Ask LH: Can I Reject My Lease Because Of A Furniture Switch?

Dear Lifehacker, I am a frequent renter, currently searching for a new place. I recently viewed a property that was advertised as ‘Fully Furnished’. After seeing the property, I immediately said yes. It was furnished well and the decor was excellent.

After signing up (but before bond exchange), the agent informed me the owner had removed everything inside the apartment leaving only bed, sofa, fridge/freezer, TV, dining table and chairs. The agent was just as shocked as I was, and has been trying to get the owner to add crockery, cutlery, vacuum cleaner and so on to bring it up to ‘Fully Furnished’ status. Do I have any rights to not move in? Thanks, Under-Furnished Renter

Old furniture picture from Shutterstock

Dear UFR,

During the inspection, did the real estate agent indicate that the landlord intended to remove some of the furniture/appliances? If not, then you’re perfectly entitled to expect the place to look like it did during the tour. What’s the point of inspecting a ‘fully furnished’ property if the owner is going to pull the old switcheroo?

That said, we’re not entirely sure what your legal rights are in this situation and we suspect they may vary from state to state. We contacted our local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service who bluntly told us that “a couch is a couch and bed is a bed”.

However, they did indicate that you could probably get out of your lease by contacting the tenants’ service in your area. They’ll then help you to tailor a case as to why you should be released from your tenancy agreement. You can find a list of official tenants services for each state and territory here.

Have any readers experienced a similar issue while renting? Let us know how you dealt with it in the comments section below.


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