A Certificate of Occupancy or an occupancy certificate (OC) is issued by the local authorities, confirms that a building is appropriate for occupation and has been built as per the sanctioned plan and in compliance with local laws.
What is an occupancy certificate?
An occupancy certificate is a legal document that is issued by planning authority or a local government agency, upon the completion of construction of a new project. The certificate is proof that the project has been developed, by adhering to the applicable building codes, applicable regulations and laws. The real estate developer has to obtain an occupancy certificate, once the project has been completed. The certificate is a sign that the building is suitable for occupancy. An OC is needed when applying for sanitation, water and electricity connections.
For homeowners, an OC is required to cement the legal status of the property they own. In the lack of a valid OC for a property, the local municipal body has the right to begin legal action, because, without an OC, a project is deemed an unauthorised structure. You will need an OC, when you apply for a home loan, or if you are buying a resale property. You would also require a valid occupancy certificate when you wish to sell your property in India.
How can you obtain an occupancy certificate?
Ideally, a property developer must apply for an occupancy certificate, within 30 days of the fulfilment of the project. As a property landlord, you can also apply for a certificate of occupancy from the municipality or the local corporation. If the project has met all the criteria needed for approval, you will generally receive a copy of the OC within 30 days of the application. Here are the documents that you will require to submit, as part of your application:
- NOCs for fire and pollution.
- Latest property tax receipt.
- Project completion certificate.
- Project commencement certificate.
- Copy of the building’s approved plan.
Your rights as a property owner
If the builder refuses to provide a certificate of occupancy, or he hasn’t got one even after the project has been done, you can take legal action against the real estate builder. A legal notice can be issued, demanding him to present the OC and you can even take the matter to a consumer court. Legislations like RERA (the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act), are supposed to decrease instances of negligence or fraud by developers. Nevertheless, as property owners, you must be vigilant and ensure that appropriate documents like an occupancy certificate are in place, to secure your legal rights over your property.