Per Montgomery County: Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services (DPS) Manager Gail Lucas will be the guest on the Montgomery al Día radio show at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, to discuss use and occupancy (U and O) certificates for business owners with radio show host Lorna Virgilí. The show can be heard live at Radio América 900 AM.
According to Ms. Lucas, every commercial business in Montgomery County must have a valid U and O certificate issued by DPS. The certificates document that the building, space or suite occupied by the business meets the code requirements (electrical, fire and mechanical and zoning) for that use. The certificates do not expire unless the use of the space changes. Ms. Lucas will address why it is important to get a copy of the current use and occupancy certificate before a business space turns over.
Business owners should check that documentation, according to Ms. Lucas, before signing a lease or contract.“It is the business owner’s responsibility to make sure the business can legally occupy a building space,” said Ms. Lucas. “When checking out a new space, make sure the first question you ask is about the validity of the use and occupancy certificate.”
According to Ms. Lucas, a “change of use” building permit is required if the business does not match the current use of the space. This permit is required even if the business is not renovating the current space. The “change of use” permit gives DPS staff the opportunity to inspect the space to ensure it meets the building code for the proposed use. A new use and occupancy certificate will be issued once the space has passed DPS inspection.
The DPS website has more information about U and O certificates, including an online presentation. DPS staff can help business owners find the U and O certificate for their current space and make sure it is valid. For questions about the certificates or to schedule an inspection, call 311 (or 240-777-0311 outside of the County).
Those who want to hear the Montgomery al Día radio show, but cannot hear it live, can find a video recording on the County Cable Montgomery website after the show airs.