What is an Occupancy Certificate (OC)?
The full form of OC in real estate means Occupancy Certificate. After you have zeroed in on a property, the Occupancy Certificate is one of the most essential documents to obtain. It is a document issued by the concerned civic body to verify that-
- The property is built according to the approved plan and bye-laws
- It adheres to the building code
- It comprises all basic amenities
- All required clearances, including the fire No Objection Certificate (NOC), are in place
Who issues the Occupancy Certificate?
The competent authority issues the occupation certificate after due scrutiny, and permits the occupation of any building, under civic laws. These are generally handed over by local civic bodies like municipal corporations. The local body generally issues the certificate within 30 days of project completion.
Whose responsibility is it to obtain the OC?
It is the responsibility of the builder to get the OC from the issuing authorities and make it available to the property buyers to prevent any discrepancies in the future. However, in case the owner has taken possession of the property, he/she can also apply for the document at the concerned authority’s office.
What documents are needed to obtain an OC?
Below are the documents which the developer submits at the local civic office to obtain the OC-
- A copy of the approved building plan
- NOC received from the pollution board and the Airport Authority of India (AAI)
- Construction commencement certificate
- Latest property tax payment receipts
How to obtain an Occupancy Certificate?
It is the responsibility of a builder to obtain Occupancy Certificate. The process to obtain the Occupancy Certificate (OC) of a property involves the following steps-
- Submit an application requesting the Occupancy Certificate from the area’s housing board or apply through a prescribed form
- Submit the supporting documents along with the necessary fees
- An officer will be assigned to the project to make necessary inspection visits at the project site
- Based on the property’s adherence to the prevailing building norms, the nodal officer will issue a No Objection Certificate (NOC)
- The builder must submit the NOC at the authority’s office to obtain the Occupancy Certificate
Why is an Occupation Certificate important?
An Occupancy Certificate (OC) is necessary to apply for civic facilities like water, electricity, and sanitation, among others. The local municipal body needs this document, in the absence of which homebuyers can complain to the consumer forum or the State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) body.
What is a partial/temporary Occupancy Certificate (OC)?
In case of large-scale real estate projects, the local authorities provide a temporary or partial OC for the portion finished by the developer. A partial OC is generally issued for tower-wise construction in a large project, which allows homebuyers to access the basic amenities. However, access to common facilities, like swimming pool, fitness centre, and clubhouse, among others, is not allowed.
In case a homebuyer collects the temporary OC, the builder must later provide the permanent OC upon project completion.
Difference between an Occupancy Certificate and a Completion Certificate
While the CC examines and certifies a property for adherence to bye-laws, civic amenities, electricity, sanitation and other clearances, the OC certifies that a property is fit for possession by the buyers.
Iterating on the difference between the two documents, Deepak Kapoor, Director, Gulshan Homz, says, “Completion Certificate is just a reaffirmation that the building has been constructed as per the building bye-laws and the layout plan has been approved by various concerned authorities. Occupation Certificate signals that there is no violation of building construction norms, and thus, the structure is safe for occupants. As these documents are generally not required at the time of property registration, buyers may fail to realise their importance and overlook them. But for their own benefit and peace of mind, it is warranted that buyers of ready-to-move-in and under-construction properties check these documents before taking possession. This can help avoid unnecessary legal dispute or confrontation in the future.”
Should you buy a property if the developer does not have an OC?
Before you buy a property, it is always advisable to ask for both OC and CC. If the developer fails to provide OC or CC, the next course of action will be dictated by the buyer-seller agreement. If the developer is delaying the availability of OC/CC, you can even ask for rent for that period. Also, the buyer can reach out to the authorities and register complaints with them.
Although homebuyers are advised to proactively seek these certificates from the developers, the implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, has increased transparency and accountability of the builders, and made obtaining these documents easier. Overall, it is always advisable to cross-check the necessary approvals and essential documents before investing to have a seamless property transaction.