New Type of Certificate of Occupancy for New York City

In New York City there are two types of Certificates of Occupancy: a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy issued by the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) for portions of construction that are deemed safe for occupancy pending final approval and a Permanent Certificate of Occupancy certifying final approval for occupancy based on compliance with all applicable building codes and laws. Until now. Last Winter, the New York City Council approved legislation that will create a new class of certificate called an Interim Certificate of Occupancy (ICO). The DOB is expected to begin issuing such certificates in mid- April, 2021. The ICO is very similar to the Temporary Certificate of Occupancy with one critical difference. A Temporary Certificate of Occupancy must be renewed every 90 days until a Permanent Certificate of Occupancy is issued. An undesirable consequence of this requirement has been that developers and construction crews are often forced into delays, uncertainties and difficulties with the City over renewals, and prospective tenants in a building, whether residential or commercial, must live with the risk and uncertainty that a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy could be denied at any given 90 day interval. The new ICO resolves these issues. It can be issued for portions of a building that are newly constructed and deemed safe for occupancy even though the rest of the project is not completed, but without the renewal requirement. In this way, tenants can move into newly constructed spaces with greater peace of mind and construction teams can avoid red tape hassles. The ICO will require DOB field inspections to ensure adequate safety and, once issued, the ICO will indicate that specific portions of the building are in compliance with City codes and zoning regulations, that further DOB approvals are not needed for that portion of the project, and that there are no outstanding issues requiring mediation. The ICO will remain in effect until a Permanent Certificate of Occupancy is issued.