We bought a new house last year and there were two large gas tanks that
were full of propane for a gas fireplace that came with the house.
This morning a gas company came onto our property without our
permission and took the tanks away. They were at least half full of
$300+ in propane. As far as I knew these tanks were owned by the
previous homeowners and were ours.
Does this gas company (in Virginia) have any right to:
A) Come onto my property (inside by FENCED BACKYARD) without my
B) Take half full tanks without contacting me.
Just call them up and tell them you think you own the tanks and contents. If
they made a mistake that will probably fix it without having to go to any
If you call the police, they'll probably ask you to call the propane company
and see if it was just a mistake before filing a theft complaint.
The tanks were very likely theirs. However the gas in them was paid
for by the previous owner and therefore yours when you purchased the
house. Tell them you want reimbursement for the gas in the tanks.
Didn't we have a thread in just the last week in which the homeowner
did't own the propane in his tank? That he was billed just for what
he used. If so, even if this arrangement is uncommon, this might be
another example of the homeowner not owning the gas on his property.
If someone wants to find the thread, this was a case where the poster
wanted to know how to calculate how much was in the tank, so he could
buy it. I and a couple others told him to fill the tank, to 400 out
of a total of 500, and keep track of how much was needed to reach 400.
Then he would know how much was in there to begin with.
for and bill me for that amount. Therefore the gas in the tank is
mine. I read the mentioned thread but didn't comment since my area of
the country uses a different system - a system that makes much more
sense in my opinion.
One sure indication that the tanks and contents were owned by the gas
company would be if there was a meter attached to the tanks. Privately
owned tanks, or company owned (rented) tanks where you own the contents
would not have a meter.
'Round here, the tanks are the property of the propane company. You
might want to check with them or with the previous homeowners as to who
actually owned the tanks, and if the propane they contained was ever
actually paid for...
Did the gas company contact you in ANY way about those tanks and their
contents before they made off with them? (Come clean now. <G>)
If they didn't, I'd think you've certainly got a right to bitch and get
them to prove they owned the contents, and if they couldn't, pay you for
Didja try and contact the previous owners and ask them if THEY paid for
the last delivery before they sold the place to you?
In the Flagstaff AZ area, where we have a cabin, the propane
companies will work with either situation. If you own your own
tank, they charge you for a system check when you first sign
up with them, then just charge you for the propane they put
in your tank. If you don't own a tank, they'll be glad to either
sell you a tank, or bill you a monthly rental on a tank.
It seems likely that the previous owner was renting the tank.
If you never contacted the propane company after buying
the house, they probably decided that the previous owner
had stopped paying the tank rental, and came to recover
their property. A tank rental agreement would probably
make provision for them to access your property to recover
their tank. They may have sent notice in the previous
owner's name, which got forwarded to them, and you never
On the other hand, it doesn't seem like the propane company
made much of an effort to contact you. I would have tried:
A) Mail to the previous owners name, B) Mail to Occupant
at the service address, C) Send somebody around to knock
on the door, D) If no answer at the door, leave a note.
And of course, if the contents of the removed tanks were
already paid for, it seems like they would owe you the cost
of the propane.
Just my opinion, YMMV.
Around my area, some tanks are owned by the companies. They typically
have the company name painted on.
As others have suggested, check to see if you have any document that
indicates that they are privately owned.
I'd suggest to call the company. Maybe they got the wrong adress, or
something like that. They may well apologize, and bring the tanks
Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
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