Certificate of Occupancy

  1. About
  2. Application Requirements
  3. Application Process

What is a Certificate of Occupancy

A certificate of occupancy is a document issued by the City of Roanoke's Department of Planning, Building, & Development certifying a building's compliance with applicable building codes and other laws, and indicating it to be in a condition suitable for occupancy. The purpose of obtaining a certificate of occupancy is to prove that, according to the law, the house or building is in an occupiable condition. Generally, such a certificate is necessary to be able to occupy the structure for everyday use, as well as to be able to sign a contract to sell the space and close on a mortgage for the space.

Certificates of Occupancy are governed in the Virginia Uniformed Statewide Building Code under Section 116.

The zoning ordinance also requires Certificates of Occupancy. Sec. 36.2-523 of the City Code requires a Certificate of Occupancy to use or occupy any structure or land in which or on which a new use is created or an existing use is changed, converted, enlarged, or moved.

When is a Certificate of Occupancy needed

A new certificate of occupancy may be required by the Zoning Administrator and/or the Building Official. The following are some example cases but is not limited to: 

· New Construction 

· Increase of the building square footage (commercial) 

· Change of primary usage of the building 

· Change of usage in tenant spaces 

· Requested by the owner or tenant of building

When is a Certificate of Occupancy Not Needed

A certificate of occupancy is not required to start training your staff on daily operations, stocking shelves, staging the building, or anything else not related to operating as an open business.