Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP)
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TOP is used in Singaporean real estate while the CSC processing is underway to indicate the move-in date to a newly constructed building.
In Singapore, every housing development must acquire either a TOP or a CSC from government-sanctioned technical departments. As the name suggests, a Temporary Occupation Permit is a “temporary” permit that you can acquire for buildings that are ready to be occupied but not compete yet. For example, the building may be ready to settle tenants, but some facilities, such as the elevator or the pool, are still under construction.
Even if you already have a TOP, once your building is complete, you will have to apply for the Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC) issued by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).
What is a Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP)?
TOP is a permit that lets homeowners occupy residential properties temporarily. Acquiring this permit will allow homeowners to let residents into an incomplete building.
With a TOP, developers can allow occupants to move into residential properties even if there are still minor works underway in the building. for example, unfinished swimming pools and other public facilities.
The TOP acts as a stand-in while the actual Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC) is underway. Under Singaporean law, it is mandatory for any homeowner to have either of these compliance certificates. after the completion of the building, it is the responsibility of the developer to get the CSC to avoid legal trouble.
What is Express TOP?
- Express TOP is a fast-track system for getting your TOP. Unlike regular TOP, you get the permit within one single working day. You can apply through the CoreNet e-Submission System and submit all the relevant documents for the TOP application process.
What do you mean by Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC)?
CSC can be considered the permanent version of the TOP. Under this certification, tons of regulations are listed which developers have to follow through. the main purpose of this certificate is to ensure that all building developers follow maximum safety protocols mandated by the government of Singapore.
What is the difference between TOP and CSC?
The stark difference between a TOP and a CSC is that the TOP is an optional certificate that a developer can acquire, whereas the CSC is that the TOP is optional while CSC is compulsory. It is also easier to process a TOP than the CSC since it has more document requirements.
There is also a difference in the criteria to be met by developers before the residential occupation of the buildings. when it comes to CSC, you will need to tick more boxes of requirements as compared to a TOP. Since a CSC confirms that the building is fully constructed and functional, the terms are lengthier than with a TOP.
TOP is just a temporary permit that allows developers to permit the residential accommodation of the building whereas, for the long term, all developers need to have the CSC as made compulsory by the governing bodies in Singapore.
What is the use of a Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP)?
If TOP is optional when you think about it, why bother getting one first? The simple answer is that developers can start taking tenants into their buildings before completion. This temporary permit allows homeowners to legally house tenants in their facilities before it is 100% completed.
You can get the most use out of your TOP when you have a building under construction, almost ready for occupation but need s few finish touches. Instances like a fully functional building with rooms prepared for renters but common facilities are incomplete within the property boundary. In such a case, your TOP will come in handy since you can finally open your building for occupation and start selling or renting flats while simultaneously working on the building.
How relevant is a TOP?
The main reason for the creation of such a law is to ensure that all buildings in Singapore reach the standard quality for safety and lifestyle. The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has an extensive list of requirements for homeowners to meet before they can start earning money through rent. Meeting all these criteria is not easy; plus, one must check all these boxes to get the CSC. Hence, having a TOP will temporarily allow owners more flexibility in their housing decisions.
How important is a TOP certification for residents?
For residents, acquiring a TOP-certified building means that the building is newly constructed and has room for improvements, rennovations-wise. you can plan a proper layout of the place as well as design the interiors freely. with a TOP, you have assured the safety of the building structure and all basic amenities to be provided by the developers.
Recent laws on MCSTs:
- Transparent maintenance charges: Developers cannot collect more than the mandated amount as maintenance fees.
- Limited proxy votes: MCST members can only hold 2% of the total number of lots within the development. This was done to assure the active involvement of unit owners in the decision-making process.
- Unit owners can install safety units: The only criterion is that the additional safety equipment of the unit owner should not drastically change to look of the property or building.
- Requirement of explicit content: all subsidiary proprietors need to give their explicit consent before being appointed to the council
Double-hatting is prohibited: Office bearers of the council cannot hold more than two posts.
What is the eligibility criterion for developers to get a TOP?
The key requirement of a building to qualify for a TOP is that the building should be ready to accommodate the comfortable living of its residents. this means that all the basic amenities such as windows, pipelines, and other safety measures are in-line and functional.
in most cases, the unfinished parts of the property are not the building itself but separate entities like a mini-park, playground, or swimming pool.
How to apply for TOP?
Regular TOP application process:
The technical department of the BCA inspects and surveys the relevant building and its plan. As the owner, you should have an experienced professional engineer oversee the construction of the building so that all the regulations are met.
After inspection, if the BCA gives your building the stamp of approval, you will have to submit legal documents such as RI Inspection Certificates. The developer has to check all the necessary documents and legalize the process of opening the building for occupation.
Once the concerned technical authorities approve every legal document, you can apply for the TOP from the BCA. This whole process will generally take you about 3-4 weeks.
The application form for TOP is done through CoreNet e-Submission System
Express TOP application process:
If you urgently need a TOP, you can go for the express TOP. this entire process takes you less than a day to complete.
The application process follows the same steps, from a successful inspection to submitting all the legal documents and getting approved by relevant authorities. The express TOP application demands a fee of $500 for small projects and a charge of $1000 for significant projects.
All housing developments in Singapore require Government-Authorised Approval before tenants can occupy the rooms. This is a stringent security measure to ensure the safety of the house and the buyers of the home. Even as a buyer, you want to ensure that the building has either TOP or a CSC for maximum security.
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