Occupancy Certificate (OC) in Real Estate: All You Need to Know

September 18th, 2023

completion certificate in real estate

An occupancy certificate (OC), sometimes referred to as certificate of occupancy, is issued by the local authority to the builder. The certificate guarantees that the building is made in compliance with the norms prescribed and is safe for occupancy.

An occupancy certificate is a crucial document that is issued to the builder / developer by the local municipal authority. It certifies that the building is fit for occupancy and has been built adhering to the norms prescribed by the concerned governmental authorities.

The Role of Occupancy Certificate in Real Estate

Ever since the introduction of Real Estate (Regulation and development) Act (RERA) in 2016, it has become mandatory for developers to obtain an occupancy certificate. As per RERA, a developer should get the document before an apartment complex is handed over to the customers.

Information regarding the occupancy certificate is uploaded on the website. This will help potential buyers to understand the details about the project. In case the developer fails to obtain the document, RERA will penalise them. Customers can also register their complaint with RERA if they find the developer not having in possession of the document.

The occupancy certificate plays a crucial role in real estate for a range of reasons. Let’s examine them one by one.

Legal Aspect

Obtaining the occupancy certificate from the concerned authorities is a legal requirement. It certifies that a building is constructed in accordance with the rules prescribed by the local authorities. It also guarantees that the building is safe for occupancy. Failing to obtain this vital document will result in legal complications for the developer.

Safety Measures

The purpose of an occupancy certificate is to validate that a building is safe for occupancy. It suggests that it is built in compliance with the norms prescribed by the concerned authorities. It also certifies that the building complies with the fire and safety measures. Before issuing the document, officials thoroughly inspect a building and ensure its all-round safety.

Easy Financing

In order to get a home loan sanctioned, it is necessary that the builder has a valid occupancy certificate.  Hence, for potential buyers, it is of utmost importance to ensure that the builder has obtained one. For banks, the document is a guarantee that the money lent to the customer is safe.

Resale Value

An occupancy certificate is crucial when the property is up for resale. The possession of an occupancy certificate assures the potential buyers of its safety. It also certifies that the property is built adhering to the rules and regulations set forth by the concerned authorities.

Utmost Transparency

An occupancy certificate is issued to the developer after officials thoroughly check the safety aspects as well as the building’s compliance with the prescribed norms. For customers, a certificate of occupancy is an assurance that the building is safe as well as legally compliant. This transparency results in enhanced trust and peace of mind.

 What is an Occupancy Certificate?

An occupancy certificate is an important document that asserts that a building is safe for occupancy and is built in adherence with the plan, norms, and rules laid down by the concerned local authorities. For the homebuyer, an occupancy certificate makes them the legal owner of the property besides offering them a host of benefits which are already mentioned above.

How Can a Builder Obtain an Occupancy Certificate?

Once the building is complete, the developer should apply for an occupancy certificate, ideally within 30 days. The document can be obtained either by applying for it in person – by visiting the local municipal authority office, which is in charge of issuing it, or by logging on to the website of the authority and by submitting all necessary documents. Once the application is submitted a thorough check will be conducted by the authorities prior to the issuance of the certificate of occupancy, normally within 30 days, provided that they find everything satisfactory.

What are the Documents Required to Apply for the Occupancy Certificate?

The following documents need to be submitted along with your application for the occupancy certificate:

  • Project commencement certificate
  • Project completion certificate
  • NOCs for fire and pollution
  • Latest property tax receipt
  • Copy of the building’s sanctioned plan
  • Photos of the building, solar panels, and rainwater harvesting system

Who Should Apply for an Occupancy Certificate?

It is the developer’s responsibility to apply for the occupancy certificate. A developer can apply for the certificate of occupancy within 30 days of the completion of the project. If everything is found satisfactory upon inspection, the certificate can be obtained within 30 days.

Is it Possible to Sell a Property which does not have an Occupancy Certificate?

Ever since RERA came into existence, it has been mandatory for developers to obtain the document. For homebuyers, a certificate of occupancy is necessary to get loans. Hence, it is not possible to sell a property which does not have the occupancy certificate.

What are the Differences between Occupancy, Completion, and Possession Certificate?

