Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy (CO) states the legal use and/or type of permitted occupancy for a building. New buildings must have a CO, and existing buildings must have a current or amended CO when construction will change their use, egress or type of occupancy.

No one may legally occupy a building until the Department has issued a Certificate of Occupancy or Temporary Certificate of Occupancy.

The Department issues a final Certificate of Occupancy when the completed work matches the submitted plans for new buildings or major alterations. It issues a Letter of Completion for minor alterations to properties. These documents confirm the work complies with all applicable laws, all paperwork has been completed, all fees owed to the Department have been paid, all relevant violations have been resolved and all necessary approvals have been received from other City Agencies.

Checking the CO of a Property

Using the Project’s Job/CO Number:

  1. Use the Buildings Information System (BIS) and click the center button to enter BIS
  2. At the 'Buildings Information Search' screen, click the 'Applications' link.
  3. At the 'C.O. Application Number' section, type in the project’s job (same as the CO number) and click 'Go.' The 'C/O Application Summary Inquiry Screen' will show the status of the application.
  4. Click on 'All Requirements and All Objections” for information on items or issues to be resolved.

Using the Property Address:

  1. Use BIS and select the borough and type in the address.
  2. Click on 'View Certificates of Occupancy' to view an existing CO. For pending COs, click on 'Jobs/Filings' near the bottom of the page.
  3. Once you find the pending job you’re interested in, click the link. The 'Application Details' page will appear. Use the 'C/O Summary' and 'C/O Preview' links for information.

Getting a Copy of a CO

You can print a copy of a building CO from any computer. Use the Buildings Information System to look up the property. Under the Building Profile, the View Certificates of Occupancy link will display the CO. You can also obtain a copy of a Certificate of Occupancy from the Department’s Customer Service Counter in your borough office.

Proof of the Legal Use of a Building Without a CO

Buildings built before 1938 aren’t required to have a Certificate of Occupancy – unless later alterations changed its use, egress or occupancy. If you require proof of a building’s legal use – and it’s exempt from the CO requirement – contact the Department’s borough office where the property is located to request a Letter of No Objection.

Temporary CO

Owners must make sure a building or unit has a Certificate of Occupancy. In some circumstances, the Department may determine that a property is safe to occupy, but there are outstanding issues requiring final approval. A Temporary Certificate of Occupancy – or TCO – indicates the property is safe for occupancy, but the TCO has an expiration date. TCOs typically expire 90 days after issuance.