On Thu, 26 Sep 2013 23:56:06 +0000 (UTC), Alex Gunderson
You can be pretty sure that you don't own it. From the scenario you
describe, probably No 1 owns it since they bought #2.
Your opinion does not matter. You cannot prove it was abandoned and
unless you have a bill of sale that the previous owner of the house
owned the tank, you did not buy it. On top of all that, propane
companies are notoriously sleazy when it comes to filling tanks if it
is not their tank. Some state laws may possibly come into play too,
at least they do here in CT. If a propane company does not own the
tank they are not allowed to fill it.
On Thu, 26 Sep 2013 23:35:42 -0400, Ed Pawlowski wrote:
Belatedly, I'm coming to that very same realization.
In fact, it seems that the current company might even be
able to charge me back rent for the tank.
The rent is about $15/month, so that would amount to hundreds
of dollars (for a tank that's only worth about $1 per gallon).
All the companies out here in California will fill only two
types of tanks:
So, I called the propane company, anonymously, and asked
how much it would cost to have a new tank put in that I pay for.
If I buy the tank from them for roughly $1/gallon of capacity,
they will deliver it and strap it down and put in the three
It's my responsibility to put in the reinforced concrete pad,
tie-down attachment points, 12" trench, yellow conduit, & two
stainless steel risers.
Are you unhappy with the present company?
Why discuss all the work to change tanks,
if the existing tank is in acceptable shape?
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
On 9/27/2013 8:07 AM, Alex Gunderson wrote:
On Friday, September 27, 2013 8:41:20 AM UTC-4, Stormin Mormon wrote:
Stormin, that's what inquiring minds want to know.....
I'm confused here too. I asked why he was so concerned,
what the current issue was and he said:
"Because I want to line up my ducks.
Just in case they come to me, I don't want to say something stupid.
I just want to know where I stand, legally. "
Then later he laid out his intention to buy a new tank, pour a
new pad, etc and put it in. If it were me, I'd just continue
to use the existing tank. And if I could find the previous
owner, I'd contact them and ask who owned the tank.
Thanks, good attention to detail. Line up the
ducks, so he doesn't get quacked over the head
with some issue later? Then he might really
be ducked up, with a huge tank to duck around
<ducks and runs>
Christopher A. Young
Learn about "behold, I come quackly!" Jesus
On 9/27/2013 8:56 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
On Fri, 27 Sep 2013 08:14:50 -0700, chaniarts wrote:
If it comes down to a new tank, we'd have to follow current regulations,
and the current tank location wouldn't meet the new regulations for distance
But, I shouldn't have brought that up because the "real" question is
who owns the tank at this very moment.
I will try to contact the manufacturer of the tank when I get home
to ask them if they can trace the serial number to an original owner.
On Fri, 27 Sep 2013 10:07:26 -0400, Stormin Mormon wrote:
Well, bear in mind that the cost for the tank is less than
the cost to fill the tank just once, so, it's not so odd
that I'm trying to scope out my options.
I'm pretty convinced, by now, that the tank was not bought
by me - but - I'm not sure whether the original owner has
forfeited his rights to the tank, by sheer length of
I'm kind of stumped at this point, because I called the
county planning office who said they knew of no registration
of propane tank serial numbers with them.
So, I'm actually back to the original question of who owns
the tank - only the details have changed.
Either I own the tank because the original owner abandoned it;
or, the original owner owns the tank because they originally
owned that tank.
I guess I should move that question to a legal group?
On Friday, September 27, 2013 3:24:01 PM UTC-4, Alex Gunderson wrote:
Let's recap. You bought the property with a propane tank
attached to it. The sales contract says nothing about who
owns the tank. You believed at the time that you bought
it with the house. You called up the low cost propane
supplier and prior to starting filling service, they came out, inspected the tank, and asked you who owned it. You told
them you did and signed an affidavit to that effect. That
is what you believed at the time.
Now let's pause for a moment. The company actually inspected
the tank prior to filling it the first time. They didn't say
it was another company's tank. Also, the tank apparently has
no company name on it, which some other folks here I believe
have said is unusual for a leased tank. I would think so too.
A few years go by. Some tech from the gas company one day
tells you that he thinks it's owned by company X, which
apparently was the supplier to the previous owner? That
company has now been bought by your current supplier.
So, if the tank was company X's, it's now the property of
your current supplier. The big assumption here is that
the tech is right. He could just be talking out his ass.
And how does
he now know it belonged to company X, when previously the
gas company inspected it, asked who owned it, and didn't have
a problem when you said you did? Was this tech there some
time after the company was bought out? If so, then maybe he
referenced a database of serial #'s that now includes company X's
tanks, so now it's listed as that company's tank.
But at the end of the day, why do you care? You have a free
tank and you've done nothing wrong. If some day your company
claims they own the tank, so what? Your position is that
you believed it was the property of the owner at the time
of sale. That is the truth. If they have a claim for back
rental fees, as I see it, it's against the FORMER OWNER.
He presumably signed the lease agreement for the tank, not
you. You tell the gas company that and to go after him.
