Buying a home takes a lot more than just your money. Months of research and lengthy paperwork are also involved in this home buying process. After waiting for months when you finally take possession of your dream home, you need to make sure that you have done all the required paperwork. One such important legal document is the Occupancy Certificate and here we will discuss the importance of this piece of paper.
Importance of Occupancy Certificate:
According to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) the property buyers should be extremely careful about the legal documentation of the home buying process and Occupancy Certificate is clearly one of the must have documents of that process.
An Occupancy Certificate (OC) is issued by the local municipal authorities when the inspection from the government body is satisfactory, and it’s proved that the building construction has been done as per the approved plan. This certificate guarantees the legality and rightful possession of the property.
An OC is required for any real estate transaction whether the property is for your personal use or for resale purpose. Without an OC home owners will not get the facilities like water, drainage and electricity connections. In absence of this particular legal document, the local government agency can initiate any legal action and eviction process. When a home buyer applies for a home loan, even the bank will ask for the Occupancy Certificate.
Required Documents for Occupancy Certificate in West Bengal and Kolkata:
In the State of West Bengal, the below mentioned documents must be presented along with the West Bengal occupancy application form:
- Three copies of the property Completion Certificate signed by the licensed Building Surveyor or the Architect and the applicant.
- Commencement Certificate
- Copy of the approved plan
- Structural safety certificate
- Certificate from the concerning technical personnel for completion of drainage and water supply (for projects with three or more independent separate residential units within the metropolitan areas)
- Copy of the complete sewerage plan and water supply connection certified by the concerning technical personnel (for projects within the jurisdiction of Bidhannagar Corporation and Nabadiganta Industrial Township Authority)
- Fire safety certificate (if applicable)
- Certificate from electric supply board
- Lift installation certificate (if applicable)
Who Can Apply for the Occupancy Certificate and When?
The builders/ developers should take the responsibility of applying for the Occupancy Certificate with the local municipal corporation or government agency within thirty days after the completion of the residential project.
As an individual property owner, you can also apply for the Occupancy Certificate if your property developer has not violated any rules and regulations and you have all the required paperwork for procuring an Occupancy Certificate. Ideally the Occupancy Certificate is issued within thirty days of the application.
Partial Occupancy Certificate
In some cases, a developer can get a partial Occupancy Certificate for a nearly finished residential property and flat owners can take possession. The validity of a sanctioned plan is five years and it can be extended for two more years with a fine. Buyers taking possession with a Partial Occupancy Certificate must ask the builder for the Occupancy Certificate as soon as the project or the building is finished. If your residential property is registered under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, you can check the status of your Occupancy Certificate on the website of the concerned State’s RERA. It’s mandatory for all the builders to update the developments of their projects on the RERA portal regularly. If you cannot check the update or if the data is not available on the RERA portal, you can confirm it from the local municipal corporation or government agency.
Consequences of Not Obtaining the Occupancy Certificate:
As discussed above, Occupancy Certificate is a crucial document of the property buying process. This document certifies the legal status of the building and it preserves the ownership right. This certificate affirms that the building is suitable for taking possession. Residing in a property without obtaining the Occupancy Certificate can cause the following consequences:
- The property can be declared illegal and you may get evicted.
- The property can be demolished due to unauthorised construction
- Issues in availing home loan or reselling the property
- Water and electricity supply can be disconnected by the municipal authorities without any intimation
- Owner may be forced to pay a huge amount of extra property tax as a penalty.
Rights of a Property Owner:
In case your property builder is refusing to provide an Occupancy Certificate or is trying to dupe you by providing the receipt of the OC, you can exercise your legal rights by filing your grievances with your State’s regulatory authority on the official web portal if your property is registered under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act. This process generally involves an application fee of Rs. 1000/-, however, the amount may vary from state to state. You can also issue a legal notice against the builder asking him to hand over the OC within a month. Property owners can also take legal action against the builder by approaching consumer forums and file a petition demanding the Occupancy Certificate.
Be vigilant and make sure that important legal documents ensuring your rights, like Occupancy Certificate, are in place and in case you need more guidance, contact an experienced property lawyer. To guide you in the right direction, contact here or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your queries.