What is a Certificate of Occupancy and how do I get one?

A Certificate of Occupancy certifies that a building premise may be occupied in accordance with codes for the use specified in the Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.).

How to Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy

Come into the Department of Buildings with your block and lot number(s) and review our file to see if a Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) and/or floor plans are there. If you do not find a C.O. then you will be required to file an application for one. View the Certificate of Occupancy Application (PDF).

If floorplans exist in your file, then you only need to provide us with a copy of your survey along with the application and we will make an appointment to come and check your home. If floor plans do not exist in your file, then you will be required to provide the Department with plans drawn to architectural standards showing the occupancy of each room/space. If work was done with permits and does not agree with the City’s records, then you will be required to legalized the work done by applying for a building permit.


The filing fee for a “Certificate of Occupancy” application shall be:

  • Residential Use: $150, plus $50 per dwelling unit
  • Other Uses: $300.00 per 5,000 square feet of gross floor area of non-residential use

Show All Answers

1. Can a tank be abandoned in place or do I have to remove it?
2. Can I still work while the permit is being processed?
3. Do I need a permit for swimming pool?
4. Do I need a plumbing permit for a boiler (oil-fired or gas-fired)?
5. How do I file an anonymous complaint?
6. How do I get a permit?
7. How long is the permit good for?
8. How long will it take to receive a permit?
9. How many layers of roofing are permitted on a one or two-family dwelling?
10. How much does a permit cost?
11. How can I avoid unnecessary plan objections?
12. How do I file for a change of use?
13. I am having new siding put on my house; do I need a permit?
14. If I have a current building permit, why should I have to file for an additional permit to erect a wall sign?
15. I have been working/living in Mount Vernon for years, since when do I need a permit?
16. I intend on putting up a fence on my property; do I need a permit?
17. I intend to put a shed on my property, do I need permit?
18. I need to find out in what Zoning District my property/house is located?
19. I need to see if I have a copy of a Certificate of Occupancy or a Survey for my property. Where do I look for this?
20. Is a plumbing permit needed to clean out sewers and drains?
21. Is a plumbing permit needed to install a gas fired hot water heater?
22. I want to build a deck. Do I need a permit?
23. I want to install a patio in my yard, do I need a permit?
24. I will be replacing the roof on my house, do I need a permit?
25. The landlord has not made any repairs in my apartment so am I allowed to withhold rent?
26. The Landlord is not providing adequate heat in my apartment. What do I do?
27. What actions would be taken if a landlord/owner/tenant refuses to allow an inspector access to investigate a complaint?
28. What codes does the City of Mount Vernon use?
29. What is a Certificate of Occupancy and how do I get one?
30. What is a survey?
31. What is a task force inspection?
32. What is a vacancy inspection? When is it required?
33. What is the difference between a deck and a patio?
34. What is the largest penalty ever assessed a property owner by the courts for code violations in the City of Mount Vernon?
35. Where is the Department of Buildings located, what are the normal business hours and can I come in or talk to someone on the phone?
36. Whose ultimate responsibility is it to obtain a permit, the owner or the contractor?
37. Why can’t I park as many cars and trucks on my private property as I want?
38. Why does it take so long for a permit?
39. Why do I have to get a Certificate of Occupancy if my house was built in 1932 when Certificate of Occupancies were not required?
40. Why do I need a licensed Electrician or Plumber?
41. Why do I need a permit, drawings and a survey to fix a wall that came down?
42. Why do I need permits from the Department of Buildings?
43. Why do I need plans?
44. Why do I need to file a building permit to erect a fence?
45. Why does the good side of the fence have to face the neighbors?
46. Why should I have to file for a permit when I am making home improvements to my personal property?
47. Why should I insure the City of Mount Vernon when filing for permits?