Use and Occupancy (Property Transfer)
In cases where a residential or commercial property is changing ownership or whenever a change of tenant occurs in a commercial building there are several required permits that must be obtained.
Zoning Use Registration Permit
The first of which, is a Zoning Use Registration Permit. The Zoning Permit is required to insure that the proposed use is in compliance with the Zoning uses permitted within that Zoning district. If the use is not permitted, the Zoning Permit will provide instructions on the next steps in the process. If permitted by right, you will be able to move on to the next step.
Property Transfer Permit
After the zoning use has been approved the seller of the property may now apply to the Code Department for a Property Transfer Permit(PDF). All information on the Property Transfer Permit Application must be filled out completely prior to an application being processed. All incomplete Property Transfer Applications will be returned to the applicant and will not be processed until a completed application has been submitted. Applications must be submitted at least 30 days prior to your settlement date. This time frame is intended to provide you with enough time to have your property transfer inspection and, if necessary, make any required repairs to the property prior to settlement.
Once the completed application has been received by the Code Department, and any applicable fees have been paid, the Code Department will process your application and assign it to one of our inspectors. Processing of a Property Transfer Permit Application may take up to at least three business days before the assigned inspector will contact the designated owner or agent on the application to schedule an inspection. This inspection is required to insure that the building complies with all applicable Norristown laws and ordinances.
What is my Building Use Group?
As part of our Property Transfer permit process you will have to identify the Use Group of the building. Attached to each Property Transfer Application packet is a Use Group Guide(PDF) for your convenience. This Use Group Guide is to be used for the sole purpose of identifying the Use of a building in accordance with the 2015 International Building Code. The building uses identified are separate of the Municipality of Norristown’s Zoning Ordinance and should not be used to identify a building’s Zoning Use.
Heating and Chimney Certification
You will need to produce a Heating Certification(PDF) and Chimney Certification(PDF) from a contractor licensed and registered with the Municipality of Norristown. Contact the Code Enforcement Department at 610-270-0441 to confirm if the contractor you have chosen is licensed and registered with the Municipality of Norristown.
Property Transfer Inspection
If after the initial inspection the code inspector finds that that property is code compliant an "Occupancy Certificate" will be issued. A copy of the certificate will be provided to the seller for use at the time of settlement.
If however the code inspector identifies conditions that need to be corrected, the repairs must be made prior to the issuance of an "Occupancy Certificate" unless the buyer assumes responsibility, in writing, by way of a Letter of Intent. The Letter of Intent form must be completed by the buyer and returned to the code department. Depending on the findings by the inspector during the initial inspection two different Temporary Certificates would be issued.
- "Temporary Occupancy Certificate" - This is a certificate issued by the Municipality as a result of the Municipality inspection of a property that reveals a violation but no substantial violation and the purpose of the certificate is to authorize the purchaser to fully utilize or reside in the property while correcting violations pursuant to all applicable laws, ordinances, and regulations of the Municipality of Norristown and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including the Property Maintenance Code.
- "Temporary Access Certificate" - This is a certificate issued by the Municipality as a result of the Municipality inspection of a property that identifies at least one substantial violation, and the purpose of the certificate is to authorize the purchaser to access the property for the purpose of correcting substantial violations pursuant to all applicable laws, ordinances, and regulations of the Municipality of Norristown and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including the Property Maintenance Code. No person may occupy a property during the term of a "Temporary Access Certificate," but the owner shall be permitted to store personal items that is related to the proposed use or occupancy of the property or is needed to repair the substantial violations during the time of the "Temporary Access Certificate."
What is a Substantial Violation?
SUBSTANTIAL VIOLATION - A violation of an adopted building, housing, property maintenance or fire code or maintenance, health or safety nuisance ordinance that makes a building, structure or any part thereof unfit for human habitation and is discovered during the course of Municipality inspection of a property and disclosed to the record owner or prospective purchaser of the property through issuance of a Municipality report.
UNFIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION - A condition which renders a building or structure, or any part thereof, dangerous or injurious to the health, safety or physical welfare of an occupant or the occupants of neighboring dwellings. The condition may include substantial violations of a property that show evidence of: a significant increase to the hazards of fire or accident; inadequate sanitary facilities; vermin infestation; or a condition of disrepair, dilapidation or structural defects such that the cost of rehabilitation and repair would exceed one-half of the agreed-upon purchase price of the property.
Leasing Commercial Space
If you are a landlord leasing commercial space in Norristown and have a lease pending with a new tenant, call the Norristown Code Enforcement Department at 610-270-0441 to schedule an inspection prior to signing the lease. We will identify building and other code issues, specific to the tenant’s proposed use, that need to be addressed to ensure a safe and successful operation.
Information for Tenants
If you are a tenant, do not sign the lease until you are certain that a Use and Occupancy Certificate (also known as Property Transfer or Change of Tenant Permit) has been issued. This will protect both you and the landlord. To find out if the space you plan on leasing has the required Use and Occupancy Certificate you can file a Right-To-Know at the Administration Office or online.