Definition of Certificate of Occupancy
A “Certificate of Occupancy” is a document issued by a local government agency (usually a city or county) after the building official inspects the premises and finds no violations of the provisions of the applicable codes. “Certificate of Occupancy” is issued after completion of construction or before a change in the occupancy classification.
If there has been construction, such as Tenant Improvements, the premises cannot be used or occupied until a “Certificate of Occupancy” has been issued. If a tenant's proposed use constitutes a change in occupancy classification, the use of the premises cannot be changed to the tenant's type of occupancy until a “Certificate of Occupancy” has been issued. (See 2010 California Building Code, California Code of Regulations, Title 24, Part 2, Volume 1, Sections 111.1 and 111.2.) A lease will often contain clauses that are triggered by the issuance of the “Certificate of Occupancy,” such as the commencement of rent. To view a “Certificate of Occupancy” issued by Northern California city, see: Example Certificate of Occupancy.
DISCLOSURE: Some of the definitions of leasing terms in this glossary have been tailored to reflect the common practice in the leasing of smaller-sized commercial properties in Northern California. These definitions are not intended to be the legal definitions that would typically be used in a legal proceeding.