As the name implies, the Certificate of Occupancy certifies that a home can be lived in. It is a requirement of most local government or shire councils that an occupancy certificate be issued prior to the purchaser of a home taking occupation.
The Certificate of Occupancy contains information required by the local government, so it can arrange or review inspections of building work as completed, and to provide health and other services such as waste collection.
It is usually the owner’s responsibility to obtain the certificate, however in Victoria this certificate is required by the builder before demanding final payment.
Ordinarily, the building contract is completed, and final payment due, when the building work is done (apart from maintenance matters or any minor defects), and this stage may be reached even if no Certificate of Occupancy has yet been issued. If a Certificate of Occupancy is later refused because of defective building work, the builder is required to return to the site and remedy this work. Home Owner Warranty insurance will normally apply.