What is a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO)?

By PropertyClub Team
May 18th 2023
A temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) is a legal document from the NYC Department of Buildings that states the legal use of the building and certifies that it's safe to occupy for a temporary period. TCOs are typically issued after a building is deemed safe, but repairs still need to be made to obtain an official certificate of occupancy. Here is a look at how to get a TCO in New York.

hash-markHow Do I Get a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy?

  1. Pass the Required Inspections
  2. Submit Your Application
  3. Pay the Fee
  4. Obtain a TCO and Finish Any Necessary Work

1. Pass the Required Inspections

The first step to obtaining a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy is to pass the necessary inspections. Schedule an appointment with a Department of Buildings (DOB) inspector to verify the condition of at least the construction, electrical, plumbing, and elevators. The inspector must confirm that these systems are safe and give you a signoff to submit to the DOB. 

2. Submit Your Application

To finalize the application, you must obtain an approved Schedule of Occupancy in the DOB NOW System and submit a Certificate of Occupancy Request. You must also fill out a PW7 form and submit all the signoffs from the inspectors to the Department of Buildings. 

3. Pay the Fee

There is a $100 TCO fee that must be paid along with the application unless the development is exempt from paying the fee.

4. Obtain a TCO and Finish Any Necessary Work

If the application is approved, your temporary occupancy certificate will be good for 90 days or another specified period that is based on the building codes or inspection unit approval. During that time, you must finalize any outstanding issues and apply for a permanent certificate of occupancy. Otherwise, you may be forced to halt normal operations until the building is once again deemed safe. 

hash-markTCO Requirements

The Department of Buildings has the following requirements to obtain a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy:

  • Temporary or Final Construction inspection signoff
  • Temporary or Final Plumbing inspection signoff
  • Temporary or Final Electrical inspection signoff
  • Temporary Elevator signoff (if applicable)
  • TCO Fee (if applicable)
  • Applicant must schedule an update of the open inspections
  • Approved Schedule of Occupancy
  • A Certificate of Occupancy submitted in DOB NOW

Also, note that if the building is not occupied within 30 days, applicants must obtain a new TCO before it can resume normal business. 

hash-markHow Long Does It Take to Get a TCO?

The exact amount of time it takes to get a TCO can vary, but typically the entire application process can take about six months from when the work on the building is completed. If everything goes smoothly, then it may be processed sooner. But if there is any doubt that the building's systems are not safe, the inspector will require you to fix the problem before they sign off. Plus, it's difficult to tell how long the DOB will take to process the application.

There are expediting services you can use to push the application through faster. But plan on at least a few months after finalizing construction before you get approval to occupy the building.