While all these are important documents related to property, they differ from one another. Let’s get to know each one of them in detail.

Occupancy Certificate

An occupancy certificate is issued by the local municipal authority. The developer applies for the document within 30 days of completion of the property. The certificate is issued after carefully examining the project. A certificate of occupancy suggests that the property is constructed in adherence with the plans and rules of the concerned authority, the building is safe for occupancy, and it also has water, sewage, and electricity facilities.

Completion Certificate   

Similar to the occupancy certificate, the completion certificate is also issued by the concerned local authority upon the completion of the building/project. The completion certificate also states that the property is suitable for living.

Possession Certificate    

Unlike the other two mentioned above, a possession certificate is issued by the developer to the homebuyer. A possession certificate is issued after the buyer has made the payments and completed all the necessary formalities. It is a proof of ownership that entitles the user to use the property and indicates the change of ownership – from the builder to the buyer.

How does the Occupancy Certificate Protect Homebuyers?

The Occupancy Certificate guarantees that an apartment complex/building is built in accordance with the approved plan as well as the rules mandated by the concerned authorities. It also certifies that the building is compliant with safety standards and has all basic requirements in place such as water, electricity and sewage. For homebuyers, it is a vital document that ensures that the home they purchase has all the approvals, it is safe for habitation, and has all the basic necessities in place.

As a Property Owner, what are the Rights you Possess?

If you are a homebuyer, it is of interest to you to know about your rights as a property owner. While the introduction of RERA has made sure that builders stick to the governmental norms, buyers are advised to stay vigilant. If the builder refuses to issue the occupancy certificate, as a homebuyer, you can challenge them in court. However, with RERA making the issuance of the document mandatory, such a scenario is unlikely. Still, ensuring that you obtain all the necessary documents from the builder is of critical importance.

What is a Temporary Occupancy Certificate?  

Though you may likely to come across the term, ‘temporary occupancy certificate’, it just doesn’t exist. If a residential apartment project is being completed in phases i.e., tower after tower, the project is eligible to get a partial occupancy certificate. Keep in mind that the validity for a sanction plan is five years and can be extended to seven with a fine for the builder. If the builder has issued you a partial occupancy certificate, you should ask for an occupancy certificate before possession.

How to Check the Status of Occupancy Certificate Online?

All projects are required to be registered under the RERA act. As a result, it is quite easy to check the status of occupancy certificate of a project. You can check the status online on the RERA website of the respective state where the project is coming up.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining the Certificate of Occupancy   

Once the project is completed, the developer can apply for the occupancy certificate within 30 days. The application can be made either offline or online. If you choose the former, you can apply for it by following the steps below:

  • Visit the respective office of the municipality or corporation.
  • Meet the concerned officer to collect the required forms.
  • Submit the filled forms along with the prescribed documents.
  • If you are applying for the certificate of occupancy online, you can log on to the respective government body’s website, go to the menu and get it done by following the instructions carefully.

As mentioned above, to obtain the certificate of occupancy, you are required to submit a range of documents which are mentioned above. Once the application is received by the authorities, a team will be assigned to check the property carefully including its compliance with the plan, prescribed rules, structural safety, stability, fire and safety measures, etc. Once the authorities find it satisfactory, you can expect to obtain the certificate of occupancy within 30 days.

Completion Certificate and Occupancy Certificate: The Key Differences

Though they are seemingly similar, occupancy certificate and completion certificate are two different documents. Let us see how they differ from one another.

Completion Certificate

Completion certificate is issued if the building is constructed in compliance with the approval plan as well as other criteria such as the height of the building, the distance it maintains from the road, etc. In short, if the authorities find that a property is built in compliance with the approved sanctions, the completion certificate is issued. As per the RERA Act’s Section 2 (q), the completion certificate is a legal document.

Occupancy Certificate

Only after obtaining the completion certificate, a builder can apply for the occupancy certificate. It states that the project complies to all building laws and rules by the concerned authority. In addition to this, it also assures that the property is safe to occupy. Occupancy certificate is a legal document under section 2 (ZF) of the RERA Act.

