Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) VS Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC): A Guide to HDBs and Condos

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Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) VS Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC): A Guide to HDBs and Condos

TOP, CSC — can these acronyms get any more confusing? If you’re thinking of getting a new property in Singapore, you’ll probably run into these acronyms and wonder to yourself, “what’s the difference between the two?”

Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) and Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC) may seem quite similar, but there are some significant differences in what they mean. 

In this article, we’ll break down their key differences and discuss what they mean to homeowners.

Learn more about Singapore home loan jargons here.

Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) vs Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC) 

It’s not hard to see why there’s confusion between the two. After all, in both TOP and CSC, homeowners get to move into their units and take residence. So why is there a need for two different certifications? And should homeowners be concerned with these differences?

Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) property meaning

The Temporary Occupation Permit for TOP is given to developers who have not yet attained the CSC, but units in the estate are already safe for residences to move in. 

 A shared swimming pool in a condominium in Singapore

The TOP allows residents to move into the development before the remaining amenities are completed. For example, while the units are completed, more work may need to be done for shared facilities like the swimming pool and barbeque pits. 

Once an estate has successfully applied for TOP, residents can collect their keys and begin their stay in the estate, instead of waiting for the project to be fully completed.

Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC)

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) ‘s CSC is an essential certification given to safe, functional developments that have met all the building requirements. Compared to TOP, the CSC takes a longer time to obtain as fundamental building requirements developers need to meet. 

The certification clarifies that the development is safe for residents as all safety measures have been complied with.

What is it?Is it optional?When should it be applied?
Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP)
To certify and allow residents to live in the development despite amenities still in the works.Yes, TOPs are optional.TOPs can be applied for when the developer is in the process of obtaining a CSC.
Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC)To certify that development meets all the building standards and can legally be occupied by residents.CSCs are compulsory.When all the building requirements have been complied with.

How safe is your unit if it only has TOP?

You might find this strange — how can a unit be safe to move in if it hasn’t met all the requirements to get a CSC? Fret not. Developments that have attained the TOP are safe to move in as they have met all the safety requirements for the estate to be liveable. 

The reason why some developments have not attained CSC yet is due to renovations in amenities or additional features in the area. 

Getting the TOP is great as residents can move in earlier instead of waiting for the estate to be fully completed which could take some time.

How do developers qualify for TOP?

As mentioned, the estate granted TOP status is ready to welcome residents to start moving in. 

This means that pipelines, windows, safety features within the estate are all in order and homeowners can move in with no worries. 

There are many reasons why an estate hasn’t yet qualified for the CSC, perhaps due to minor deviations in building plans. Changes in the playground structures and design of the lobby are deviations that don’t threaten residents’ lives.  

However, as building plans have moved away from the initial proposal, developers will need to fully complete building all areas of the estate before they can be granted the CSC.

Benefits of TOP Projects

One great thing about TOP projects is that residents can move in more quickly. 

Imagine renting a place to stay while waiting for your apartment to be fully completed — a significant amount of resources would be spent during the transition period. 

The quicker you can move into your new home, the lesser rent you’ll need to pay.

A couple enjoying their time in their new TOP home in Singapore

Another plus point that comes with TOP projects is that residents can get a good sense of their unit. 

You’ll get to familiarise yourself with the layout, the environment, and how you’ll want to renovate your home. Engaging an interior designer and discussing the details of renovations with them will be much easier as you have a clearer idea of what your home will look like.

Additionally, since TOP projects are new, you don’t need to worry about poor maintenance from previous owners. 

Although resale flats also allow you to have a clear idea of your future home’s layout and environment, you’ll still need to be cautious about possibly buying a poorly maintained home. 

READ: 7 things to take note of when house viewing an HDB Resale flat

Getting a TOP project allows you to start on a clean slate. You don’t need to worry about poorly maintained floorings and pipelines. In any way, all newly completed HDB flats are covered by a warranty within the 1-year Defects Liability Period (DLP). Likewise, the DLP is applicable for condos under the developer’s responsibility.

Learn more about Home Protection Scheme here.

Is there anything homeowners need to do for the TOP? 

Generally, homeowners will not need to worry too much about this as the responsibility lies mainly with the developer. 

However, if you somehow find yourself in a situation where you’ll need to be familiar with the process, here’s a rundown of how the application procedure is like:

  • Building inspection

Developers will first need to arrange an appointment with BCA

During this appointment, the developer will appoint a qualified person to inspect the building and ensure that it’s safe for residence.

  • Administrative procedure

After all checks have been made, developers will need to submit relevant documents to the right technical authorities. 

This process will take some time as developers will need to gather the correct information to be submitted.

All in all, the application process for TOP requires around 4 weeks. It doesn’t take too long for an estate to be granted TOP, provided that there are no hiccups along the way.

If you’re thinking of speeding up your move into a new condo unit, TOP projects should be what you’re after! You can cut down on rental costs during the interim period, and you’ll get to have a good feel about the floor plan and environment of your home first hand. 

Since TOP projects have met BCA safety requirements, you can move in with an assurance that your home is safe to live in.

Unless you prefer to move into your condo when all amenities are ready, there’s no need to wait for a CSC condo to be completed.

Buying a property in Singapore? Read all about property tax here. 

Getting a second property in Singapore? Here are some tips to get out of paying ABSD legally. 

If you’d like to be furnished with more information regarding your mortgage loan or Singapore property in general, contact us for a chat. 

At FinanceGuru, we seek to help homeowners find the best home loan in Singapore and help them achieve their financial goals. Learn more about how you can optimise your home loan and uncover potential ways to save you money and time. Get a non-obligatory assessment and loan product recommendations today. 

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