What is a Certificate of Occupancy?
Per the City of Houston Certificate of Occupancy guide, "A Certificate of Occupancy must be obtained before a commercial building or an individual lease space within a commercial building may be occupied, or if changes to an existing occupancy classification are made. The certificate must be valid for the use of the building, space or portion thereof. The certificate is normally issued at the time of construction or when a remodel or change of use occurs. (A Certificate of Occupancy is not required for single-family residences, duplexes, and townhouses less than four stories, except for live-work units.) A Certificate of Occupancy is not required for single-family residences, duplexes, and townhouses less than four stories, except for live-work units."
Why are occupancy compliance inspections required?
Compliance inspections are designed to prevent a building’s deterioration to an extent that it could expose its tenants to risks to their health and lives. The Occupancy Inspections section is responsible for ensuring the safety of commercial buildings for their customers and employees through inspections designed to locate and list possible life safety issues.
Who needs to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy?
Business owners must obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) in order to apply for state licenses (liquor sales, auto dealers, barber shops and hairdressers.
How do I apply for an occupancy permit?
The space of business must already have power and be set up for business operations prior to applying. The following items are required in order to apply:
Total square footage of the space of business
If a tenant, a copy of the lease agreement
If you have multiple buildings, a site map listing all building addresses or building numbers
A form of payment: credit/debit or electronic check