Occupancy Certificate and its Significance in Ensuring Property Legitimacy

As discussed earlier in this article, the occupancy certificate is a vital document that establishes the legality and legitimacy of a property. With the introduction of RERA in 2016, it has been compulsory for developers to obtain the document. In order to be eligible to get the certificate of occupancy, it is mandatory that the building is constructed in accordance with the sanctioned plan as well as the rules and regulations stipulated by the concerned authorities.

All these factors have been beneficial for homebuyers. With the norms stringent, there is a curb on unauthorised construction. This ensures that homebuyers are protected from developers of apartment complexes which are built without getting approval from authorities.

The Role of Occupancy Certificate in Home Loan Approval

As we have already seen, RERA has made it mandatory to obtain an occupancy certificate for projects which are ready for possession. For a homebuyer, the document is a must-to-have to get a home loan. For banks, the certificate of occupancy guarantees that the building is constructed in accordance with the rules and the money being lent is safe.

When it comes to property valuation, certificate of occupancy plays a key role. With an occupancy certificate, the approval and disbursement of a home loan are done smoothly and fast.

Occupancy Certificate and Peace of Mind

A certificate of occupancy is proof that the home a buyer purchases is built in accordance with all the approvals. As per RERA, it is a legal document. For a developer to obtain the occupancy certificate, the building needs to be approved by the governmental authority. Only after a building is checked for its structural stability and safety measures, a certificate of occupancy is issued. All these factors provide peace of mind to a homebuyer.

Non-possession of Occupancy Certificate and its Legal Implications

If a homebuyer fails to obtain the occupancy certificate from developer, the former is likely to face many issues. First and foremost, it is against the law to occupy a home that doesn’t have the certificate of occupancy. Even if the aspect is overlooked, there are other serious legal issues including the possibilities of eviction, if the authorities find out that the building is non-compliant with the rules.

Occupancy Certificate: Developer’s Responsibility

It is unequivocally stated that it is the developer’s responsibility to obtain the certificate of occupancy before handing over the project to the homebuyers. It is advantageous to the developer as it brings transparency in real estate transactions. When a potential homebuyer sees a project with an occupancy certificate, they can be sure that it is built in accordance with the plan as well as the rules and regulations mandated by the concerned authority. This in turn, helps the builder to earn customers’ goodwill.

Occupancy Certificate: A Vital Legal Document

As we are about to conclude, let’s take a look at the occupancy certificate and its significance in brief.

  • Obtaining an occupancy certificate is mandatory before moving into a home.
  • It is the developer’s responsibility to obtain the certificate of occupancy.
  • The document guarantees that the building complies with the plan as well as rules and regulations.
  • A home loan cannot be sanctioned without an occupancy certificate.
  • Purchasing a property without the document can have legal complications for the homebuyer.

The certificate of occupancy ensures peace of mind for the homebuyer.


1. What is meant by OC and CC in real estate?

In real estate, multiple documents are necessary right from the construction stage to the handover stage. Two most important documents among these are OC and CC. While OC stands for occupancy certificate, CC is the shortened version of completion certificate.

2. Is it okay to buy a house without an OC?

RERA has made it mandatory for projects to have OC (occupancy certificate). Hence, buying a project without an occupancy certificate is not advisable. Buying a property without an OC can land you in legal complications.

3. What is a completion certificate?

An array of documents is required to be obtained by the developer at various stages of a property. One such document is the completion certificate. As the name suggests, the completion certificate attests that a project is completed and is habitable.

4. What does OC stand for in real estate?

OC in real estate is a very important document. OC stands for occupancy certificate and must be obtained by the developer. Besides known as occupancy certificate, OC is also referred to by the term certificate of occupancy.

5. What is the meaning of occupancy certificate?

An important legal document, it is necessary for a project to have an occupancy certificate once completed. To have an occupancy certificate, a project needs to be in accordance with the plan as well as the rules and regulations stipulated by the respective authority. An occupancy certificate is also known as a certificate of occupancy.

6. What is the difference between OC and CC?

Two of the most important legal documents in real estate are OC and CC. Whie OC stands for Occupancy Certificate, CC stands for completion certificate. Completion certificate suggests that a project is completed and is habitable. Only after obtaining CC, a developer can apply for OC. OC is given after verifying the structural stability and overall safety of the building in addition to its compliance with the prescribed norms.

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