Estoppel Certificate

What is it?

Usually, it means that your landlord or the building owner is selling the building or refinancing the mortgage. In order to do this, they want to get an up-to-date picture of each lease in the building. For the most part, the certificate is double-checking the financial status of your lease. It will ask for the date the rent started, the end of the lease, the monthly payment, whether you’re paid up to date, the amount of security deposit, and whether there are any extensions.

Does legal counsel have to review it?

Yes. We need to review it prior to the Member signing the estoppel certificate. We certainly don’t need an original. Just fax a copy to us at 202-225-6999. Follow up with an email to and we can review it usually within a day or two.

What do I have to do?

Sometimes the form is given to you with all the numbers filled in, other times the form asks for you to fill in the blanks.

You should get a copy of the lease for that office. If you have not kept a copy of the lease, contact for a copy. All the numbers and terms should be pretty easy to transfer onto the Estoppel Certificate.

What should I look for?

Here are a couple things that you can look for:

  • The Security Deposit will always be $0.
  • Somewhere it may read, "the lease constitutes the entire agreement." We recommend specifically pointing out that it’s the lease and the District Office Lease Attachment. Therefore, change that sentence to read, “…the lease and the District Office Lease Attachment constitute…”
  • You will almost always be paid up-to-date because rent is electronically transferred on the 20th of the month. If you want to confirm when the last rent payment was made, call the Finance Office at 202-226-1203.

Does the Member need to sign this?

Not really. The actual lease is a contract between the Member and the Landlord. However, this document is confirming the terms. A designated representative of the Member could sign unless the document or the landlord specifies otherwise.

What is the time frame for returning the Certificate?

Quite often the certificate must be returned very quickly – within days. Remember, the bank or potential buyer is trying to get a financial understanding of the building at the current time. It doesn’t help to get that information weeks later.