LINDA SOKO TEMBO writes
Lusaka City Council (LCC) has directed the public to ensure they obtain an occupation certificate before occupying any building to certify that it is fit for habitation.
The council has also given a three months’ grace notice to developers occupying uncertified buildings to regularize the illegality or risk being fined.
Council Public Relations Manager, George Sichimba, said it’s a legal requirement that every new building should be certified as fit for occupation before it habited. Mr Sichimba told the Sun that the law applied to all categories of buildings, namely dwelling houses, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings.
“The Public Health Act Cap 295 of the Laws of Zambia, Section 14(1) states that “The applicant or his authorised agent shall give notice in writing to the Local Authority when the building is completed, and no person shall occupy or suffer to be occupied any new building until such building has been certified by the Local Authority”, he said.
Mr Sichimba added that “Section (2) of the same Act states that the Local Authority shall cause an inspection of the building to be made within forty eight hours from the date of completion.”
He said partial occupation also required certification of the building under Section 15 of the Public Health Act.
He stated that the council has discovered that many developers have not been following the requirements of the law as many of them have occupied uncertified buildings.
Mr Sichimba said that the grace period has been issued following the discovery that some developers had occupied new buildings without first obtaining occupation certificates from the local authority.
Mr Sichimba said the local authority had therefore accorded an opportunity to such people to regularize the illegality by applying and paying the approved fees.
He said the approved fees for occupation certificates were K1, 771.56 for industrial buildings, K1, 328.67 for commercial buildings, K885.78 for institutional buildings and K531.47 for high cost residential buildings.
“Others are K664.62 for medium cost residential buildings and K544.20 for low cost residential buildings,” he said.
Mr Sichimba added “At the expiry of the three months grace period, the local authority would slap penalties on all those who will be found wanting”.Mr Sichimba warned that those who did not comply after the grace period was over risked been charged K 450 per month depending on the number of months one had occupied the building.