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Certificate of Use and Occupancy 
(From Miami-Dade County Dept of Planning and Zoning)
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What is a Certificate of Use and Occupancy?

The Certificate of Use and Occupancy is also call as CO and sometimes a Zoning Permit. Prior to occupancy of any commercial, industrial or office location or opening any business in the unincorporated area of Dade County, this certificate is required.

If you are doing interior remodeling or alterations that require a permit, you will need to complete the work and obtain, all final inspections prior to applying for the Certificate of Use and Occupancy. Once a C.O. is obtained, Florida, Power and Light will be contacted so that electricity can be released to the business location.

Why do I need one?

The Certificate of Use and Occupancy assures you that your business is allowed in the zoning district where it is located. It also verifies that the structure you are occupying has been built for your type of business activity.

What do I need to apply?

In order to apply for a Certificate of Use and Occupancy, the following information is necessary:

· location, address, suite or bay number (if applicable)
· name of the business
· corporation name
· corporate officer, title
· type of business
· square footage of space being occupied
· folio number of property

How do I apply for a Certificate of Use and Occupancy?

You can apply in person by coming to the Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW First Street, 12th floor. Or you may apply by fax or mail. Dial our Voice Response line to have an application faxed to you. Dial (305) 271-1242 and direct dial 1,4,2,7 slowly. You may send your completed application to our fax line at (305) 375-2811. For fastest issuance walk your application through in person between the hours of 8:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m.

What are the steps involved?

Your application is reviewed to be sure the type of business is permitted in the zoning district where it is to be located. If your business activity is not permitted at The location, your application will be rejected. You may apply for a Zoning Hearing before the Community Zoning Appeals Board to request that your business be allowed, or even to request a zoning change for the property. For further information regarding a Zoning Hearing, please contact (305) 375-2640.

If your business is permitted on the property, your application will be processed. You may be required to complete affidavits, declarations or other forms, depending on the type of business you have, and depending on the zoning classification of the property. In some instances, plans may be required or you may have to see another section or department for a special review. All applications must he reviewed by the Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) located on the 10th floor.

Some businesses have to be inspected by our departmental inspectors before the C.O. will be issued. These inspections are completed within two to three days from the day they are requested. Inspections types may include electrical, mechanical, plumbing, building, fire, and/or zoning

How long does it take to obtain a Certificate of Use and Occupancy

For many businesses, the Certificate of Use and Occupancy can be issued the same day and may take anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour for processing, if walked through in person.

Mailed and faxed applications require additional time as they are for- warded to DERM and other offices as needed. These applications take four to five days, and require follow up by the applicant. Inspections, if needed, take approximately two to three days.

How much does a Certificate of Use and Occupancy cost?

In most cases, fees for the C.O. are based on the square footage of the area to be occupied. The fee is assessed at a rate of 3 cents per square foot, with a minimum of $90.00 and a maximum of $600.00 plus a $40.00 DERM fee and 6 percent concurrency fee. The 6 percent concurrency fee is not applicable for transfers of C.O.'s to new business owners or for C.O.'s issued based on a building permit. A $30.00 fee is charged for each inspection, if required, except for Fire.

How long is a C.O. good for?

Most C.O.'s are issued on a Permanent basis. If the business does not move, expand, change ownership, name or business activity, the C.O. remains valid. Some C.O.'s are renewable annually and must pay a yearly fee. This applies to all schools, day care centers, night- clubs, palmistry studios and businesses that are required to renew annually following a Zoning Hearing. In some instances, a business location may be occupied under a Temporary C.O. This is available to builders in cases where the structure is substantially or partially complete and all life safety requirements have been satisfied.

How can I find out the status of my C.O. application once I have applied?

Dial (305) 271-1242 then dial 1, 4, 2, 4 slowly to check on C.O. status. Always refer to the assigned process number that begins with a "u". If you do not have a C.O. process number, call (305) 375-2639.

What is a Certificate of Completion?

A Certificate of Completion (C.C.) is issued when a single- family residence or duplex residence is completed. It costs $25.00.

Is there a penalty if I don't obtain a C.O.?

Yes. Occupying a business location without obtaining the necessary C.O. may result in a fine and possible tickets both to the tenant and the property owner.

What is the difference between the Certificate of Use and Occupancy and the Occupational License?

The Certificate of Use and Occupancy allows the occupancy of the structure and certifies that the use is permitted. The Occupational License is a tax on the business activity. Both are required to function in Miami-Dade County.