When one purchases property to move into, or for investment purposes, its pros and cons come along with it. Formalities need to be completed and documents, such as an occupancy certificate or a partial occupancy certificate, need to be procured before one transports their belongings all the way across the country or hires movers to move them from the opposite building. These two documents are just as important as the rest, if not more.
On completion of a building / project, the builder must apply for OC to the local authority in charge. An occupancy certificate is issued to him, stating that the residences in the buildings constructed by him are fitted with all the facilities and utilities as promised at the time of construction. This means that the premises are fit for occupancy.
But when does the need for a partial occupancy certificate arise?
A partial occupancy certificate comes into the picture when there are blocks or phases of large projects to be developed with varying completion dates. When the construction of one phase is completed, the concerned authority grants a Partial OC to the builder after thorough inspection of the building. Similarly, phases that are completed after that are given a Partial OC as well.
A Partial OC is replaced by a consolidated document called the OC (Occupancy Certificate) stating that the entire project has reached its completion point and is now deemed fit for occupancy. All the Partial OCs for that particular project become invalid once the Final OC has been granted. Until then, they act as the OC for that particular phase. The concept of Partial OC has always existed but it is becoming increasingly significant nowadays, since townships and other residential areas are being built in phases.
An OC and a Partial OC certify compliance to –
- Fire Service Department
- Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
- Pollution Control Board (including Sewage Treatment Plant)
- Forest Department
- Parking regulations
- Electricity Board (including elevators)
- Waste Disposal and Management facilities
- Rainwater harvesting facilities
- Airports Authority clearance, if the project is within the range of an airport
How does an OC come into the picture at the time of redevelopment?
If there is redevelopment taking place or there are additional floors to be built, the developer obtains a Partial OC for every flat on every floor that is constructed and ready for possession. This Partial OC is also replaced by a final OC at the time of completion of project. If, for whatever reason, the project has not been completed or was unable to be finished within the specified duration or permissible time limit, construction should be stopped. After that, an inspection will follow, based on which a final OC will be granted to the residents.
Importance of OC and Partial Occupancy Certificate:
- Legal and immediate possession of a flat is valid only if there is the OC or Partial OC to show for it.
- Builders cannot hand over flats to buyers without receiving the OC from the concerned authority in charge.
- Without an OC, buyers / owners are not eligible for any insurance or compensation claims.
- Possession of a Partial OC lets one apply for sanitary, water and electricity connections. Even if these facilities have been made available without an OC, they are liable to get disconnected.
- OC is generally required to get a home loan sanctioned by a financial institution. With a Partial OC, one may not get an approval for their home loan.
- Application for Partial OCs and OCs need to be submitted within 30 days of completion of the project / phase. The local authority, in turn, must respond within 30 days of receipt of the application, providing an acceptance or rejection and reasons for the same. The OC is a necessity when one wishes to sell their flat.
- An OC or Partial OC tells you about the extent of deviation from the sanctioned plan and acts as an assurance to its regularisation, if the violations are within 5 percent of –
(1) the setback that is to be provided around the building
(2) plot coverage
(3) floor area ratio
(4) height of the building.
The deviations are regularised after the modified plan is approved by the authority in charge.
If you have purchased a flat that is under the phased development plan, insist on getting a Partial OC. This is valid until the project is under construction. Then make sure you replace it with an OC once it is completed. Keeping these important documents safe and available whenever they are required is of utmost importance. These are synonymous with other necessary compliance that ensures the safety of the flat and the quality of facilities that are being provided. The amenities and services that a flat owner receives must live up to the quality that was promised by the builder. Getting an OC / Partial OC helps to acknowledge this.
Your Document Checklist before Buying an Apartment
Before buying an apartment in Kottayam, or anywhere else in India, there are a few things you need to make sure are in place. Apart from checking into the credibility of the seller and the property, you have to ensure that you are equipped with the required documents for a property purchase. Here is a list of important property documents that are required to buy an apartment or an independent house.
1. Land ownership record check:
You have to ensure that you are dealing with the legal owner of the property because only the rightful owner has the right to sell their property. So the first thing to check is the ownership records of the property for at least, the past 30 years. This would give you the list of all the transactions that have been associated with the property in this period.
2. Encumbrance Certificate:
An encumbrance certificate is to find out whether the property that you are planning to purchase has a mortgage/charge on it as the current owner may have pledged the property to a bank to get a loan. The encumbrance certificate will give you an idea on all the transactions that have been registered relating to the property for any specified period.
In order to obtain an encumbrance certificate, you have to approach the sub-registrar’s office, where the deed for the land has been registered.
3. License/development right/ approvals of the builder:
If you are buying a ‘ready to move in’ apartment or house from a reputed builder, make sure to ensure the proper conveyance of Title in favour of the builder, the license/development right/ approvals of the builder and the clear and marketable title of the project.
4. Allotment letter/ Sale Agreements:
Ensure whether reputed financial companies approve the project as this will help you in getting financial loans. Also ensure the execution of proper Allotment letter/ Sale Agreements on your payments.