Let us first find out what an occupancy certificate actually is:

An occupancy certificate is an essential document issued by the local authorities that certifies that the building is ready to be occupied. This piece of paper also certifies that the building is made taking all the local laws into consideration and has been constructed as per the approved plan and in compliance with local laws. You need to have an occupancy property for any piece of property that you might own.

NOTE: Along with the Occupancy Certificate, you might also be asked a Completion certificate.

Let us now discuss how and why you need it:

An occupancy certificate is the document issues by the local authorities to certify that the building is made in accordance to all the previously approved permitted plans and structural design of the building that was approved of. Hence it further states that it will be okay to occupy this place now.

But most importantly you will be asked to furnish this document if you are seeking an electricity connection, gas connection or even water supply to your new property or building. Not only that the home owner really needs to have an OC or occupancy certificate to really cement that they are the legal owner of the property. You would also be asked to show this certificate at time of asking any for any kind of home loan to the bank or any lender. Even if you are buying a property from a previous owner ask for this certificate immediately, hence you will also require this to buy and sell any property. Along with that, banks will not offer you insurance on the property and you will not be able to take an advantage of any tax benefit that you might be entitled to without the Occupancy Certificate. Besides that, if you do not have the OC for any property that you might be living in, you give the authorities the right to evict you from your own property because without the occupancy certificate the proper will be deemed to be “not ready to move in” and not safe .

SUMMERIZING: You would need an Occupancy Certificate at the following circumstances:

  1. Safe and legal possession.
  2. As a mark that the building was built keeping the guidelines in check.
  3. When applying for a gas, water or an electricity connection.
  4. Getting a loan for the property you want to buy.
  5. Buying and selling of the property.
  6. Insurance
  7. Tax benefits
  8. For not getting evicted.

 How can you apply for an occupancy certificate?

Ideally, the developer or builder of the building of the project or property should apply for the Occupancy Certificate within 30 days of its completion. But as the property owner you can apply for the OC too and if your property is built according to the previously approved plan and stand at par with the guidelines of the particular region your property is built in, your OC should arrive within 30 days of the application. The following are some documents that you should provide while applying for an OC:

  1. Project commencement certificate.
  2. Project completion certificate.
  3. NOCs for fire and pollution.
  4. Latest property tax receipt.
  5. Any Green guideline that the state might want you to follow
  6. Copy of the building’s sanctioned plan.

 If you are a property owner and your developer has refused to provide you with an OC here is what you can do:

  1. Firstly try not to take, possession of such a property, where in you are not given the legal possession proof or the property related papers.
  2. If your builder or property developer refuses to provide you with an OC even after the completion of the project then you can freeze the final payment for the possession of the property. Usually payments for a property are not done in full and the final payment is usually done after the developer hand you over the papers related to the property which also includes the Occupancy Certificate.
  3. It is recommended to make an “owner’s welfare group” consisting of people who are buying properties in the same area or from the same buyer that you are buying, so that in any unusual circumstance or any situation you where you might want help, there would be other people to go to and also it makes the representation of the interest other owners like you easier when standing against someone.
  4.  You can then consider applying for the OC yourself as an individual or as a part of the association. If the authorities give you the certificate, well and good! But if that does not happen then they might suggest some changes, address them by your builder, ask them to cooperate and hold him accountable for the costs of the changes because you should not be paying extra for someone else’s fault. If however the construction has been completed since more 30 days now and the authorities ask you for a penalty, give the penalty and get the OC.
  5. If the builder does not cooperate with you, you can also file legal actions against them and call for an enquiry. Taking the legal route could be a good option because new laws and authorities such as Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA)are established to help with property and real estate related scams and frauds.

So what would be the ideal circumstances under which one should take possession of a property you may ask:

Look whether the builder has taken the completion certificate and an occupancy certificate. Only then can you trust them with your money and get registered as a “sales deed” and complete other formalities and take possession of the property.

However, being the probable buyer of anything bringing absolutely anything into your possession requires you to be really diligent and careful with just anyone you are going to trust your money with because as it is said it is “Better safe than sorry”!

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