city’s sports complexes. Rental prices here are relatively moderate, making it an attractive option for those looking to immerse in the city’s local culture.

Starting Your Search for a Rental Property

Finding the perfect rental property in Philadelphia can be streamlined by using specific filtering options, leveraging the expertise of real estate professionals, and employing effective keyword search techniques.

Filtering Options for Optimal Results

When searching for rentals in Philadelphia, it’s crucial to use filters to narrow down choices. Most rental websites like Redfin and Zillow offer filtering options based on price range, number of bedrooms, pet policies, and amenities like laundry facilities or a dishwasher.

  • Price: Set a range you’re comfortable with to avoid seeing properties outside your budget.
  • Bedrooms/Bathrooms: Filter by the number of beds and baths to suit your needs.
  • Amenities: Select important amenities such as in-unit laundry, parking, and dishwashers.
  • Location: Use maps to focus on preferred neighborhoods.

These filters help in quickly identifying suitable properties without sifting through hundreds of irrelevant listings.

Using Real Estate Professionals

Engaging with property managers or realtors® can provide a significant advantage. Zillow indicates that professionals often have access to listings not yet available to the public and can schedule viewings promptly.

  • Expert Advice: Realtors® provide insights into market trends and rental prices.
  • Negotiation: They can assist in negotiating better lease terms or rental prices.
  • Local Knowledge: Professionals familiar with Philadelphia can recommend neighborhoods that suit your lifestyle and commuting needs.

Utilizing the services of real estate professionals can save time and offer peace of mind, ensuring you make an informed decision.

Keyword Search Techniques

Using effective keyword search techniques can improve the efficiency of finding rentable properties. Websites like Zumper and Rent.com allow keyword searches to refine results.

  • Specific Terms: Use terms like “2 bedroom in Rittenhouse Square” or “pet-friendly rental with laundry” to find tailored results.
  • Neighborhoods: Including the name of specific areas (e.g., “Center City” or “Fishtown”) helps isolate search results to preferred locations.
  • Amenities: Keywords like “parking,” “dishwasher,” or “gym” ensure the search results include essential features.

These techniques help in pinpointing properties that match exact criteria, ensuring a more efficient search process.

Understanding Lease Agreements in Philly

Lease agreements in Philadelphia cover several important aspects like security deposits, landlord-tenant laws, and common clauses and policies that every renter and landlord should know about.

Security Deposits and Other Fees

In Philadelphia, security deposits cannot exceed two months’ rent during the first year of leasing. After the initial year, the deposit must be reduced to one month’s rent. Landlords must return the security deposit within 30 days after the tenant moves out. If deductions are made for damages or unpaid rent, a detailed list must be provided.

Landlords may charge other fees, including application fees and pet fees. However, these must be clearly stated in the lease agreement. Tenants should ensure they fully understand all fees before signing.

Philadelphia Landlord-Tenant Laws

Philadelphia has specific landlord-tenant laws that protect both parties. These laws cover various aspects including the maintenance of the property, entry rights, and eviction procedures. For example, landlords must provide a habitable living space with working heat and electricity.

Landlords can only enter a rented property for specific reasons like repairs, inspections, or emergencies, typically with 24-hour notice. Evictions require a valid reason, such as non-payment of rent or significant lease violations.

Common Clauses and Policies

Lease agreements often include common clauses such as rent due dates, late fees, and renewal terms. It’s important for tenants to know the notice period required to terminate the lease, which is often 30-60 days.

Additionally, tenants should be aware of policies regarding property use, such as prohibitions on subletting or conducting business activities. Agreements might also cover tenant responsibilities like maintaining cleanliness and not causing disturbances.

Understanding these clauses helps tenants avoid surprises and ensures they comply with their lease terms.

Applying for a Rental House

When applying for a rental house in Philadelphia, there are several steps and considerations to navigate. From understanding the rental application process to knowing what property owners expect, this guide will help you through each stage.

The Rental Application Process

The first step in renting a house in Philadelphia is completing a rental application. You need to provide personal information, including your name, address, and employment details.

Most landlords will also require a background check and credit history. These checks are to ensure you have a reliable history of paying rent. Make sure to have references ready, such as past landlords or employers, as these can support your application.

Philadelphia landlords often require specific documents like a business tax account number and a federal tax identification number. This is a key step in getting your rental license.

Understanding Property Owner’s Expectations

Property owners in Philadelphia look for reliable and responsible tenants. It’s important to have steady employment and a good rental history. Expect to answer questions about your income, job stability, and past rental behavior.

Some owners may have specific rules regarding pets, so always check their pet policy. If you have pets, discuss this upfront to avoid any issues later.

