As a new homeowner, you may have heard terms like certificate of occupancy, first occupancy license, or similar. Our goal in this post is to let you know what a certificate of occupancy is, what types are available, and when you need one.

To think of a home is to imagine certain minimums in terms of health, surface or security. Certificates of occupancy, which are nothing more than administrative documents that guarantee that certain basic requirements have been met, are required by the administrations for their approval.

One of our extra services is to process these certificates and give you peace of mind, if you need personalized advice and useful tips read on, we are experts in building permits.

What an occupancy certificate?

An occupancy certificate is an administrative document that certifies that a dwelling meets the basic requirements to be occupied, regardless of the fact that other duly authorized activities may be undertaken there.

It is an accrediting document that guarantees that a given space meets the minimum requirements for a space to be habitable for people.

You will need to meet certain basic conditions based on where your house is located and when it was built. There are concrete measurements taken of the house’s minimum useful surface and the area of different rooms, as well as the free height, hollows, and minimum endowments.

The professional who makes the report is a technical architect or higher. But it is different from who issues it, since it will be a technician of the city council, the one that accepts or not this information and signs the certificate.

In most municipalities, the person who can request a certificate or a duplicate is the owner of the property or an authorized representative, like us in Suncoast Permits.

As such, this document has a specific model, which of course varies depending on the city you are in, but it must always include the following information:

  • Address and location of the property
  • Useful surface of the house
  • Number of rooms and spaces inside the house
  • Maximum occupancy threshold
  • Identification of the qualified technician who has carried out the certification

This is general information, as certain data may vary. We can advise you on the model of the document in Tampa.

Why do you need a certificate of occupancy?

It is essential when contracting for water, gas, and electricity services, as well as when selling or renting a house. Make sure that the property has the certificate in place in order to avoid problems later on in the proceedings.

Its purpose is to ensure that the property is habitable based on its health, hygiene, and solidity.

This type of proceedings undoubtedly takes time, in addition to having to make a space in your agenda, so hiring a representative to process building permits and other certifications of this type is quite usual.

Types of certificates of occupancy

There are three types of certificates depending on the age of the property:

  • Certificate of first occupancy: this one applies to newly constructed dwellings, i.e., new houses.
  • Second occupancy certificate: refers to existing dwellings. The certificate of occupancy in old housing corresponds to the renewal of the first occupancy certificate.
  • Certificate of first occupation of rehabilitation: applies to homes that have undergone rehabilitation.

Certificate of occupancy as a tool

The occupancy certificate is regulated by the laws and requirements of each city.

Of course, there are special cases, but mostly, processing this document is mandatory to live legally in your property.

As a general rule, all dwellings must have a certificate of occupancy and/or a first occupancy license. Unless this document is issued, electricity, gas, and water cannot be supplied.

An occupancy certificate may also be required when granting a mortgage or reuniting foreign family members.

Before a dwelling can be occupied, it must have the certificate of occupancy if it was newly constructed or has undergone major renovations that have altered the conditions of occupancy.

In the case of public housing, the occupancy certificate is not required for a period of 25 years, during which time it is replaced by the definitive qualification.

Finally you should know that with an expert in building permits you can quickly process your certificate of occupancy, it is not a costly process and above all you will have what you need to live peacefully in your home as an owner.