Occupancy Certificate

Posted On: 2015-04-23 23:43:25

What is Occupancy Certificate?

Every Builder after completion of construction of building within one month should intimate the Authorities of BBMP in writing about completion of the construction, and such intimation  should be accompanied by a certificate issued by a registered Architect/Engineer. Along with this, an application for permission to occupy the building should also be submitted.  On receipt of such application, the concerned authority of B.B.M.P. shall intimate the applicant within thirty days of receipt of the intimation, as to whether the application for Occupancy Certificate (OC) is accepted or rejected, after physical inspection of the building by an official who shall verify as to whether the building is constructed as per the sanctioned plan and has conformed to the requirement of building byelaws.

In Bengaluru, the authorities of BBMP and BDA are competent to issue Occupancy Certificates.

Occupancy Certificate is a must for utility connections in high rise buildings. It is reliably learnt that there is no doubt that more than 97 high rise apartments were constructed within the jurisdiction of BBMP during the period from  2009 to 2014 and several of them have been occupied in the absence of Actual Occupancy Certificate or perhaps occupied with the fake Occupancy Certificate. It appears as though the buyers of the flats were unaware of the absence of Occupancy Certificate or were provided with fake Occupancy Certificates”. In certain cases, fake Occupancy Certificates are being issued by BBMP officials. As a matter of fact, one of the BBMP  Corporator recently smelled a foul play in granting Occupancy Certificates and he has no hesitation in calling such foul play as nothing less than a scam. The said Corporator has even filed a complaint against certain officials of BBMP with Bangalore Metropoiltan Task Force (BMTF) Police, where he alleges that there are more than 30,000 buildings that have come up in the city during the period from 2009 to 2014, but BBMP does not have records of plan sanctions of all these buildings. There were only 1300 plans sanctioned, 350 Commencement Certificates and 97 Occupancy Certificates issued between the period from 2009 to 2014 according to BBMP which suggests foul play in the issue of plan sanctions and other certificates.  From this, one can assess that there is a revenue loss to BBMP, as the suspected fake certificates would have been issued after pocketing money from the building owners and the amount might not have been remitted to the  BBMP accounts, as a result no record exists with the BBMP.  

Recently the Urban Development Department issued a circular making it mandatory for people to produce Occupancy Certificates to BESCOM and BWSSB in order to get electricity and water connection. BESCOM Authority said that the department was providing permanent electricity connection to the buildings even in the absence of Occupancy Certificate and the new rule has been implemented from December 1, 2014. On the other hand, the BWSSB has already displayed the terms and conditions, which say that buildings that have fourth floor and more have to submit Occupancy Certificate.

Section 5.7 of the Bangalore Municipal Building Bye-laws, 2003, say that: "No person shall occupy or allow any other person to occupy any new building or part of a new building for any purpose whatsoever until Occupancy Certificate to such buildings or part thereof has been granted by an officer authorised to give such certificate if in his opinion in every respect the building is completed according to the sanctioned plans and fit for the use for which it is erected. The Authority may in exceptional cases (after recording reasons) allow partial occupancy for different floors of a building. "

It may not be exaggeration to say that, the Occupancy Certificate for a building is like a "Pass Certificate" issued to a student. It means that the building is built as per the sanctioned plan and has all the mandatory infrastructure/clearances that make it inhabitable. Without the Occupancy Certificate the building is technically unfit for occupation. Violation of the plan apart, the building could be unsafe to inhabitate because of quality of construction, safety of stairs/lifts, electrical safety, fire safety, airline safety, etc. and/or the building may not capable of fulfilling its mandatory role in managing its waste, sewage, water. Finally, it is the buyers of the apartments who are left fighting to save their homes.

The Government authorities are requested to initiate necessary action  so as to ensure that the buyers are protected from unscrupulous builders and officials, the following suggestions are made to Government so as to protect the buyer from unscrupulous builders and officials:

1. Ensure that BBMP/BDA has regular inspections scheduled for every property, so that problems resulting from encroachments and foundations are caught right at the beginning stage itself.

2. Ensure that when a builder applies for sanction of a new building or layout, his previous projects are checked by the sanctioning authority. If he has been denied Occupancy Certificate, no new project should receive sanction.

3. Ensure that when a builder applies for the Occupancy Certificate, the statutory authority completes its inspection and issues a reply within the prescribed time frame, failing which penal action is taken against the officials, and the builder/buyers are compensated for the delay.

4. Enforce Section 5.7 of Bangalore Municipal Building Bye-laws, 2003 by punishing builders who hand over possession of flats without Occupancy Certificate.

5. Make Occupancy Certificate mandatory before registration of flats.

6. Make Occupancy Certificate mandatory for water and sanitary connections and for electrical connections.

It is sure that these steps if implemented strictly, will go a long way in preventing builders from violating the sanctioned plan.  

Source : Occupancy Certificate