Certificate of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is a document issued by the Building Department which certifies that a commercial space or newly constructed residential building has been inspected for compliance with the California Building Standards Code and local ordinances which govern construction and occupancy.

The City of San Juan Capistrano issues the Certificate of Occupancy to the space or building, and not to the specific business. Should a business vacate a space, and another business of the same use/occupancy takes possession of the space without making any modifications requiring a building permit, the existing C of O remains in effect.

When a commercial space is modified and a building permit is required, the city will conduct a record search to determine if a new Certificate of Occupancy must be issued. A new C of O is triggered when the use or area of the space is changed. If it has been determined that a new C of O is required then the new C of O will be issued when all of the work has passed final building inspection. If no new C of O is required, the existing C of O on file will remain in effect.

Once a building permit is issued, it is the permit holder's responsibility to schedule the necessary inspections in order for a city Building Inspector to confirm the space complies with the building codes for the proposed use and that no hazardous or substandard conditions exist. The Certificate of Occupancy will be mailed to the property owner within 6-8 weeks of passed final inspection.