Certificate of occupancy is a legal document issued by a government agency or building regulatory department certifying a building’s compliance with applicable building codes and other laws and indicating it to be in a condition suitable for occupancy. A certificate of occupancy is also an evidence that a building complies substantially with the plans and specifications that have been submitted to, and approved by, the building/planning authority.

This certificate of occupancy (CofO) complements a building permit, a document that must be filed by the applicant with the planning authority before construction to show that the proposed construction will adhere to ordinances, codes, and laws. A certificate of occupancy is issued by the state government or the Presidency in the case of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which power he exercises through the Minister of FCT.

Certificate of Occupancy Procedures and Requirements

Certificate of Occupancy in Nigeria

The procedure and requirements for the certificate of occupancy vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and on the type of structure. In the Nigeria, obtaining a CofO is generally required when a new building is constructed or building built for one use is to be used for another (e.g., an industrial building converted for residential use).

The purpose of obtaining a certificate of occupancy is to prove that, according to the law, the house or building is in livable condition. Generally, such a certificate is necessary to be able to occupy the structure for everyday use, as well as to be able to sign a contract to sell the space and close on a mortgage for space.

The process and documents required for obtaining Certificate of Occupancy in Nigeria include

– Purchase of application form with specified fees attached
– Publication Fee
– Tax Clearance / Development Levies (Obtained in the State of Residence)
– Evidence of Ownership or Land Purchased receipt/Agreement duly stamped by the Internal Revenue Services
– 5 copies of the land Survey Plan Surprints
– Photocopy of the State Education Levy for Corporate bodies within the last four years

– Photocopy of Development levy receipt for individuals within the last four years
– Four(4) passport photographs of applicant
– Photocopy of approved building plan (if land is developed)
– Photocopy of the Certificate of Registration/Incorporation if the application is a corporate body.
– Photocopy of receipts of all payment made by the applicant
– Execution fee
– Survey Inspection fee
– Charting fee

Though in a country like the USA, there is a temporary certificate of occupancy granted to residents and building owners all the same rights as a certificate of occupancy, however, it is only for a temporary time. It is perfectly legal, and not uncommon in the given situation, for a building owner to re-apply for a temporary certificate of occupancy, following all the steps and inspections required originally, in order to hypothetically extend their temporary certificate of occupancy for another time.