Below, with the help of the Philadelphia Dept of Licenses and Inspection, we’ve listed some rights you should be aware of. The city of brotherly love has some stringent, detailed rules and the more YOU know, the better equipped you’ll be to speak up and contend any mistreatment aimed your way, during your stay.


Your home provider is responsible for supplying, installing, and maintaining all required detectors and fire alarm equipment. They’re also to test all detectors in shared spaces (i.e., hallways, basements, stairways, etc.), in your apt/housing complex. It’s YOUR responsibility as the renter to test all detectors within your unit. If you find a detector to be defective, inform your home provider in writing! Your home shouldn’t contain any portable cooking equipment with open flames or the use of gasoline or kerosene as fuel. The city of Philadelphia holds the landlord responsible for all repairs, required by law, despite any agreement outlined in a lease.

In Philadelphia your home provider is responsible for providing the following:


  • Toilet in a private room
  • Sink in the same room, or in proximity, to the toilet.
  • Bathtub/shower in a private room.
  • An electric light in each bathroom
  • Window/approved ventilation system in each bathroom. The window must be functional and open to the outdoors, while the ventilating system must be able to change the air content of the room.
  • The bathroom floor must have an easily cleanable surface and must be substantially unaffected by water


Kitchen/ Heating / Water & Sewage

  • The home provider must provide a kitchen sink, in good, working condition, within each rental unit/house.
  • A gas or electric range, for cooking, is required in each rental unit and must be properly installed, work effectively, and must be maintained in good, working condition.
  • Hot and cold, running water must be provided. Hot water must fall between 110 and 125 degrees and flow at a rate of, at least, one gallon per minute (this goes for the sink, tub, shower, laundry facilities, etc.).
  • Plumbing equipment must be connected to Philly’s water and sewage systems unless permitted to use a private system.
  • A central heating system must be supplied by the landlord and should be able to heat the unit to 68 degrees from Oct 1 through Apr 30 and during May and Sept when the outside temperature is less than 60 degrees.


 Electric/ Pests/ Repairs

  • Each rental unit must have adequate natural light and proper ventilation
  • Each room must have at least two electric outlets
  • Public halls and stairways must be lit at all times
  • Emergency lighting is required in hallways and stairwells in buildings with multiple exits.
  • In one family dwellings, exterminating insects, rodents, and other pests is YOUR responsibility.
  • In multi-family dwellings, the landlord is responsible for eradicating pests.
  • All plumbing and heating equipment must be installed correctly and free from leaks and blockages.


Remember, knowledge is power. For more information about your prospective landlords and property managers, read Philly’s Partners for Good Housing. If after reading this list, you feel your rights are being abused, leave a review of your home provider for public record.

Written By

Ofo Ezeugwu (@ofoezeugwu) is the CEO & Chieftain of WhoseYourLandlord. He graduated from Temple University (shout out to N. Philly!), where he was the VP of the student body and also the university's youngest alumni convocation speaker ever. He's a Techstars'​ Risingstar, one of BET's #30Under30, a Black Enterprise: Modern Man, and his work has been featured in Newsweek, TechCrunch, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, MSNBC, and more. Ofo is based in NYC/PHL and is also a professional actor and model who's walked in NYFW, been featured on the Today Show six times, and worked with Nike, ESPN, and Alfani. Ofo is also very actively plugged into the community and speaks with local high schools and middle schools on leadership, college planning, entrepreneurship, and life skills. He's a Big in the Big Brothers Big Sisters entrepreneurial program. And, he's also spoken on tech - entrepreneurship - and leadership at prestigious universities and institutions such as The White House, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Penn, Temple, Villanova, etc. He lives by the motto, "No steps backward; just forward progress."