What Does Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) Mean in Properties?

In Singapore real estate, the Temporary Occupation Permit or TOP is a permit that allows homeowners to temporarily move in and occupy the condominium, apartment or building as long as key requirements are met.
March 30, 2021

In Singapore, real estate developers of condominiums, apartments and other similar living spaces commonly use the term “temporary occupation permit” or TOP whenever work on a property or building has fully completed.

However, new owners or residents of these newly completed properties are often confused by this term and what it exactly entails for them. But don’t worry! In this article, we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know about the TOP meaning property.

What is a TOP?

In Singapore real estate, the Temporary Occupation Permit or TOP is a permit that allows homeowners to move in and occupy the condominium, apartment or building temporarily as long as key requirements are met. These requirements, ranging from safety to technical considerations, all go through the Building and Construction Authority or BCA, an agency under the Ministry of National Development of the Singapore government.

Singapore BCA has an established set of regulations, procedures and processes to ensure that the planning, construction and implementation of a building or an industrial space are within the accepted safety, security and quality standards for occupants.

When the entire process has been completed, the real estate developer in Singapore can now apply for a Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC), another legal document and approval that authorizes the building to start letting occupants settle in their respective units.

What is the Difference Between TOP and CSC?

While the two are similar in nature and purpose, there are still a number of differences to be told about a TOP and a CSC in Singapore. For instance, a TOP is purely optional while the CSC is an imperative document that all building developers are required to apply for and acquire.

Applying for a CSC also entails a stricter and more stringent set of requirements, compared to securing a TOP approval from the BCA.

How to Apply for a TOP

Applying for a TOP is a responsibility that lies on the shoulders of the building or property developer. Here’s a brief rundown of the key steps in the application procedure:

  1. An inspection of the property and its surrounding premises will have to be arranged and scheduled with the BCA. This will have to be facilitated by the real estate developer; they will also be required to appoint a point person who will mediate and supervise the entire process.
  1. Once the property inspection is declared successful by the BCA, the developer will be required to submit all the required documents and clearances from other technician authorities. 

After the relevant documents are approved, the property developer can proceed to apply for a TOP through the Commission of Building Control, a special unit in the BCA. The entire property screening and approval process can take an average of 4 weeks.

All applications must be made via the CORENET e-Submission System website.

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