JEANNE REARDON - Attorney at Law

Delivered by FeedBurner

Recent Posts

What does the "on or about" closing date in my contract to purchase a home mean?
Real Estate Contract Mortgage Contingency Clause
Why a Home Buyer Needs Title Insurance
Joint Ownership of Real Property in New York


Capital Gains Tax
Closing Costs
Condos and Coops
Home Buying and Selling
Home Mortgage Refinance
Homeowner's Insurance
Loan Modification
Making Home Affordable
Real Estate
Real Estate Closing Costs
Short Sales
Title Forms
Title Insurance
Types of Ownership of Real Property


March 2020
October 2018
September 2018
June 2018
May 2018
February 2018
November 2017
April 2017
February 2017
January 2017
May 2016
April 2014
February 2014
January 2014
January 2013
August 2012
June 2012
March 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
July 2011

powered by

Real Estate Law Blog

Certificate of Occupancy

The purchase of a home is the biggest investment most people make in their lifetime.  To help ensure that you "get what you pay for," make sure that the home has a proper Certificate of Occupancy.

Unless the house was built prior to 1938, obtain a copy of the Certificate of Occupancy (CO), which describes the legal use and occupancy of a property.  To obtain a copy of a CO, visit the Department of Buildings in your borough or town.

Buildings constructed prior to 1938 are not required to have a CO.  If your house or property was constructed before 1938 and there has been no change in the use or additions to the property, or a change to the ingress or egress of the building, it may not have a CO.  If proof is required that no CO exists, the Department of Buildings will provide you with a letter confirming that a CO is not required for the building because it was built before 1938.  If you need proof of the legal use of a building that does not have a CO, you must obtain a "Letter of No Objection" from the Department of Buildings where the property is located.

If you are purchasing a property, especially new construction, check to see whether the CO is marked "Final" or "Temporary".  A Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) has an expiration date.  What this means is that although the house is safe for occupancy, this is a temporary approval that is subject to expiration.  If you purchase a home that has a TCO, you should consult an attorney and an architect or engineer to determine the requirements and costs for obtaining a final CO.

Your real estate attorney should obtain a written agreement and sufficient escrow from the seller/developer that will ensure that the seller/developer finishes any outstanding work and gets the permanent or final CO.

Take note of any construction that looks new or different from the rest of the house, such as an addition or deck.  Prior to closing, make sure that you get the proper CO from the seller for this work.  If you do not, as the new property owner, you will be responsible for legalizing any work that was previously done on the property without the proper permits or that was done in violation of the Building Code.  If you purchase a home with outstanding violations, you must correct the illegal conditions even if they were present when you purchased the property.  You will also be responsible for paying any outstanding fines or fees in connection with the violations.