Certificate of satisfaction

Certificate of satisfaction
See also

Once either the defendant (defaulted mortgagor) or another creditor redeems the property from foreclosure, the plaintiff (mortgagee initiating the suit) must execute and deliver to the defendant a certificate of satisfaction. This certificate is signed by the plaintiff and evidences the fact that the debt and costs of foreclosure have been satisfied. It must be filed by the defendant with the court in which the original foreclosure judgment was entered and recorded in the records of the town in which the property is located, as discussed earlier in this chapter[1].

Application in architecture[edit]

Many architects are asked to provide what are usually known as 'certificates of satisfaction' or sometimes as 'professional certificates'. These are quite different from the certificates which you issue under the terms of a building contract. Certificates issued under a building contract are issued only for the benefit of the employer (and possibly the contractor). Certificates of satisfaction are additional certificates, sometimes required on a monthly or stage basis and sometimes merely at the end of the contract[2].


Essentially, in such certificates, you confirm that the building has been constructed in accordance with the drawings and specification and you acknowledge that the certificate is issued for the benefit of your client and that funding institutions and future purchasers of the property are entitled to rely upon it. There are several reasons why it is worth considering whether to sign such a document:

  • It is exceedingly dangerous to sign such certificates, because they make you liable for defects to funders and third party purchasers to whom you would normally have no or little liability.
  • By signing such certificates you could be put in a position where a future purchaser, in reliance on the certificate, could take legal action against you for building defects while being unable to found any action against the original contractor.

Of course, if you have agreed to provide the certificate when you agreed your terms of engagement, you have no option but to provide it, otherwise you should decline. If, for whatever reason, you believe that you must provide such a certificate, make a substantial charge for it and get your legal adviser to draft one for you so as to protect you so far as possible in the circumstances[3].

Principle of operation[edit]

Upon payment in full of any assessment made by virtue of the act to which this is a supplement, the board of commissioners who shall receive the same shall give to the person paying such assessment a certificate of satisfaction thereof, under the seal of said board of commissioners and signed by their treasurer, which certificate shall be sufficient evidence of the payment of such assessment, and that upon presentation thereof the clerk of the county wherein said improvement is situate shall satisfy such assessment by making a memorandum of such payment and the date of the same on the margin of the record of said assessment in his office, opposite the name of the person and lot so assessed, and file such certificate in his office, by virtue of which satisfaction so made as aforesaid the land so assessed shall thereafter be freed, cleared and discharged of and from the lien of said assessment[4].

Author: Michał Augustyński


  1. Pancak, K. A., (2004), p. 140
  2. Chappell, D., (2009), chapter 1
  3. Chappell, D., (2009), chapter 1
  4. Vroom G. D. W., Lanning, W. M., (2005 ), p. 2134