A certificate of occupancy (or also called CO) is a legal document issued by a city government or metropolitan authority. The certificate confirms that a building or structure is constructed according to the safety codes. A building cannot be legally used or occupied unless a certificate of occupancy is obtained. There are two types of Certificate of Occupancy; Temporary and Final. The temporary certificate is issued for short term use of building provided that there are no health hazards. The local post office may also require certificate of occupancy to start delivering mail to the property.
Who issues a Certificate of Occupancy?
The Building or Housing Department of the local city government is usually responsible for the issuance of the certificate.
How do I get an occupancy certificate?
The applicant submits an application to the building department to obtain the certificate. In the application form, the applicant gives detail about the building, address, covered area intended usage. If any fee or additional documents are required, they have to be submitted along with the application.
A Certificate of occupancy is issued after a number of inspections. The building inspector performs these inspection to ensure that building is safe for the intended usage. The inspections include verification of building land dimensions, structural drawings, fire protection system, electrical and plumbing installation, the height of building and number of stories. Besides, the building department can carry out additional inspections if applicable.
Large-scale industrial, public and commercial buildings generally have stringent inspection checks then private buildings. The certificate confirms a building’s compliance with building codes and by-laws.
How long does it take to get the certificate?
It may take 5-10 business days after the application for certificate of occupancy is submitted. Temporary certificate has shorter processing time.
What documents are needed for submitting Certificate of Occupancy application?
The applicant may need following documents for submitting the application.
Online or Paper based Application
Soil Testing Report
Plumbing and Electrical Drawings
Electrical Inspection Report
Plumbing Inspection Report
Fire Hazard Inspection Report
Other documents may also be required as applicable.
What if the inspections are not passed?
If the building does not pass any inspection, the building inspector will give a list of observation that should be addressed. You will also be given a certain amount of time to correct these issues. Once the issues are corrected, you can call for re-inspection. However, additional fees may incur if re-inspection is performed.
Are there any fees?
Yes, depending on the type of certificate or building, the building department will charge a fee. Certificate of Occupancy fees in some US cities are as under:-
Cedar Park, Texas – $70
Deer Park, Texas – $120
Balcones Heights, Texas – $150
Detroit, Michigan – No Fee
Chesapeake, Virginia – $30 + 2% state levy
New Orleans, Louisiana – $190
City of Blainem, Minnesota – $60
Red Oak, Texas – $50
Plainview, Texas – $25
Victorville, California – $52.40
City of Raleigh, North Carolina – $276
TCO – $410.08
Re-issuance – $41.0.08
Check with your local building department about the current fees.
Certificate of Occupancy in Main US Cities
The Department of Building and Safety issue the Occupancy Certificate for every building or structure in Los Angeles City. The building must go from a series of inspections before being eligible for getting the certificate. City Building Inspectors do inspections against the permits.
Check the status of permits for any building in Los Angeles:-
In New York City, the Certificate of Occupancy (CO) describes the legal use of building. All newly constructed buildings must have a CO. All existing buildings must also have a current or amended CO when there is a change in use, ownership or type of occupancy.