Documents such as Occupancy Certificate (OC) and Completion Certificate (CC) must be obtained before buying a house. These documents are required when the person wants to mortgage or sell the property.  Possession must be taken by the buyer only after the issuance of these certificates. Adherence to by-laws, civic amenities, electricity, sanitation, and other clearances is done by way of obtaining OC. On the other hand, a Completion Certificate is a document that certifies that a property is fit for possession by the buyers.

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Completion Certificate

After the building’s completion, the builder or the developer of the property has to apply for the ‘building completion certificate’ with the local authorities. A completion certificate must also be obtained by owners of standalone properties. These local authorities are the BDA or the BBMP in Bangalore or the PMC in Pune.

A completion certificate, while proving legitimacy, is also an important document that states that a property has been built fulfilling the required standards. It should also meet the necessary building standards, such as the distance of the property from the road, the building’s height, etc. The civic authorities will issue a completion certificate after ensuring that the building has been built according to the required standards.

The certificate is mainly required to ensure the supply of utilities such as water, electricity, and drainage systems.

Details provided in the completion certificate –

  • Component of the land over which the property is built
  • Details regarding the building plans
  • Details of the builder
  • Approved height of the building
  • Location of the project from other buildings in the nearby area

It is observed that a completion certificate acts as a proof for the concerned authorities that the property satisfies all the requirements set by them and has been constructed according to the building plan that was authorized before the construction began. It also assures the property owners and buyers that the property is safe to live in and that it would have regular electricity and water supply.

Provisional completion certificate

A provisional completion certificate is obtained by the builder, where the property’s possession must be granted to the buyers. In this case, despite some work being left the possession of the building is granted to the buyers. After the completion of construction the builder has to apply for final certificate since this certificate is valid only for 6 months.

Importance of a completion certificate –

Accepting a property without having a valid completion certificate leads to the assumption that the property is illegal and will therefore invite penalties on the property. Buyers are advised not to buy a property that does not have a final completion certificate. Local municipal authorities must be approached by the buyer to obtain the final certificate.

What if a person does not have a completion certificate?

Municipal authorities might penalise a person on charges of misdemeanour, if they move into a house without possessing a valid final completion certificate. If municipal authorities discover that the building is illegal and does not have a completion certificate, they can issue notices of eviction.

How to obtain a completion certificate?

A completion certificate can be obtained from Chief zonal officer of the municipal corporation/development authority of the city. The buyer and the architect need to submit proper completion certificate application along with following documents

  • Copy of sale deed/lease deed
  • Copy of approved building plan and permission letter
  • Receipt of property tax paid up to date, if any
  • Receipt of water tax paid
  • Receipt of underground drainage connection charges
  • Receipt of electricity cable & road cutting charges paid
  • Receipt of bore well permission fee paid, if any
  • Affidavit on Rs 10/- Non-judicial stamp paper to be attested by Notary Public/Metropolitan magistrate declaring ownership of the building, details of the architect/engineer engaged for construction and completion of construction as per bye-laws
  • Other documents as demanded/ required by the concerned authorities

Occupancy Certificate

An Occupancy Certificate is a document issued by the statutory authority (BBMP and BDA in Bangalore, PMC in Pune) to the builder after the project’s completion. It is required for commercial buildings and residential buildings having more than five units. Independent houses do no mandatorily require a completion certificate.

The occupancy certificate is issued by the local municipal authorities or building proposal department that provides a no objection to occupy the building under reference for its specific use. Once the property has been completed in all respects and can be occupied by residents, only then the certificate is issued. The property has to be ready to provide basic amenities to the residents.

Some State laws make it mandatory to obtain occupancy certificate. In the absence of an occupancy certificate from the respective local administrative or civic bodies, as per state laws, a person cannot legally move into a building. The corporation or municipality can ask the apartment owners to leave such illegally occupied flats or impose heavy penalties in ‘regularization.’

Buying or selling property also requires an OC because it is a prerequisite in order to apply for water, sanitation, and electricity connections for the property.

An occupancy certificate can be obtained either through an online or offline methods. The online process of applying for an occupancy certificate is simple and easy. The user (builder/developer) has to go to the official website and fill in the required details, upload the relevant documents, and pay the necessary fees. The online application for an occupancy certificate takes 15 days from the date of application for the certificate.

The offline method involves the applicant applying a prescribed format and the necessary documents to the municipal commissioner. After submitting the forms, the authorities will inspect the property and confirm if the property has been constructed according to the approved building plan before issuing an occupancy certificate. The offline method takes 30 days from the date of application to obtain an occupancy certificate, which is twice as much as the duration for obtaining it through the online method.

Importance of occupancy certificate

An occupancy certificate certifies that the construction of the building has complied with the approved plans. In order to obtain a ‘pass certificate’, an OC must be obtained first. Lack of the occupancy certificate, renders the building technically unfit for occupation. Hence, if any accident occurs, the occupants/users of the building would not be eligible for any insurance or compensation claims and can hold no one liable for the damage caused to them. Water, sanitary, and electricity connections, if already obtained, are susceptible to get disconnected. Only the occupancy certificate validates the legal possession of the flat.

What if a person does not have an occupancy certificate?

The occupancy certificate is issued by the local municipal authorities or building proposal department that provides a no objection to occupy the building under reference for its specific use. The certificate is only issued when the property has been completed in all respects and can be occupied by residents. The property has to be ready to provide basic amenities to the residents.

  • Without a valid OC, the occupancy is illegal as it can be classified as an unauthorised structure by the authorities.
  • OC is crucial while applying for a home loan or loan to purchase a resale flat. Sellers cannot sell their property without a valid OC in hand.
  • Key amenities like water, sewage connection, electric supply, etc, can be disconnected in case the OC is not present.

How to obtain an occupancy certificate?

An OC application form is to be submitted to the concerned municipal or local development authority once the construction of the building has been completed in full, and the same must be submitted within 30 days of the completion of construction. Along with the application, the following documents should be submitted for processing the application:

  • Commencement certificate
  • Completion certificate
  • Built plan along with elevation, site, and section plan
  • No objection certificate from fire force
  • Area calculation sheet of floor signed by an architect
  • Tax assessment with tax paid receipt
  • Photographs of completed building
  • Photographs of rainwater harvesting and solar panels
  • Copy of the sanctioned plan

The authorities will then conduct a physical inspection of the building and will evaluate if the building is constructed according to the approved plan and then, issue the certificate. A deviation of more than 5% than the original construction plans will attract a fine, proportional to the amount of deviation.