As a landlord, am I obliged to furnish flats?

Question from j keys updated on 24th October 2008:

I have bought three tenanted flats, which I was told were rented unfurnished. One tenant's flat was furnished by the previous landlord (who says that the furniture was lent, with an understanding that this would be short term.) I have no wish to furnish this flat, but the tenant is obviously unhappy, as his furniture and kitchen appliances have been removed by the previous landlord. What responsibility do I have?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

Where a new landlord takes over a tenancy agreement (for example, by purchasing the property), the tenancy agreement continues with the same terms and conditions. This means that if the tenant and previous landlord agreed that certain appliances or items of furniture would be provided, then the new landlord acquires the previous landlord’s obligation to provide those appliances or items of furniture. If there is a dispute about whether providing appliances and furniture was a term of the original tenancy agreement or was a separate arrangement between the tenant and the previous landlord, and you are not able to reach an agreement suitable to both you and the tenant, you may wish to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved. You can contact the Department of Building and Housing on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262) for further information about applying to the Tenancy Tribunal.

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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