Occupancy Certificate is a very important document under MOFA (Maharashtra Ownership Flat Act) for those purchasing flats and must be acquired by the builder before handing over the possession of property which evidences the completion of the building as per the approved plans and compliance of applicable local laws. The last step before the construction work is termed as complete is obtaining the Occupation Certificate enabling the builder to allot the occupation to the flat buyers.

Local Authorities like City Corporations/City Municipalities issue Occupancy Certificate. Without the Occupancy Certificate, it is difficult to get the water and sanitary connection. Banks/Financial Institutions insist on Occupancy Certificate to sanction loans.

Problems with respect to issuance of Occupancy Certificate arise on account of violation of the laws framed by MMRDA/MRTP/MCGM/TPA/DCR. Though the buyers have spent their hard earned money with a dream of owning a house, they are unable to occupy the house for want of Occupancy Certificate and have to suffer for none of their faults.

Having invested precious money in such buildings and after waiting for many years to get an Occupancy Certificate, the purchasers occupy the houses for fear that they may lose the property. They prefer to illegally occupy the flats without power, water and sewerage connections instead of losing the property.

At times, the flat buyers rely on the builder, performed the house warming ceremonies and take possession of the flats and when they are about to move in, they learn that the Authorities are not issuing Occupancy Certificate due to violation of construction rules by the builder.

In one of the cases, the builder constructed small flats targeting the middle-income group. The Authorities, however, refused to issue Occupancy Certificate because of deviation in construction from the approved plan. In this case, the builder got the plan approved for construction of 4 Dwelling Units – 2 on the ground floor and 2 on the first floor. However, he did something different in gross violation of the approved plan. Instead of constructing 4 dwelling units, he constructed 6 Dwelling Units. The buyers who had invested in the flats may lose their money and the flats if the Authorities decide to demolish the unauthorized and illegal structure.

The Authorities are to be blamed for this state of affairs. The Inspecting Authorities do not carry out periodic and surprise checks at the construction site. In case of deviation they should take the builder to task in the beginning itself and not after the completion of construction.

The investors too must share the blame. They do not check the antecedents of the builder and his track record before taking possession as also they do not check whether the building is according to the sanctioned plan and the fixtures are according to the agreement. Many do not demand Occupancy Certificate, Parent Documents, Tide Deeds and Deposit Receipts from the builder. The purchaser, who has not collected all the required documents, has to face various types of problems at a later stage.