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Occupancy Certificate is mandatory: A house without an OC is illegal!


Sonia  was a happy buyer when she got the possession letter from her builder after a delay of eight years. She was prompt in paying the outstanding amount as she had patiently waited for so many years for the construction to be completed.

The builder gave her the keys and assured her that the Occupancy Certificate (OC) can be obtained in a few months. Not aware of the implications of this, Sonia immediately shifted there because paying the EMIs and rentals was a huge burden on her monthly income.

Her happiness, however, was short-lived. After one year, as she kept waiting for an OC, her dream home was declared unauthorized and an eviction notice was issued by the authorities.

These days many buyers continue to occupy apartments without an OC, which can jeopardise the legal status of their property and an eviction notice may be served on them if they ignore it. As a buyer, do not ignore the importance of an OC, as it secures the legal status of your property. Let us decode occupancy certificate and its importance for you.

What is an occupancy certificate?

This legal document certifies that the construction is in compliance with the approved building plans.

It is issued by local municipal authorities after the construction is complete and it is ready to be occupied. Without this document, your building has no legal sanction for occupancy.

"Occupancy Certificate gains significance because it is a document which evidences the completeness of all the installations and approvals required for a building to be habitable," Kunal Arora, associate partner of Alpha Partners, says.

Difference between CC and OC

A Completion Certificate (CC) proves that the builder has not violated any building rules and standards. He has constructed the building as per the floor area ratio limit, structural design, quality specifications of construction, distance from surrounding buildings, height of the building, number of floors, etc. This document is necessary for any apartment or building to receive basic facilities.

An Occupation Certificate (OC) is issued after the construction meets the building standards. A CC alone cannot legalise occupation; you must have the OC too.

"Completion Certificate is a document which merely indicates that the building has been constructed in adherence to the sanctioned building plans. The OC, on the other hand, is a certificate which proves that all the necessary equipment and other facilities required to be installed in a building have been installed and permits the occupation of the building," Arora says.

Home at risk – Flat without OC

1. Without a valid OC, your building can be demolished as it can be classified as an unauthorised structure by the authorities.

2. OC is crucial while applying for a home loan or loan to purchase a resale flat. You cannot even sell your property without a valid OC in hand.

3. Key amenities like water, sewage connection, electric supply, etc, can be disconnected in case you do not have an OC.

How can a buyer apply?

You can apply for an OC from the municipality.

If all approvals are in place, an OC is issued within 30 days of application.

You will have to submit the same documents as the builder to procure an OC.

What to do if builder says no?

You can approach a lawyer and ask him to issue a notice to the builder asking him to apply and hand over a copy of the OC. You can also approach the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) and file a complaint against the developer. The NCDRC will issue a directive to the developer to secure the OC for you.

OC is an essential document as it ensures the security of your investment. You must not accept possession without this document.

As a buyer you must make sure that your builder gets all the necessary approvals before handing over a property.


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