Who actually owns this 1,000 gallon propane tank?

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On Tue, 01 Oct 2013 06:50:03 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Actually, the "county" gob'ment is alive and well today. I spend a few hours there today. All in all, I came out with nothing; but here's what I know.
1. There are NO LIENS going back to multiple owners and to when the house was built. The only lien on the house is the mortgage. So, nobody has sued for their real property to be returned.
2. There are NO PERMITS for the propane tanks. They don't even show up on any of the original plans. There is absolutely nothing in the plans for the propane tanks. The *only* mention of anything was that the gas plumbing was signed off for leak testing. That's it.
So, at the county recorder's office (and planning office), there is no record of any ownership of the propane tanks.
Sigh.
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On 10/1/2013 3:04 PM, Alex Gunderson wrote:

see? i told you the tank doesn't exist.
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On Tue, 01 Oct 2013 15:53:30 -0700, chaniarts wrote:

Heh heh. Yeah. The Title Insurance Company referred me to a research company (whom they pay to do additional research).
That research company went back to 1984 (computerized records) and found nothing about a propane tank in any public record.
So, from the standpoint of the gob'ament, that tank doesn't exist.
I also went to the planning department at the county level, and, there are no permits for that tank to be put in, but they said they might not have been required when it was put in (they're required now if you CHANGE the location).
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On Tue, 01 Oct 2013 15:53:30 -0700, chaniarts

...a filament of his imagination.
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On Tue, 01 Oct 2013 08:41:44 -0400, dadiOH wrote:

I suspect nobody has a bill of sale.
That's why they haven't come to get it.
In addition, if it's "real property", they should have a lien on file at the county recorder's office - so I'm off to there today at lunch.
It would be nice if there is a lawyer in the group who can doublecheck my revelation that the propane tanks in California (and perhaps NY) are actually considered real property, instead of personal property.
I can't be the only one on the planet to have figured that out.
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On Tue, 01 Oct 2013 08:41:44 -0400, dadiOH wrote:

I received a call from the third-party advisor to my title insurance company, who went back to 1984 in the computerized records, and then back to the early 60's on paper.
They find absolutely no mention of the propane equipment, in any public filing.
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On Mon, 30 Sep 2013 08:18:54 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

What I've established is the following: * Roy E. Hanson Jr. Mfg, Los Angeles manufactured the tank * Hanson sold to Suburban, who has no record of my address * Somehow the Heritage Group presumably lay claim to the tank * Amerigas bought the Heritage Group (& presumably its assets) * An Amerigas tech said (last week) the tank was owned by the Heritage Group * There is no mention in the closing papers either way * The tank had propane & regulators attached at the time of sale * After sale, I signed an affidavit stating I owned the tank * Amerigas inspected the tank and found everything to be sound * Amerigas has been filling the tank ever since
In addition, it's probable that: * Propane tanks are personal property (i.e., not real property) * Personal property is subject to a 3-year abandonment SOL * There is no serial # registered with the building permit * There is likely no UCC-1 filed with the Secretary of State * There probably isn't a lien filed with local County Records * Ownership is voluntary when registered at the National Board
Homework: * Wait to hear back from the National Board on ownership * Run an in-person search at the County Records for liens * Still waiting to hear back from the title insurance on liens
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On Mon, 30 Sep 2013 08:18:54 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

Yes, I got that. STFU until they send him a bill (or contract). It's not his responsibly to pay for it until the payment is requested. He has signed nothing.

