What is a Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O)?
The Certificate of Occupancy is a document issued by a local government agency (such as department of buildings or a department of public works), which usually offers information regarding the following:
– For what purpose the property will be used (residential, industrial, office, etc.)
– That the structure is compliant with existing building regulations.
– That the building is ready to be occupied.
When is a certificate of occupancy required?
Some of the situations in which a Certificate of Occupancy may be required are as follows:
– For a newly-developed property;
– If there is a change in the way the building is being used. For instance, if an office building is converted into a residential building, a new certificate of occupancy will have to be issued;
– When a structure is partially demolished and redeveloped;
– When the ownership or tenants of the building change.
C-of-O is also vital in the process of obtaining a mortgage for a property. The lender will decline any financing unless the owner of a building has at least a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy. In New York, a temporary certificate of occupancy is typically issued with a 90-day validity, for buildings that still need some work done, but are safe to inhabit. However, given the compulsory nature of a Certificate of Occupancy, the city can ask for the premises to be vacated at any time, if the owner holds only a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy.
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