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An Occupancy Certificate (OC) is an important real estate document issued by the local government. This certificate declares that a building has been constructed as per the local laws and abides by all the safety standards.

 

An occupancy certificate deems a building to be fit or unfit for occupancy. It further indicates whether arrangements have been made in the building for proper sanitation, water supply, and other civic amenities.

 

Note that a majority of lenders usually ask you to submit an OC if you wish to get a loan against property. 

Importance of Occupancy Certificate

An OC declares a newly constructed building safe for residential purposes. It can prove to be of vital importance in the following circumstances:

  • To apply for utility services like a connection for an LPG cylinder, telephone, or electricity 

  • To move to your new apartment in the building  

  • To apply for a housing loan 

  • To sell your property

How Do I Apply for an OC?

A builder/developer can apply for an OC online. Here is the step-by-step process to obtain the certificate:

  • Step 1: Visit the nearest local corporation or municipality  

  • Step 2: Collect the required forms from the concerned officer and enter all the necessary details 

  • Step 3: Submit the application form along with all the required documents 

 

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

How to Check the Status of an Occupancy Certificate

The process of checking the status of an occupancy certificate can differ from state to state. You can check the status of your OC application on the website of your local Real Estate Regulation Authority (RERA). This is only possible if the property is registered under the act.

Difference Between Occupancy, Completion, and Possession Certificates

In addition to the occupancy certificate, completion and possession certificates are two other important certificates about which a buyer must know. Here is a table showcasing the differences between the three.  

Occupancy Certificate

Completion Certificate

   Possession 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.

A possession certificate is a document that functions as a ‘proof of transfer of possession’ from the developer of a building to the buyer.

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 by the local municipal authorities after it is confirmed that the construction meets other building standards.

This certificate is issued by the developer of a building to a new buyer.

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.

A possession certificate is issued within 30 days of the completion of the construction work of the building.

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

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 to cover 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. Thus, it is necessary to acquire an OC to sell your property.

Can a developer/builder apply for a partial Occupancy Certificate?

Yes, a developer/builder can apply for a partial occupancy certificate. This is usually done when there are numerous phases of a project which have different estimated dates of completion. 

In this case, the relevant municipal body can issue a partial OC for the fully constructed and occupiable portions of the property. 

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 since 1976. Hence, a building/property that was constructed in or after 1976 must possess one. 

What is a Temporary Occupancy Certificate?

Temporary or partial occupancy certificates are issued to large projects where the construction is completed in phases. The concerned authorities issue a temporary OC when a phase of construction of a project is completed.

What to do in case a builder does not give you an OC?

If a builder/developer refuses to hand over the occupancy certificate, you can file a complaint against the builder in the consumer forum. The builder will need to provide the OC within 30 days of filing the complaint. 

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