Or demand a new tank for his $15/mo (seems like a lot, though).
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On Mon, 30 Sep 2013 20:04:43 -0400, krw wrote:

Hi Krw, The ONE company I won't be calling will be Amerigas! :)
Here's what I know, so far ... 1. There are no disclosures, nor liens recorded related to the propane tank, at either the state department level, or at the county level. Note: In-person searches pending but title company searches completed.
2. The tank was manufactured by Roy E. Hanson Jr. Mfg Phone: 213-747-7514
3. Hanson sold that tank to Surburban Propane of Whippany NY Phone: 973-887-5300
4. The National Board record will likely corroborate that sale: Phone: 614-431-3204 (response pending)
4. The local Suburban Propane has never put any tank at my address: Phone: 408-227-8464
5. Amerigas bought Heritage Propane for $2.9 billion on Jan 12, 2012: ibtimes.com/amerigas-buy-heritage-propane-29-billion-324045 amerigas.com/amerigas-propane-blog/amerigas-propane/news/amerigas-partners-announces-completion-of-heritage-propane-acquisition/
6. Presumably, Heritage Propane felt they owned my tank (reasons unknown).
7. Presumably, Amerigas feels they own my tank (again, unsubstantiated as yet).
So, the question is ... Who owns that tank?
More importantly, how is a lowly homeowner supposed to figure this out? The title company "advisor" said I clearly own it, until someone proves otherwise, in which case, I may have a claim against the seller's real-estate agent.
I have never exercised such a claim in my life, so I'd prefer not to go through that (I've never sued anyone and I'm not a young man).
I'd prefer to simply know who owns that tank!
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On Sat, 28 Sep 2013 06:21:13 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Here's my plan:
1. Continue (on the legal groups) to find out the law on abandoned property in California (most likely a time period is involved, which could be as long as forever).
2. Query the tank manufacturer to see who they sold the tank to (most likely it's to the gas company that got bought).
3. Search to see which gas supplier is currently the cheapest (but my vendor seems to be the cheapest most of the time) http://www.southskyline.org/spug.html
4. Shut my mouth when talking to the propane company!
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On Mon, 30 Sep 2013 05:48:27 +0000 (UTC), Alex Gunderson
actually owns this 1,000 gallon propane tank?:

Don't forget 5) Keep A.H.R. updated.
--
Web based forums are like subscribing to 10 different newspapers
and having to visit 10 different news stands to pickup each one.
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On Mon, 30 Sep 2013 03:38:30 -0500, CRNG wrote:

To that end, apparently there is an almost exact case, albeit in Maryland, for what I'm going through. http://forums.somd.com/life-southern-maryland/239558-united-propane-st-leonard-robbing-us-again-4.html#post4748909
In that situation, the owner of the house asserts that a title search should uncover any ucc-1 forms filed as liens against the property.
If no UCC-1 forms show up at the time of closing, then the propane tank is yours, by virtue of the fact that you 'thought' you bought the house free and clear.
In a way, this makes sense because otherwise owners will never be able to sleep at night wondering if the neighbor will saunter over and claim that the beer fridge is his.
Apparently this is a UCC-1 search engine, but it's down right now: http://sdatcert3.resiusa.org/UCC-Charter/UCCSearch_a.aspx
So, it appears there are two things protecting me, the first of which is this three-year statute of limitations on claims against property and this UCC-1 filing status.
I'll call the California Department of State to ask how I find out the status of the UCC forms, if any.
I'm also going to contact the manufacturer of the tank.
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On Mon, 30 Sep 2013 09:25:12 +0000 (UTC), Alex Gunderson

If it was on going business between homeowner and propane company, there would be no claim filed. If my car was parked in the driveway at the time of closing, would you now own it? Seems like a shaky premise here.
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On Mon, 30 Sep 2013 06:02:47 -0400, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I do understand your point. But let me state mine with an example.
What would happen if an upside down abandoned car was on your property, stripped to the bones (for arguments sake).
It was an eyesore, but, you bought the property - so you figured it was your abandoned car - so you had the thing towed to the scrap yard.
Now, almost five years later, a neighbor knocks on your door and says that was HIS abandoned car that you sent to the junkyard.
That neighbor knew you owned the house; he knew it was his car; he knew it and he says he lent it to the previous owner, at for $100 a year, so the kids could play on that car.
Now he wants his car back, or worse yet, he wants you to pay him for the $100 that this personal property was worth?
NOTE: This is the kind of reason that the 3 year abandonment statute of limitations exists in the first place.
OK. Put yourself in my shoes. Would you PAY him the $1,000 he says his car was worth?
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On 9/30/2013 11:06 AM, Alex Gunderson wrote:

