Everything You Need to Know About Occupancy Certificate

byDilip PrasadLast Updated: April 19, 2024
Occupancy Certificate

An Occupancy Certificate (OC) is an essential document issued by local authorities, confirming that a property has been constructed according to the approved plan and complies with all the relevant building codes, regulations, and safety standards. It serves as proof that the property is suitable for occupancy. It ensures that the property is habitable and meets the necessary criteria for inhabitants. The correct occupancy certificate format is crucial for various real estate transactions, including buying, selling, or applying for a home loan.

What is a Certificate of Occupancy?

An occupancy certificate is an official approval provided by the local government or planning authority once a new building is completed. This essential document attests that the construction followed all relevant rules and regulations. Builders or developers must acquire this certificate as evidence of the building’s safety and suitability after the project is completed. Typically needed when securing essential services like water, sanitation, and electricity, this certificate confirms proper construction and signals that the place is ready for occupancy.

How to Get a Certificate of Occupancy?

To obtain a certificate of occupancy, the person overseeing property construction needs to formally request it from the local development authorities. This certificate is only issued after a thorough inspection, confirming that the building aligns with approved plans and meets essential standards. In certain cases, builders may obtain a partial building occupancy certificate, allowing them to sell sections of the property. This is common in mixed-use projects, where unfinished portions are sold to individual flat owners. The OC holds great significance for buyers, ensuring legal ownership. Ideally, builders should apply for the OC within 30 days of project completion. Property owners can also initiate the application, with the OC typically granted within a month if all criteria are met.

Documents Required to Acquire a Certificate of Occupancy

To get the certificate of occupancy, you must provide:

  • Project commencement certificate 
  • Project completion certificate 
  • NOC for fire and pollution
  • Building and sanction plan 
  • Area calculation sheet of floor duly signed by an authorized architect 
  • Photo of the building after completion 
  • Photo of rain harvesting and solar plan 
  • Tax assessment along with latest property tax receipt 

If you move into a building without this certificate:

  • The building could be considered illegal.
  • Authorities might make you leave.
  • They might even demolish the building.
  • Selling the property or getting a loan could be difficult.
  • Water and electricity connections may be disconnected without notice.You might have to pay extra property tax.
  • Getting a Khata Certificate could be a problem.

What is a Partial Occupancy Certificate?

A Partial Occupancy Certificate (Partial OC) is commonly issued for extensive construction projects carried out in phases, with each tower receiving certification separately from the developer. The primary advantage of a Partial OC is that it enables residents to access essential amenities and secures their legal property rights. However, certain amenities, such as swimming pools and fitness centers, may be available later. 

In simpler terms, a Partial OC acts like a permission slip for residents to inhabit specific sections of a large construction project, offering basic facilities while some additional amenities may still be pending. Additionally, obtaining certain documents, like home loans, might be complex until the project is fully completed and officially approved.

Advantages of a Certificate of Occupancy

Getting an Occupancy Certificate (OC) is important for several reasons:

  • Having an OC is the only way homeowners can make their property legally recognized. It’s like the official approval that says your property is good to go.
  • You must show your OC when you want your home’s water, electricity, or sanitation services. It’s a necessary step to connect your house to these essential services.
  • Having an OC is necessary if you’re considering getting a loan to buy or improve your home. It’s a document the bank or lender will want to see.
  • Having an OC makes getting an official copy of your property deed, an important ownership document, easier.
  • When you’re buying or selling a property, a valid OC is crucial. It’s like a stamp of approval that everything is in order.
  • It’s worth noting that you only start paying property tax after the builder or owner gets an OC. To get it, they have to provide certain documents for approval. So, it’s a key step in the property ownership process.

What is the Waiting Period to Receive an Occupancy Certificate? 

Developers should ideally apply for an OC within 30 days after completing a project. One can apply through the local government or development authority. Assuming that the project meets all necessary criteria and there are no document-related complications, one can expect to receive their OC within 30 days of applying.

The Rights of Property Owners

Property owners have legal recourse if a builder fails to provide an Occupancy Certificate (OC) or neglects to secure one upon project completion. They have the right to issue a formal notice demanding the OC and, if necessary, escalate the matter to a consumer court. Regulations like the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) aim to reduce developer negligence or fraudulent practices. However, property owners must exercise vigilance by ensuring essential documents like the certificate of occupancy are in order, protecting their ownership rights. 

In simpler terms, if you don’t receive necessary property documents, taking legal action is an option, starting with a formal letter and potentially involving a consumer court if needed. Laws like RERA aim to prevent builders from acting carelessly or dishonestly, emphasizing the importance of verifying everything to safeguard your rights.

How to Check Occupancy Certificates Online?

If a project is listed under the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act 2016, people can check its progress on the state’s RERA website.

According to the law, builders must regularly share updates about the project on the website. You can check with local authorities to get the latest information if they still need to.

How are Occupancy, Completion and Possession Certificates Different?

An Occupancy Certificate (OC) is essential for homeowners, confirming a property’s compliance with legal regulations. It is indispensable for legal recognition, utility services, obtaining loans, and facilitating property transactions. The absence of a certificate of occupancy can lead to legal consequences and challenges in property-related matters. The process involves thorough checks by authorities to ensure compliance with standards.


Can a developer demand 100% payment from a buyer without an Occupancy Certificate?

As per the RERA Act, developers can receive milestone-based payments, with a specified portion payable during different stages. However, the developer can only claim 100% payment once they obtain the certificate of occupancy.

Can a property be sold without an OC?

Selling a property with a certificate of occupancy is only possible. A valid OC is a prerequisite for property sale transactions.

Can I sell my building without an Occupancy Certificate?

Selling a property with a valid Occupancy Certificate is permitted, as possessing this document establishes legal ownership.

Is it acceptable to purchase an apartment without an Occupancy Certificate?

According to the law, individuals cannot legally inhabit a building unless the developer obtains a certificate of occupancy from the relevant authority.

Is an OC required for a home loan?

Yes, a certificate of occupancy is mandatory when applying for a home loan. This certificate holds legal significance, allowing the buyer to occupy the purchased property legally.

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