The key document used to certify the legal use and occupancy of a building is called the “Certificate of Occupancy” (C/O). The document is issued by the Department of Buildings and describes how a building may be occupied, for example, a single family or a two-family home, a parking lot, a 40-unit multiple dwelling, or a store. A (C/O) is often required when selling a home or refinancing a mortgage.
If planned construction is creating a new building, or will result in a change of use, egress, or occupancy to an existing building, a new or amended Certificate of Occupancy is necessary. You may need to obtain a new survey and an Electrical Underwriter’s Certificate in order to complete the (C/O) process.
The Certificate of Occupancy will be issued when the completed work complies with the submitted plans and applicable laws, all paperwork is completed, all necessary approvals have been obtained from other appropriate agencies, all fees owed to the Department are paid, and all pending issues are resolved. A new building cannot be legally occupied until a Certificate of Occupancy has been issued.