OK, I see your apple and raise you an orange.
If I was the abandoned car, first thing I would do is ask the property owner about it. Same as I would a propane tank. I don't know your experience in the area of propane, but I have some exposure to it. I know that in "most" cases,the tank belongs to the propane company. Before assuming I would become the owner, I'd inquire.
To answer your question, no, I'd not pay, but yes, I'd gladly give it back if still there. Cars have titles also. Varies from state to state, but here, you could not scrap it unless you showed the title and proof of ownership. Some states you can if the car is XX years old.
In the courts, accepted and normal business practices become a big factor in decisions. Check with a lawyer, I'm not one and can't give legal advice.
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On Mon, 30 Sep 2013 15:09:27 -0400, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I trusted the title company to ensure I bought the property free and clear of liens. They certified it was. Who am I to doubt that?

Rest assured that Amerigas asked me before they even came out to inspect the tank, who owned the tank and regulators. I signed an affidavit that I did. There are no markings on the tank otherwise. There is nothing in the closing papers otherwise. The title company said the property was free and clear, mine. There are no liens extant.
Fast forward to today, I called the manufacturer of the tank, Roy E. Hanson Jr. Mfg, who sold the tank to Suburban Propane well before the penultimate owner bought the property. So the tank was initially manufactured and sold to Suburban when a prior owner (prior to the previous one) owned the property.
However, Suburban propane has no records of that tank ever being on the property. Last week, we fortuitously find out that the Amerigas tech states that he believes (based on serial number & address) that the tank was owned by the Heritage Group, who was recently bought (six months ago) by Amerigas.
There is no record of a lien at the County Records that we know of (I will run a personal search though). There is no record of a Uniform Commercial Code registration at the State Department. The title company found no liens (again, I'm waiting for details).
And, most important of all, the gas company (presumably) had a lease with the penultimate owner which allowed them an easement to take a tank they believed was theirs (which they never exercised while the home was under that previous ownership (bearing in mind the home lay vacant for a period of almost a year during the economic downturn).
Seems to me that nobody can prove ownership. What happens then?
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On 9/30/2013 1:38 PM, Alex Gunderson wrote:

it doesn't officially exist.
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On Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:26 -0700, chaniarts wrote:

:)
There goes my coffee!
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On 9/30/2013 4:38 PM, Alex Gunderson wrote:

You brought that up before. I don't see the title company even knowing about the tank It is not real property so it would not be covered. Same category as the paint can left in the garage. Unless there was a previous dispute, no lien would exist.

Forget that silliness. Tanks are not registered like automobiles.

If Suburban and its heirs had the proper records, they may own it. If no one can prove ownership, by default possession probably you do.
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On Mon, 30 Sep 2013 21:26:30 -0400, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I had a long conversation with the "advisor" at the title company. He was strong about it. It's real property. I too thought it might be personal property, but his point was that it is clearly attached as a fixture to the house. And, it is.
Of course, it matters not what anyone "thinks"; what matters is how case law in California treats a propane tank.
Googling for "Propane tank, California, real property or personal property" I find this PDF which implies the industry wants propane tanks to be considered "personal property", but that the state disagrees.
http://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/pdf/ip99052.pdf "Industry, the Western Propane Gas Association, disagrees with staff's recommendation. Industry believes butane and propane tanks should be classified as personal property." [versus being classified as "improvements" by the state]
And, we know that improvements are, by definition, real property in California (but not in other states).
For exampnle, here's a NJ lawyer saying it's real property (in NJ): http://www.lawrenceyerkes.com/html/rmx-article-real-vs-personal-property.htm
Yet, here's a CA site which clearly mimics what we found in the tax document: http://www.calproptax.com/1proprty.html
REAL PROPERTY in CALIFORNIA: "Tanks, butane, propane and water softener, unburied but which remain in place, except household"
So, it's pretty clear. The "industry" feels that propane tanks in California are "personal property" (and so do some states, such as NJ); but the state of California is pretty clear that it's "real property" (and they tax it accordingly, as improvements).
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