Propane Tank With New Home

Asked by Kirk Doyle, 21236 Tue Feb 3, 2009

I recently purchased a home in a rural area of Cecil County MD where most of the houses have septic and propane. The original owners had a contract with a propane company in which the gas company owned 500 gallon underground propane tank and the property owners could only use that gas company’s services for filling the tank (common practice). I contacted the Gas Company to try and buy-out the propane tank. They stated that they do not sell the tank and that my options (more or less) were to take the contract or they would remove the tank. When I asked which party would be responsible for the removal, they stated that the previous owners would pay for the removal.
This seems to be heading in the direction of needing legal assistance. 1) They charge $0.65 more than some other Gas Co. 2) The previous owners should not have to pay for my request 3) I don't want them to rip up yard just to reinstall the same tank.
Has anyone else ran into this same issue? What are my options?

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Kirk Doyle, Home Buyer, 21236
Wed Feb 4, 2009
Let me put another kink into this chain, maybe someone out there can offer some additional advice. I noticed a bag hanging from my door today. It turned out to be an invoice for 264 gallons of propane that was delivered yesterday. The invoice is addressed to the previous owners and I know the gas company is aware they no longer reside at the home because I called them and explained and they sent a contract (which I have not signed) to the address.

I have not signed a contract with the Gas Company. I did not ask them to fill the tank. The invoice is in the name of the previous owners. I should not be liable to pay for the propane
1 vote
Robert Taylor, Renter, Elkton, MD
Thu Oct 20, 2016
I know this is a very old post, but I was wondering how things turned out for you and if you needed up getting legal advice? We just recently purchased a home on cecil county and are dealing with the same exact thing, even to the point of them filling the tank while we were at work and leaving an invoice with the previous owners name on it. The only difference I see is when we purchased the home we were told the tank was owned with the property and not a gas company (previous owners moved out of the country and were not at settlement). To top it off when I asked the gas company to show proof of ownership they sent me a contract from the previous owners but it is had the wrong address listed. It has the neighbors address instead of ours. They want me to sign a new contract with them but I will not. My fear of them digging out the old tank is them ripping out the new fence I just put up in my yard before all this took place.
So, I just wanted to see how things went for you. Thanks, Rob
0 votes
Cory Trevor, Home Buyer, Aberdeen, OH
Wed Oct 29, 2014
Could you just install another tank on the property? Since they are underground, they shouldn't be too intrusive. Another propane dealer probably offers a similar deal. Maybe they could install their tank next to the other company's.
0 votes
Tbo, Home Owner, Fort Washington, MD
Wed Feb 16, 2011
I am also stuck with the same issue. I called Ferrellgas in central VA and they will come and diliver to my house in southern MD for 2.59 a gallon. The only catch is I dont own the tank. United owns the tank and their price is 4.75. So now I have to find a contractor to sell and install a tank plus pay the ballance of the past due bill to united of over 2599 and tell them to come get their tank.What a mess I have only been is this house for less than year. I guess the Government cant regulate these people and the service and prices.
0 votes
Augie Doggie, , Cecil County, MD
Thu Jan 28, 2010
I also purchased a home in Cecil County ( june 09 )where the previous owner had a contract with S*****N gas company. The gas company wanted me to sign a contract with them where I could only buy gas from them at the price they set. On advice from others, I told the gas company to come take their tank. Amerigas installed a 1000 G tank which I paid around 2500.00 total. Plus $125.00 for sod. I figure I will pay for the tank in 5-6 years and the life of the tank is at least 30 years. Plus I decide when to fill my tank. Having the gas company own your tank is a big rip off. I do love propane and propane accessories. Thanks Hank Hill!
0 votes
Freddyben234, Home Buyer, Newark, DE
Tue Sep 22, 2009
another reason to have oil heat
0 votes
Shirley McHe…, Agent, Aberdeen, MD
Tue Aug 11, 2009
Sounds like looking into legal advice is the best bet considering the contract is with the previous owners.
0 votes
Jonathan S T…, Agent, Columbia, MD
Tue Feb 3, 2009

Sorry to hear that. A real Catch-22. I paid Suburban about $2,500 to install my 1,000 gallon (850 usable) tank so that I own it. I have used 3 different companies as they all have "intro" rates.

One solution would be to install a 2nd tank and plumb to the house and cut over to it. Then tell the old company to come get there tank and put the lawn back the way they found it.

Good Luck, please post what you find out or your solution so we can all benefit !!

0 votes
Kirk Doyle, Home Buyer, 21236
Tue Feb 3, 2009
Thanks for the advice Jon. All of the propane companies that I have asked for quotes require proof of ownership of the tank, otherwise they will not fill. On top of that, the "owners" of the tank prohibit any other Gas Company from filling their tank.

I currently have a Real Estate Broker looking into the issue. They have contatcted the origial owners to see if they can dig up their contract to see if it clearly states liablility. Personally, I dont see how their contract can be vailid anymore since they no longer own the property or the tank?
0 votes
They ask for proof of ownership because it is Maryland Law that a propane company can not put product in a tank owned by another company as well as the sale of the home does not convey the ownership of the tank. If you have a bill of sale showing ownership of the tank then any company can legally fill that tank. You will generally get a better price per gallon but remember that with that savings comes much responsibility and liability. Tanks, and equipment needed to supply the product to a home, are costly. The propane company generally absorbs that cost along with the responsibility of maintenance on that equipment so it would hardly be fair for one company to absorb the cost/responsibility of the tank and another profit from their investment. Be weary of a company that doesn't require a proof of ownership for they will most likely use the same unscrupulous attitude towards you when you have an issue with the tank.
Flag Tue Aug 19, 2014
Jonathan S T…, Agent, Columbia, MD
Tue Feb 3, 2009

Hi, I am Jon Tucker with RE/MAX 100. Seek legal assistance.

Have other propane suppliers declined to fill the tank? Maybe they could shed light on the laws and norms. I would imagine the tank supplier would not come get it but would probably abandon in place.

Thanks, Jon Tucker, 443.538.4316,,
0 votes
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