The certificate of occupancy, called a CO, is a document that shows a structure, like a house or office, is safe for inhabitation.
The CO will indicate whether the property is zoned for residential, commercial, retail, industrial or mixed-use. It will verify that a property is up to code and in compliance for safety. It will show that a property is suitable for occupation based on the standards in the municipality where it is located. It will also include the property address, a legal description including square footage, the zoning code, the owner, and any additional notes that might be relevant to the property’s safety. You simply cannot live in a property until there is a certificate of occupancy issued.
Local rules and specific situations determine if you need a CO to sell a house. If you have a converted space, you will need one. This means if you are selling a multi-family home but converting it into a single-family home, the certificate needs to show the code change. If you make a lot of renovations, the same thing applies. With any type of major remodeling, it is best to verify whether or not a CO is needed before selling.
If you do need a CO, then it is best to contact your local zoning or building department. There should be a website where you live to indicate who to contact. An inspection from the local government is done to compare the building to the current code and make sure there are no violations before issuing a report. If the inspection is passed, you can go forward with the sale; if not, you will receive a list of what repairs are needed before another inspection is scheduled. It is important to comply in order to prevent a fine or being sued.
A qualified realtor can always guide and assist in this procedure or get your questions answered. Whippet Properties of Florida is always ready to help!