Even if they go after you, so what? There is a statute of
limitations for bringing such a claim. I just checked and
for CA for a debt claim, it's 4 years. So, the most they
could get is $120 a year times four years, $480. Less if
the lease rates were lower in those years.
So, BFD, they may have a claim against the
former owner for $480. If they persist in trying to collect
from you, offer them $300 to BUY the tank at that point.
Or let them take you to court over $480. I doubt they
would do it, and IMO, it's unlikely they would win. Even
if they take the previous owner to court, who IMO, is
more likely responsible, I don't think they would collect
more than $100 or so. Why? Because they could have come
at any time to pick up the tank after he stopped paying
for it. They didn't do that. So maybe a court would
give them 6 months worth of rental fees. And
the previous owner is likely going to claim he called them up
to terminate service, told them the house was sold, etc
and he's probably got an excellent case that it's THEIR
screw up, not his. The former owner would have to have
been pretty dumb to not tell them he's done with their
service, because you would be running up a bill in his
In short, I think you're hell bent on spending $1500 or
more to buy a new tank, when you have no real problem at
this point. And at most, you have a POTENTIAL, small
problem in the future. What's better? Starting a whole
mess and paying $1500 - $2000 for a new tank today or
taking the chance that someday you might have to pay
$500? More likely if they haven't caught it or done
anything by now, you'll pay zero.
On Fri, 27 Sep 2013 13:20:34 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
Wow. You're good!
When he said it, I questioned it, saying I owned the tank.
He said the serial numbers matched as did the address, but that he'd check.
I haven't heard back from him (but that was only yesterday).
The implication was that it's the same address and serial number of a tank
that is in the database of the company that owned the tank originally.
Presumably the first company merged databases with the second company?
If it's all true, then it would be rather easy (since the address and
serial numbers would match.)
Good question. I don't care IF. If they don't try any funny stuff, it
won't matter to me. But, what if they try to say I can't go to a 2nd
supplier for propane? What if they decide to charge me forward rent?
Or back rent? (I doubt they'd do that though).
Once they claim ownership, then when I go to a second company for propane,
I can't legally sign an affidavit stating I believe I own the tank.
So, it matters greatly who owns that tank at this moment in time!
I would agree with that (but I'm not a lawyer); it sounds reasonable.
I just checked and I've had that tank for only 4.5 years. If they decide
to charge back rent (which I doubt they would), it looks like I'm in the
free period now at least! :)
This is true. All they needed to do was disconnect the pipes with a wrench
and bring a truck to haul it away. They might have to pay me for the
fuel inside, but, other than that, they "could" have physically taken it.
(I'm not sure if there are legal rules against trespassing to take back
your property though.)
On Friday, September 27, 2013 6:44:49 PM UTC-4, Alex Gunderson wrote:
That's an important point that hasn't been made clear until now.
You told us that a tech from your gas company, while connecting
a new grill or something told you that it was Company X's tank.
You didn't tell us he matched the serial number and address to a
DATABASE. And since he works for the company that bought Company X,
and looked it up in their database, then it's very likely that
he's correct. The way you originally stated it, there was no
indication what his opinion was based on.
Since the tech was just there yesterday and the company was
bought some time ago, that's apparently what happened.
I doubt they would do that either. A possible defense
is the abandoned property defense. You could check out the
laws on that, but I'll bet it gets complicated, especially
in the Peoples Republic of CA. They like to protect the
rights of urchants and hippies, so I wouldn't be surprised
that they have all kind of rules and procedures about what
you must do. And if
left abandoned, it might become property of the state, not
you. Maybe Jerry Brown owns it now.
Yes, I agree it would matter if that time ever comes.
But a few hours ago, it appeared you were ready
to go shell out $2000 for a new tank now.
Since the tech who told you about the ownership was there
yesterday, I'd say if you don't hear from them in a couple
months, it's unlikely anything is going to happen.
It's the first 1/2 year which has now rolled past the limit.
But again, since their contract was with the previous
owner, I don't see them having a legitimate claim for anything
against you. If they come after you and claim the tank
is theirs and if you figure out you don't have a strong
abandoned property defense, then offer them $200 or $300,
negotiate to buy the tank, if you want to own it.
The first step before any of that would have been
to notify you that they wanted their tank back.
On Fri, 27 Sep 2013 16:38:27 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I'm sorry for not being explicit with the details.
To be clear, I called them out to inspect the BBQ setup, and they
scheduled the inspection about two weeks ago for two days ago.
The guy who came out *already* had the serial number on his sheet
of paper. So, he knew beforehand the serial number and the address
(which makes sense since it's always been the same for this company).
That he matched that to the other company database is my guess; but
it would seem to be easy to match up the static address with the
just as static serial number.
He told me the tank was owned by them.
When I looked surprised, I noticed he looked at his sheet, and then
he walked over to the tank and looked at the serial number on the
He then made a notation on the sheet that he needed to check things
out because I said I owned it and he had already said that I didn't.
I haven't heard back from him yet though ... (and at this point,
I hope I never do!). :)
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