Occupancy permits

What is an Occupancy Permit?

An occupancy permit tells anyone interested in purchasing a newly built or renovated property that the property is suitable for occupation.
Occupation of the home is not permitted until the certificate is issued: it is otherwise an offence.

The occupancy permit is different from a Certificate of Final Inspection which is only issued for existing homes which have been extended or altered.

The building permit issued by the local council should advise what type of certificate or permit is required at the conclusion of works.

How do I obtain an Occupancy Permit?

A building surveyor will have the final say if an occupancy permit is issued.  They will usually ask practitioners who participated in the build to supply certificates and statements to aid in ensuring that building legislation has been complied with.  If the building surveyor is not satisfied that the building or apartment is suitable for occupation, then these matters are to be resolved  by the builder who is responsible for the construction in accordance with the  contract, permits and legislation.

What does the Occupancy Permit tell me?

The occupancy permit is issued by a building surveyor after being satisfied that structural requirements of the house or apartment are in place, including  smoke alarms, balustrades, water supply and handrails.  For the purposes of the occupancy permit, the building surveyors do not concern themselves if painting or other cosmetic touches are not completed.

If I am selling my property, do I need to supply the Occupancy Permit in the Section 32 Vendor’s Statement?

The Building Act 1993 (Vic), it created an obligation for the home owner to have an occupancy certificate or a certificate of final inspection to ensure that works completed on the property demonstrated a standard of completion and safety.  However, if the vendor fails to supply the certificate, it does not undermine the vendor’s ability to sell the property and the purchaser does not necessarily have the right to insist on the certificate prior to settlement.

However, if a purchaser has purchased a house or apartment ‘off the plan’, then a purchaser is entitled to expect that they will have a legal right to occupy the premises -therefore the vendor is obliged to obtain the certificate in those circumstances.

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