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  • Writer's pictureLawtons Africa

Do you need an occupancy certificate before occupying your new house?

Author: Kobus de Beer

The answer is yes! An occupancy certificate is the approval by your local municipality that your house is built to standard, inspected, and safe for human occupation.

The final days before handover of your house by your builder can be very exciting or traumatising, depending on the progress of your building project. Before you will be able to legally stay in your new house, you are required to be in possession of a valid occupancy certificate. This may sound simple and easy, but it can significantly derail your move into your dream home.

The location of your property and the type of property may influence the steps to obtain an occupancy certificate. Here’s a very basic, step-by-step process for obtaining an occupancy certificate:

Step 1:

Submit your application to your local municipality. Their website is the best place to find the application form.

Step 2:

Pay all the fees stipulated. This will vary from municipality to municipality.

Step 3:

Inspection by the local municipality’s inspector[AP1] . Flexibility is always a benefit.

Step 4:

Remedial work to be attended to, if any, as indicated by the inspector.


If the inspector is satisfied that your property is built to all requirements, you will receive an occupancy certificate.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position and experience challenges in obtaining an occupancy certificate, we at Lawtons Africa will assist you to the achieve the final step.


Lawtons Africa is a South African law firm. With roots that grew out of seeds sown in down-town Johannesburg in 1892, our history features various changes and different names. Our team of lawyers, including directors, consultants, associates and candidate attorneys is highly qualified, market-recognised and skilled. For further information, visit

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