Certificate of Occupancy (C/O) is a rental inspection that is performed by a housing inspector or code enforcement officer. It is a safety mechanism that is enforced by almost all of the towns and cities in Monmouth County.
When you rent an apartment or house your landlord or realtor is required to contact the town to schedule a C/O inspection BEFORE you move in. When the inspector arrives, he or she will go through the rental to make sure that the property is “broom clean” as defined by NJ law, that the unit has been freshly painted, and that the systems (heating, lights, plumbing, appliances, doors, windows, locks) in the unit function properly. Another part of the inspection process is that your apartment or house will be given a maximum occupancy—the total number of people who are legally permitted to live in the rental.
When you are meeting with landlords and realtors you should always ask to see the most recent copy of the C/O for that property. If the person gets defensive, ignores your request, or attempts to tell you that a C/O is not required, you may want to think twice about renting from that person. Remember, every rental property is legally required to have a C/O.