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Old 11-06-2008, 05:57 PM
 
Location: Maryland
27 posts, read 223,563 times
Reputation: 17

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The home we're buying in Maryland uses propane for heating, cooking, etc. and allegedly the sellers own the tank. In order to establish an account with a propane company we need to provide proof of ownership. So far, the companies the sellers say they do business with have no record of sales.

Does anyone have experience with this? We cannot do business with a propane company without proof of ownership so if the sellers fail to provide us with one what do we do?

Any thoughts, suggestions, advice appreciated--thank you.
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Old 11-07-2008, 04:51 AM
 
Location: Amelia View
4,211 posts, read 12,552,742 times
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The only thing I can think of is for the sellers to create a bill of sale for the propane tank to certify that indeed they own it and are selling it to you for $1. Including as much detail as possible on the bill of sale (such as when they bought it or whatever) would be helpful. Then have the bill of sale notarized. Less complicated would be for the sellers to sign a notarized affidavit that they do own the tank. I would think either of these documents would satisfy the propane companies -- perhaps you could ask them.
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Old 11-07-2008, 06:02 AM
 
Location: Maryland
27 posts, read 223,563 times
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Great advice, thank you for taking the time!
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Old 11-07-2008, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Maryland
27 posts, read 223,563 times
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To follow up, when I asked for a notarized statement of ownership sellers said they couldn't provide one because they didn't have a bill of sale for the tank. Very long story short, I finally made contact with the propane company that claims they own the tank and will work with them. They installed the tank, there is no bill of sale between the propane company and sellers.

I'm a little baffled as to why I was given three different propane companies they claimed they did business with but the companies have no records of.
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:14 AM
 
Location: Amelia View
4,211 posts, read 12,552,742 times
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Interesting scenario TexasAMC. But I think if you look on the bright side, the company's ownership of the tank should mean that if their tank springs a leak, they have to replace their tank and deal with the consequences, right?

Curious if a multi-page disclosure about the property is required by the seller in your neck of the woods. In PA it is, and there's a section in it concerning underground tanks of any sort.

Truly it is baffling, this whole thing. But apparently that chapter is now closed and you can move on to the next (hopefully? :-)
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:21 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,084 posts, read 34,145,269 times
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Odd the way they do propane tanks there. Every place I have lived the propane companies will only deliver to THEIR own tanks. The homeowner doesn't own the tank the propane company does. That is part of the contract price between homeowner and propane company. The only tanks I can think of that the homeowner owns would be either the very small propane tanks or fuel oil tanks.

Ask whatever propane company you want to do business with and ask how much it would be for them to come set a tank and then contract price for the season. If nobody claims the other tank, sell it for scrap metal. Usually there is some identifying stamp or sticker under the hood of the tank by the valves and regulator, or on the side of the hood with the name of the propane company that owns and fills it. Good Luck. When they set a new tank usually they run new lines into the house and do a service and safety check on everything as well. That way they cover their rearends as well as keep the homeowners safe.
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Maryland
27 posts, read 223,563 times
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Bydand, thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, the tank is under ground which makes it more difficult to replace. I did find out, finally, that the tank is owned by Amerigas. Unfortunately, their prices are much higher than other companies in the area but unless we can unearth the buried tank.... we're stuck. I am curious to know if tanks can be purchased from the propane companies... but that may be cost prohibitive.

It makes sense to me that the company who installed the tank owns the tank...why the sellers sent us on a goose chase is beyond me. At least we know we'll have heat!
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Old 11-09-2008, 06:44 AM
 
Location: Eastern Kentucky
1,237 posts, read 2,724,387 times
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TexasAMC, I think you need to check into this some more.
Question#1 Do you need your tank in the ground?
Question#2 What makes you think you are responsible for removing the tank if you want to go to a different propane co?
I have never heard of a propane tank being buried for a private customer. In most cases, you may have to pay a rental fee if you do not use a certian precentage of gas per year, and the supplying company is responsible for setting, maintaining, and removing the tank. If you do not need the tank buried for some reason, go ahead talk to another co, and find out if they are indeed reaponsible for the tanks. If they are, feel free to get you gas from another company, but be sure to call and send a letter to this company informing them they need to pick up their tanks.
Let us know how this thing works out.
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:35 AM
 
Location: Maryland
27 posts, read 223,563 times
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In answer to your second question, when I called Amerigas I told them they had the highest prices of all the gas companies contacted and then confirmed I didn't have a choice because they say they own the tank--not unless I am willing to dig up the tank, is what I was told.

Once we move and are settled I will investigate further. This whole ownership thing appears vague to me. There's no contract or law that I can find. When pressed for written documentation from Amerigas the issue was skirted and none was offered. The whole situation is curious to me.
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Amelia View
4,211 posts, read 12,552,742 times
Reputation: 3737
Thinking about this, unless there's a rule or law in your community that tanks must be underground, I would think that the owner of the tank if it was a propane company would not choose to put it underground. A homeowner might make that choice for aesthetics.

Obviously Amerigas can't prove ownership. Would it be possible to abandon it and go with a new and more affordable propane company and rent/purchase a new tank from them? I know that it all depends on the part of the USA in which you live whether an underground tank can be simply abandonned or not, but if it's possible I think all your headaches about that darn thing would also be abandonned.
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