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Introducing the Interim Certificate of Occupancy

What you need to know about the new type of TCO

After months of deliberation, a new law passed on December 10, 2020 will open up a new, streamlined type of Certificate of Occupancy at the New York DOB.

Going into effect in April 2021 (120 days from passage), the Interim Certificate of Occupancy (ICO) can be used in place of a traditional Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) in certain cases to allow partial occupancy (a specific floor or floors) of buildings before full completion of construction work.

While the two COs are fairly similar in function, the process of obtaining one is not. The ICO approval process has been designed with fewer bureaucratic hoops to jump through while maintaining safety standards for occupants.

Most notably, unlike the TCO’s 90-day renewal policy, an ICO requires no renewals, providing major peace of mind for building owners in these already uncertain times.


Even with less red tape, an ICO will still require comprehensive DOB inspections and statutes to be followed. In order to first qualify for an ICO for a specific portion of your building, all of the following conditions must be met:

  • The building must be of noncombustible construction and protected with an automatic sprinkler system.
  • Proper means of egress must be provided.
  • There can be no outstanding objections that affect the occupancy of the proposed portion of the building.
  • The portion of the building must be deemed safe for occupancy upon inspection, without reliance on temporary measures.

As part of the new bill, building owners will have to post a copy of partial certificates of occupancy and temporary certificates of occupancy, including the interim certificates of occupancy, in accordance with section 28-118.19 of the Administrative Code.

In addition, the following types of projects DO NOT fall under the jurisdiction of this new law, and thus cannot qualify for an ICO:

  • Residential buildings with fewer than eight stories or four dwelling units,
  • Non-residential buildings with fewer than five stories,
  • Mixed-use buildings with fewer than four dwelling units, or
  • Parking structures.


The Interim Certificate of Occupancy is intended to be a boost for housing and businesses, particularly small businesses, in New York City. Building owners and business managers can spend less time on paperwork and more time on important administration, while occupants won’t have to face as long a wait to start moving in.

With New York hoping to get back to its old hustle and bustle in 2021, it’s good to see the DOB is recognizing what is needed to help that transition along.

If you have a project that you think would benefit from an ICO, or want to discuss options and conditions further, feel free to reach out to Outsource Consultants, and continue to follow Decoder for all the latest news.