Estoppels are a major part of a Buyer's due diligence when purchasing a property with residential or commercial tenants. Put very simply, an estoppel certificate is an agreement between tenant and owner as to what the current terms of the tenancy are. It is common that a tenant signs a lease when they move in, but after years of living in one place, the rent changes, people come and go from the unit, and much more. An estoppel summarizes many aspects of the tenancy, so that a Buyer can enforce the sometimes undocumented landlord tenant agreements that can occur over the years. And other times, there was no original lease, written rent increase notice, and/or documents have been lost or misplaced. An estoppel clarifies everything, and protects all parties - both tenants, owner, and future owners.
After years being frustrated that different estoppel templates were missing key information, I have created my own template with the help of my friend and real estate attorney Anthony Marinaccio. Below is a photo of the template, just click below the photo to download a PDF copy for yourself. You can fill in the information on your computer using PDF, or print it and handwrite the information.
Usually, when I help a Seller fill out estoppels, I review the lease agreements, rent increase notices, etc and use that information to fill out the estoppels as much as possible. Then I review the info with the Seller to confirm it's correct and fill in any missing info. Then, I take the completed estoppel to the tenant, and review the information with the tenant. If there is a discrepancy or missing info (it is common to be missing old leases that indicate security deposits, move in dates, etc) I try to have tenant and owner agree on whatever we are missing documentation for, and then the Tenant signs the estoppel, and then the Seller. After it is fully executed, I usually try to give a copy to the tenant, so they can have a copy for their own files.
This particular form is helpful for anyone looking to clarify who is living in the unit, and also set the stage in the event that a future owner may want to offer relocation to the tenant, as it includes room to include all the occupants and their ages. Also, having contact info for tenants is vital for a smooth transition of ownership.
If you have questions about estoppel certificates, a tenant situation, or anything else real estate related, feel free to call me at 310-562-9630, or attorney Anthony Marinaccio of Marinaccio Law at 818-839-5220.