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What is an Occupancy Certificate?

What is an Occupancy Certificate?

An occupancy certificate is a document that is issued by a local government agency or planning authority, upon the completion of construction of a new project. The certificate is proof that the project has been built, by adhering to the applicable building codes, relevant regulations, and laws. It is the responsibility of the developer to obtain an occupancy certificate, once the project has been completed. The certificate is an indication that the building is suitable for occupancy. An occupancy certificate is required, when applying for water, sanitation and electricity connections.

For homeowners, an occupancy certificate is necessary to cement the legal status of the property they own. In the absence of a valid occupancy certificate for a property, the local municipal body has the right to initiate legal action, because, without an occupancy certificate, a project is deemed an unauthorized structure. You will require an occupancy certificate, when you apply for a home loan, or if you are purchasing a resale property. You would also need a valid occupancy certificate, when you wish to sell your property.

Who can give an occupancy certificate to Flat owners

Ideally, a developer must apply for an occupancy certificate, within 30 days of the completion of the project. As a property owner, you can also apply for an occupancy certificate from the Local Corporation or municipality. If the project has fulfilled all the criteria necessary for approval, you will usually receive a copy of the occupancy certificate within 30 days of the application. Here are the documents that you will need to submit, as part of your application:

  1. Project commencement certificate.
  2. Project completion certificate.
  3. NOCs for fire and pollution.
  4. Latest increase risk property tax receipt.
  5. Copy of the building’s sanctioned plan.

Your rights as a Flat owner

If the developer refuses to provide an occupancy certificate, or he hasn’t acquired one even after the project has been completed, you can take legal action against the developer. A legal notice can be issued, asking him to provide the occupancy certificate and you can even take the case to a consumer court. Legislations like the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), are expected to significantly decrease instances of negligence or fraud by developers. However, as property owners, you must be vigilant and ensure that important documents like the occupancy certificate are in place, to secure your rights over your property.