Property owners appreciate tenants who maintain the property well and pay rent on time. Ensuring you meet these expectations can increase your chances of approval. Remember, clear communication with the owner can resolve many potential issues before they arise.

Moving In: Tenant Responsibilities and Rights

Renters in Philadelphia need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities when moving into a new home. Understanding what is expected from both landlords and tenants can help ensure a smooth living experience. Key topics include tenant duties regarding maintenance and the guarantees about essential services and amenities.

Tenant’s Role in Maintenance and Repairs

Tenants must keep their rental units clean and in good condition. They should promptly report any problems or damages to the landlord to avoid further issues. According to the Philadelphia Fair Housing Commission, tenants are encouraged to get a receipt for the rent they pay, especially if it is in cash.

If repairs are needed, tenants must inform the landlord in writing. For emergencies, they should contact the landlord immediately. Renters also need to respect the property’s rules, including those related to noise and pets. If they decide to move out, they must notify the landlord in writing as per the lease agreement. Failure to follow these steps can create disputes or even legal issues.

Essential Services and Amenities

Philadelphia landlords must ensure that essential services and amenities are available and functional. This includes providing heating during winter months, ensuring there are enough electrical outlets in every habitable room, and maintaining basic appliances like a stove and refrigerator.

Tenants should have access to basic amenities such as laundry facilities, either in-unit or within the building. Apartments may also come with other amenities like a dishwasher, washer and dryer, or a garage. It’s essential for the landlord to keep these in working order. If amenities like a fireplace are included, they must be safe and well-maintained. Renters should report any issues immediately to ensure they are addressed promptly.

Landlords and Property Management

In Philadelphia, landlords must handle essential services and tenant privacy. Working with property managers can help landlords manage their responsibilities efficiently.

Responsibilities of Philadelphia Landlords

Landlords in Philadelphia must be familiar with local regulations. They need to maintain the property in safe and habitable condition. This includes providing essential services like water, heat, and electricity. Regular inspections and timely repairs are crucial.

Philadelphia landlords must secure a Housing Rental License. They should also have a business tax account number and a federal tax identification number. These are necessary to ensure compliance with city laws.

  • Privacy: Landlords need to respect tenants’ privacy by providing notice before entering the unit.
  • Lease Agreements: Clear and detailed lease agreements prevent misunderstandings.

Practicing fair treatment and open communication helps maintain positive tenant relationships.

Working With Property Managers

Property managers can be invaluable for landlords. They handle daily operations, reducing the burden on landlords. Their tasks include tenant screening, rent collection, and property maintenance.

In Philadelphia, property managers ensure that all legal requirements are met. They manage lease renewals and address tenant concerns promptly, ensuring high tenant satisfaction.

  • Tenant Screening: Professional screening processes identify reliable tenants, reducing turnover and vacancy rates.
  • Property Maintenance: Regular upkeep keeps properties in top condition. This prevents costly repairs and preserves property value.

Working with property managers, such as those from Innovate Realty, can free landlords from many routine tasks. This partnership allows landlords to focus on strategic decisions and other investments.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section covers legal requirements for renting properties in Philadelphia, how to obtain a rental license, penalties for non-compliance, landlord responsibilities, and the factors that affect landlord friendliness.

What are the legal requirements for renting out a property in Philadelphia, PA?

In Philadelphia, landlords must comply with local housing codes. They need to ensure the property meets health and safety standards. A rental license is required for each property to legally rent it out.

How do I obtain a rental license in Philadelphia, and what is the eCLIPSE system?

To obtain a rental license in Philadelphia, landlords must apply through the eCLIPSE system. This online portal streamlines the application process. Landlords need to provide property details, pay fees, and ensure compliance with local regulations.

What penalties exist for landlords renting without a license in Philadelphia?

Landlords who rent without a license in Philadelphia face substantial penalties. Fines can be imposed, and legal action may be taken. Non-compliance can also lead to the inability to legally collect rent from tenants.

What responsibilities do landlords have in Philadelphia, PA?

Landlords in Philadelphia must maintain safe and habitable conditions in their rental properties. They are responsible for repairs, maintaining utilities, and ensuring compliance with all housing codes. They must also provide tenants with necessary disclosure information.

Is it necessary to have a license to rent out a house in the state of Pennsylvania?

Yes, renting out a house in Pennsylvania typically requires a rental license, especially in major cities. Philadelphia, in particular, has strict regulations. Landlords must ensure their properties are licensed and compliant with local laws.

What factors contribute to Philadelphia being considered landlord friendly or not?

Philadelphia’s rental market is influenced by regulations and tenant rights. While some argue it is not landlord-friendly due to stringent compliance requirements, others find it manageable with proper adherence to legalities. Rental license mandates and enforcement efforts impact this perception.

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