Dear Consumer Ed:  

I recently purchased a home in Albany, Georgia, which was foreclosed upon several months ago.  It is serviced by a propane gas company that is saying that since the previous owner did not pay for the gas in the tank, it is now my responsibility some four months later. The home was purchased as is. Do I have to pay for the gas?

Consumer Ed says: 

It depends.  You need to determine who owns your propane tank and whether there are any agreements or contracts regarding the tank.  Typically the propane company maintains ownership of and liability for the propane tank, unless the property owner has chosen to purchase the tank outright.

Ask the company for a copy of the agreement regarding the service of the tank, a record of the amount of propane that was in the tank when you purchased the home, and the billing and payment history for the gas. If the gas was not paid for and if you have been using the gas as the new homeowner, then chances are the bill is your responsibility. If the gas was not paid for, and if it was used by the previous homeowner prior to your purchasing the property, the bill would be for arrears (or past due amount) that the previous owner should be responsible for.   For future reference, have details like this one made a part of closing documents.

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