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What is Occupancy Certificate

To define occupancy certificate meaning in simple terms, it is a legal document signifying that the building has been constructed as per the approved plan and in compliance with the local laws. The absence of an occupancy certificate makes it difficult to get the water and sanitary connection. Even the banks and financial institutions do not sanction loans against the flat unless the certificate is not issued by the concerned authorities. If the buyers are found doing so, the local authorities can ask for eviction of their flats or levy heavy penalties on them.

Importance of Occupancy Certificate

The certificate poses as proof of the fact that the building is safe to occupy. Such a certificate is especially required when the relevant individuals apply for electricity, water, and sanitation connections from local municipal bodies.

  • Obtaining an occupancy certificate is an essential requirement, the buyer cannot legally occupy the apartment or building unless this certificate is occupied by the developer.

  • If you want to apply for home loan, you will have to show the lender the occupancy certificate too.

  • This certificate is also one of the most important documents that you will need while selling the property.

How Do I Get an OC Certificate

Here is the step by step process to obtain occupancy certificate:

  • Step 1: Visit Local Corporation or Municipality - The flat owner has to look for the nearest local corporation or municipality.

  • Step 2: Collect Forms and Enter Details - Collect the required forms from the concerned officer and enter all the necessary details.

  • Step 3: Submission of the Form - Along with all the documents, the application form has to be submitted.

Once submitting the form, the occupancy certificate will be issued within 30 days from the date of submission.

Documents Required for Occupancy Certificate

Below mentioned documents are required to obtain an OC:

  • A copy of the sanctioned building plan

  • A No Objection Certificate (NOC) from either the Pollution Board or the Fire Department

  • A copy of the Commencement Certificate

  • Relevant computations which have been signed off by the commissioned architect

  • Clear photos of the building

  • Clear pictures of the Solar Panels (If any and the state requires the property to have them)

  • Proof of the presence of rainwater harvesting infrastructure

  • Current tax receipt from the relevant tax assessment authorities

How to Check Status of an Occupancy Certificate

You can check the status of your occupancy certificate application on the website of your local Real Estate Regulation Authority (RERA). This is only possible if the property is registered under the act, as it should be. The process of checking the status of an occupancy certificate can differ from state to state. But, the fact is that the RERA act has made it mandatory for the builders to frequently report the developments regarding their projects to the local Real Estate Regulatory Authority. This is to say that the status of the OC that you will find on the site should be accurate at all times.

Difference Between Occupancy Certificate & Completion Certificate

Occupancy Certificate

Completion Certificate

An Occupancy Certificate (OC) is a document certifying that the building has been constructed as per the approved plan and is now ready to be occupied.

A completion certificate is a legal document that certifies the construction of the property is complete and the building abides by the rules and regulations set by the government.

An OC certificate is issued by local municipal authorities or the building proposal department once the building is ready for occupancy.

This certificate is issued only after it is confirmed that the construction meets other building standards like distance from the road, height, rainwater harvesting system, etc.

An occupancy certificate implies that the owner of the flat/house can legally stay in it.

A completion certificate does not imply that the owner of the property can possess and occupy it legally; an OC is a must.

OC Certificate FAQs

✔️Who can apply for an occupancy certificate?

The developer/builder of a residential property and the new owner of a flat/house can apply for a certificate of occupancy.

✔️Who will issue the occupancy certificate?

The local municipal authorities will issue the occupation certificate based on the local laws and regulations for the construction of a housing project.

✔️What if the builder/developer doesn’t give the Occupancy Certificate?

No, it is advisable to accept the possession letter of a flat/house only after the developer has obtained the occupation certificate.

✔️Can the builder claim 100% payment from you without an Occupancy Certificate?

Under the RERA Act, provisions are made to make some payments to the builder or developer. A certain portion of this payment can be given to the builder for covering property-related costs. But, the developer or builder can never ask for 100% payment without acquiring the OC.

✔️Can I sell my property which does not have an Occupancy Certificate?

No, without a valid OC, your occupancy is illegal as it can be classified as an unauthorised structure by the authorities. The occupation certificate is one of the most important documents required in order to extend a housing loan. Therefore, if the buyer is looking to avail a home loan for the purpose of buying the property, they will be required to submit the OC Certificate. Thus, it’s necessary to acquire an OC certificate to sell your property.

✔️Can a developer/builder issue a partial Occupancy Certificate?

Yes, a developer/builder can issue a partial occupation certificate when there are phases of numerous projects which have different estimated dates of completion. In such a scenario, the relevant municipal body can issue a partial OC for the fully constructed and occupiable portions of the property. Once the project is completed in its entirety and is ready for occupancy, a final occupation certificate would be issued by the relevant authorities, which will replace the previous one.

✔️Is there a requirement for an Occupancy Certificate for old buildings?

It has been mandatory for a building/property to possess an occupancy certificate and a completion certificate (CC) since 1976. Hence, a building/property that was constructed in or after 1976 must possess one. However, acquiring an OC for an old construction can prove to be a tricky business. It must ideally be in the possession of the developer, but if the developer fails to furnish one, you can always file an RTI application. Your last resort should be a series of constant follow-ups with your local municipal authority for the document.

✔️What happens if the building does not have an OC?

If your property does not have a valid OC then the local municipal authority has the right to take legal action, because without a valid OC, the property will be considered an unauthorised construction. To further obtain OC, you can take the following routes:

  • Reach out to your local RERA Officials

  • Contact the Consumer Court

  • File an FIR Under Section 405 of Indian Penal Code (IPC)