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What is a Tenant Estoppel Certificate?

What is a Tenant Estoppel Certificate?

What is a Tenant Estoppel Certificate?


What is a Tenant Estoppel Certificate?

If you're a renter and your landlord is putting the building up for sale, they might ask you to sign a document, which is an "Estoppel Certificate." Besides having the normal concerns about the building being sold, you would probably want to know exactly what signing this document means.

Tenant Estoppel Certificate Explained

A tenant estoppel certificate is a legal agreement that is used when the owner is going to sell or refinance the rental property. It lets the bank, or any potential buyers of the rental property know about the rights and privileges that any of the current tenants have. This can include information about what existing tenants are entitled to, such as the following:

  • The amount due for the rent
  • Oral agreements with the landlord
  • Amendments to the written lease agreements
  • Promises made by the landlord
  • Protected tenancy status
  • Agreements about payment of utilities

What to Do if your Landlord Gives You a Tenant Estoppel Certificate

If your landlord sends an estoppel certificate your way, then you will probably only have a few days to complete it. You will have to act fast, but at the same time you don't want to rush and sign it without understanding the significance of the document. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Examine your lease agreement thoroughly: Look for language about a tenant estoppel certificate. If your written lease does contain a provision that requires the tenant to complete this, you will be required to do so within the stated time frame (usually a few days). If your lease doesn't contain any clause about tenant estoppel certificates, you're not obligated to sign one. However, you might want to do it anyway to protect your rights.
  • The estoppel certificate can't replace the lease: Ensure that the tenant estoppel certificate reflects your situation. Note any differences between what it says in the lease and what you do in practice. For example, if you have oral agreements that aren't also written, such as an agreement to maintain part of the premises in exchange for reduced rent. Other areas of concern could be rent reductions and security deposit interest. This may also include agreements about permission to have pets or to sublet, or free use of storage areas, parking spots, or exclusive use of part of the building. If these issues aren't addressed, the new owners could deny you any existing privileges.
  • Informs prospective buyers of important eviction-related information: As tenants in rent-controlled jurisdictions, you may want to sign to let potential buyers know of your protected tenant status or in case of an eviction. 

Talk to a Tenants' Rights Attorney about Tenant Estoppel Certificates

Confused about tenant estoppel certificates? Don't be. Get clarification from a tenants' rights attorney. An experienced Wolford Wayne attorney can help you determine whether property restrictions may apply after some no-fault evictions and can sort out additions to certificates. Contact us today.

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