Occupancy Certificate and Completion Certificate in the age of RERA

Published on 19 Feb 2018 by Tushar

A Possession Letter is issued by developers in favour of the buyer. This Possession Letter states the date of possession of the property.

In the age of RERA, if the developer sends you a possession letter without the most crucial document called Occupancy Certificate; the buyer should resist such possession and refuse to pay the principal amount.

In case the developer forces or threatens the buyer to take possession without OC or claim interest, the buyer can draw the attention of RERA and/or Consumer Court, as may be appropriate for taking action against such errant developers.

Under RERA, Developers who give possession to buyers without OC are in breach because no possession can be given without OC. You can contact the best property lawyers in India to know more about occupancy certificate.

Commencement Certificate

  1. Only after obtaining what is logically called as a ‘commencement certificate’ can a builder legally commence or start the construction of the actual project.
  2. This has to be obtained from the local municipal authorities.
  3. Practically, this is crucial from the objective of obtaining the final passing certificate being the Occupancy certificate.
  4. The builder may choose to not wait for a Commencement Certificate and begin construction. This is illegal and can create serious problems in obtaining an OC at a subsequent stage.
  5. The local authorities give their approval subject to a plethora of safety and standards related documents like:
  • No objection certificates,
  • Approvals,
  • Clearances from the - fire department, water department, sewage department, electrical department among others. 

Completion Certificate

  1. This is applied to the local municipal body when the construction of the building is complete.
  2. The construction must be completed as per the approved plans by the municipal authorities which would include safety standards, other standard regulations like environmental clearances, flight safety clearance (Height of the building, alarmer lighting for aircraft on top of the building etc), rainwater harvesting wherever required, the distance from the road etc.
  3. A Completion Certificate is not enough to make your property legal for occupation without obtaining an Occupation Certificate.

Completion Certificate is a document which indicates that the building has been constructed in adherence to the sanctioned building plans. The Occupancy Certificate, 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. Without an Occupancy Certificate, in the age of RERA, your flat is illegal. Talk to the best property advocates in India to know more.

Occupancy Certificate

  1. The Occupancy Certificate is the final pass certificate of a project/ building.
  2. Occupancy Certificate certifies that the building has complied with all the required building standards, local laws and it is safe to occupy (as mentioned to the authorities earlier at the time of obtaining the commencement certificate).
  3. Here, the linkup between investing in a project only after the commencement certificate has been procured and the occupancy certificate finally comes into the picture.
  4. As the project might be well built and ready but without an existing commencement certificate, it would be hard to obtain legally an Occupancy Certificate as there would be no way to check if the project has complied with the required safety and standards set by the laws.
  5. The Occupancy certificate is issued by local municipal authorities or the building proposal department once the building has been completed and is ready to be occupied.

Who can apply for Building Completion Certificate or Commencement Certificate?

The builder has to apply as per RERA to obtain the building completion certificate or commencement certificate. The local civil bodies or Municipal authorities grant these certificate to the builder. However, if the builder fails to do the same the final home buyer must apply themselves.

How to get Occupancy Certificate or Possession Certificate?

If applying personally, you may have to submit documents along with the application form;

  1. Copy of building sanction plan (building plan approval copy).
  2. Building Commencement Certificate.
  3. Copy of Building Completion Certificate.
  4. Latest Property Tax receipt
  5. Copies of No Objection Certificates (NOC) of pollution board or Airport authority etc.

Remedies Against Builders

Never accept anything less than the original. Not even the receipt/ invoice (which can be dated and might not hold true) or whatever the builder might call a duplicate, other than the actual Occupancy Certificate.

If your builder is not providing you with a Building Completion Certificate and more importantly an Occupancy Certificate then follow the following legal process-

  1. Ask the builder to give you OC, Issue a legal Notice if necessary.
  2. File a RERA complaint with help of a good property lawyer in India.
  3. File RTI to know why OC has not been issued for the project
  4. Issue a legal notice directing the builder to obtain an OC
  5. Claim compensation in the consumer court if the developer has delayed
  6. Note that A Provisional Building Completion Certificate is valid for six months only. The final building Completion Certificate is still required to be obtained by the buyer.

For ready-to-move-in projects:

In case it is an older project, the buyers through the flat owners association can either approach the concerned municipal authority directly for grant of OC or file a consumer action before the concerned consumer forum on the ground that non-supply of OC constitutes deficiency of service.

For Under-construction projects:

In case of breach of the obligation by the promoter to secure an Occupation Certificate and provide the same to  RERA authority can be approached against the promoter.

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