Can the seller of my house promise the furniture to someone else?

Q: My partner just bought his first house with the money from a surprise inheritance. To our delight, the seller left a beautiful set of patio furniture. But when we met our new neighbor, rather than introducing herself, she told us that the seller had promised her the furniture. It was the first time we had heard of the deal. We don’t want to burn the bridges before we’ve even unpacked it, but the patio furniture is technically ours, and given our budget, we wouldn’t be able to replace it for some time. Are we selfish in keeping it?

A: Some people welcome new neighbors with a basket of cookies or a potted plant. Yours greeted you with a request to take your things. The person burning the bridge here is your neighbor, not you.

Even if his account of the furniture contract is correct, the seller should have given it to him before the sale closed, assuming the set was not included in the sale contract. Either way, whatever deal the seller has had with their neighbor, it has nothing to do with you. You own the house and all of its contents, and you do not have to give them away.

“That says something about this neighbor who came with not a pie, but a cart and a moving van,” said Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert.


There is no shame in using money from an unexpected inheritance to buy a house, and neither you nor your partner are in debt to your neighbor because you received a gift. You mentioned that you don’t have the resources to replace the furniture now. Thus, you would be making a fiscally irresponsible decision if you gave up a set that you already owned and needed to replace it.

Now is the time to set clear limits. The next time you see your neighbor, politely tell him that it is unfortunate that there was confusion about the furniture, but that you were not part of any prior agreement, so you cannot to honour. “I wouldn’t give any excuses. I wouldn’t apologize, ”Ms. Gottsman said. “I would set the tone now because what you set now is going to set the tone for the rest of the relationship.”

Then go outside and have a glass of lemonade on your new furniture. Celebrate this chapter of your life without guilt or regret.

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