Certificate of Occupancy 101: the main points your business needs to know

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Do I require a Certificate of Occupancy Permit in Houston?

Did you know that Business Owners must obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) when applying for state licenses such as liquor sales, car dealers, hairdressers and barber shops? In many cases a CO is also requires in order to finalize more commercial/business loans. If your business changes, you need a new CO.

Before spending a lot of time trying to navigate all the requirements and determining if your business needs a CO, contact AMB Architects. We have 10 years of experience working with the City of Houston and serve as your advocate throughout the whole process. Clients tell us one of the majot benefits they enjoy by having AMB handle permitting is that they can focus their energy on higher priorities within the business. AMB deals with the COH frequently and we utilize our working relationships to make this process go as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

The different types of Occupancy permits have unique requirements. Your reasons for obtaining an occupancy permit might include any of the below:

• New occupancy permit – Occupying a brand new Building

• Name Change – Taking over a new space

• Change of Occupancy – Your business is different than the previous tenant/use

How do I apply for my Certificate of Occupancy Permit in Houston?

The business must be fully operational on the day of the Occupancy Inspection. The business must also have power. This means that you would be set-up as if you were going to open the doors to the public that day.

You would need the following to apply:

 A Completed Application

 Total Square Footage of the Business

 If you are a tenant, a copy of the lease agreement

 If you have multiple buildings on the site, a site map with all the building addresses & numbers

 Payment for the Application/Permit the day of Submission

All commercial properties in the City of Houston are required to obtain and display a Certificate of Occupancy. Inspections for Compliance are designed to help prevent a building from deteriorating to the point that it could expose its tenants to risk their health & lives.

Where do I put the Certificate of Occupancy once I obtain it?

Per the City of Houston Building Code, an original Certificate of Occupancy must be posted in the location. If a copy of the CO is posted, then the original must be accessible. If a copy is all that can be provided, then it is not considered to be in compliance.  If the CO has been lost, you may apply for a duplicate of the original Certificate of Occupancy.

When do I re-apply for an Occupancy Permit?
The CO for a building/space remains valid as long as the business continues to conduct the same type of business. The CO is void and re-application is necessary if:

 Your business relocates to another address

 The type of business being conducted changes and/or the degree of hazard changes

Depending on your needs and requirements, AMB will work with you to get to the ultimate goal…your Certificate of Occupancy. The process doesn’t need to be confusing or time-consuming. Whether you are the tenant, property manager, or building owner, we can help you understand the details and save time. Please contact AMB to assist you with your Occupancy Permitting needs today!

Find out more about AMB at https://ambarchitects.com

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