What is a Certificate of Occupancy?
A Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is a document issued by Building & Safety 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.
Do I need a Certificate of Occupancy?
The California Building Code states that all businesses shall have a valid Certificate of Occupancy.
Older Commercial Spaces:
Commercial spaces completed prior to 1970 were not issued Certificates of Occupancy. If these spaces have remained unaltered, and the current occupancy is consistent with the original permit records, they are deemed occupiable without a Certificate of Occupancy.
The City of Santa Clarita 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
Prior to 2014 the City of Santa Clarita did not issue Certificates of Occupancy for residential properties. Certificates of Occupancy have been issued for all new residential buildings where the permit application was received on or after January 1, 2014.
How do I obtain a Certificate of Occupancy?
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 so, the new C of O will be automatically issued when all of the work has passed a final building inspection. If no new C of O is required, the existing C of O on file will remain in effect.
If there is no existing C of O on file and a new C of O is needed, a building permit will be required to verify the occupancy and code-compliance of the space. The following items will be required prior to permit issuance:
- A completed permit application
- Complete construction documents, if applicable. The services of a professional designer may be required to prepare plans for the space.
- Payment of plan review and permit fees
Once a permit is issued, city Building Inspectors will perform the necessary inspections to confirm the space complies with the building codes for the proposed use and that no hazardous or substandard conditions exist.
For assistance with obtaining a new C of O, please visit or call the Permit Center at:
City of Santa Clarita Permit Center at City Hall
23920 Valencia Blvd., Suite 140
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
What should be done with the Certificate of Occupancy once it is issued?
The Certificate of Occupancy shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises and shall not be removed except by the Building Official.
Temporary Certificates of Occupancy
Building & Safety may issue a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) on a case-by-case basis. TCOs must be coordinated with the Building Inspector and approved by the Building Official. An additional fee is due for a TCO. The following items will be considered before a TCO is issued:
- The scope of the remaining work and its impact on the use of the space
- How the space will be maintained safe and accessible while the remaining work is completed
- The timeframe needed to complete the remaining work
Building & Safety may deny issuance of a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy for just cause.