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 Post subject: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:20 pm 
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Here's a tricky one I could do with some help on ...

An elderly, very poorly, friend (widow) sold her house last July, and moved to England. The whole sale was quite rushed through by the buyers, a pushy Parisien couple. She felt they were pushing her along, but entrusted everything to the Agents and the Notaire. The Agents are French and English, so no language problem envisaged.

The house uses oil for central heating and gas (tank) for the cooker. The friend was reimbursed for the oil in the tank but no mention of the gas. We'd kept saying, remember to take a reading on completion date, which we did as she had gone by then and was waiting for a cancer operation, so really not well at all. Meter readings for water, electric etc. all done on the same day, no problem there.

There was 66% in the tank, and I've since received an estimate from Proxigas that this equates to about 1700€. The tank was automatically topped up just after completion, as per the contract, and the new clients are happy to pay for the top up of approx. 400€. BUT it seems there was no agreement for the 66% in the tank as at completion date. The agents are wriggling about saying as the client didn't mention it, nothing was done. But I believe they never even properly asked her about it, she wouldn't kiss goodbye to 1700€ of gas! We thought the gas company would reimburse her, then bill the new owner when the contract changed hands. But Proxigas say the new owners should reimburse.

Legally how does she stand? Have the agents been negligent? The gas tank was in an obvious place, so why didn't they get it's contents included in the proceedings? Certain contents in the house were bought separately and listed clearly. :(

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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:56 pm 
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I don't know what the legal position is (although I doubt that it's favourable), but I would get the notaire to write to the buyers and offer to get someone to come and take the vendor's 66% on an agreed date if they don't cough up. It just takes a lawyer with a bit of courage to shame them into doing it. He should underline that the vendor is ill with cancer.

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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:59 pm 
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When my step father sold the family house to move to the impoverished North, he, and everyone else, forgot about the stuff in the loft. I was overseas at the time.

This included, among other things, large tin trunks containing my clockwork trains and Meccano, boxes of books, old family mementos and souvenirs, wooden writing slopes, two music boxes, sports gear, musical instruments, etc. etc.

The new owners refused to even consider handing over the things, and a visit to a solicitor confirmed that there was no recourse.


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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:14 pm 
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That's awful, whatever the legalities. Family mementoes have no value whatsoever to anyone else and it seems churlish of the new owners not to give the loft contents back - it must have been obvious it was a complete oversight not to have cleared it out.


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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:36 pm 
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Similar happened to us when we bought our house. The sellers asked on the day of signing to recover some of the items left in the house - mainly jewellery of little monetary value. The notaire told them in no uncertain terms that they had had 2 years to recover such items and that today was now too late. WE did in fact give the jewellery to one of the sellers since we had no use for it.

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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:38 pm 
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Once again its the notaire's fault ( if he was told of the gas)
He should have writen it in the contract, but as ive said befote some notaires are so slack

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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:42 pm 
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Location: somewhere in the "pays de dropt"
thelastoneout wrote:
Similar happened to us when we bought our house. The sellers asked on the day of signing to recover some of the items left in the house - mainly jewellery of little monetary value. The notaire told them in no uncertain terms that they had had 2 years to recover such items and that today was now too late. WE did in fact give the jewellery to one of the sellers since we had no use for it.



On the day of final signing its normal for both seller and purchaser together to visit the property to make sure all is well and sort out those things.
Its what ive always done including our last at the end of Febuary.

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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:21 pm 
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A couple of days after we bought our previous house here, the seller called in to ask if he could have the blue toilet seat.

He said we could easily get a new one in Mr Bricolage, so I told him to go and get one then. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:40 am 
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Unfortunately it seems the gas was completely overlooked. Maybe because the agents presumed oil was the only form of heating etc. and didn't ask the vendor about anything else. She was in terrible pain at the time, with various ailments, so probably wasn't thinking straight. They must have walked over the gas tank area, neatly lawned with big green cover.

The gas company and the notaire have both said forward the bill to the new owner, as they are paying for the top up done automatically, just after completion.

It's the agent I have a gripe with. They rushed around listing everything else, getting the fosse checked etc. Was it their responsbility to see the gas tank? The vendor wasn't there much of the time as she had hospital appts in the UK in preparation of her cancer op. She entrusted them to cover everything. Let's hope the new owners just think they have to cough up. I fear it's a case of don't trust the agent, and sorry you didn't mention it, hard cheese. I'll let the agents tell her that, I'm not. The English agent I spoke to was very quick to blame everyone else for oversights ........quel surprise!

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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:12 pm 
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Something sounds a bit odd here. You said the gas tank contained about €1700 worth of gas at the tim¡e of the sale, and approximately €400 was added at the top-up, making a total of some €2100.

You also said that the central heating is by oil and the gas used only for the cooker.

The price of propane for automatic delivery varies hugely, between €1449 and €2046 per ton for an annual consumption of 1240 kg. https://www.fournisseurs-gaz.com/propane/moins-cher

Taking a value of €2.00 per kg gives an amount of 1050 kg in the tank, about right for the ususal 1100 kg. tank.

We use two to three 10 kg "Viseo" bottles of gas per year for our gas hob, say 30 kg per year. We have an electric oven, so let's say we'd use 50 kg per year if our oven were gas fired.

Using the above figures, there is enough gas in the tank to run a cooker for about 20 years.

Maybe it would be a good idea to check the figures you gave in the OP, check the gas bills for the last few years, and verify the size of the tank, as stated on the contract, before presenting any bills to the new owner of the house.


EDIT: Has the gas contract been transferred to the new owners?

EDIT: Correct terrible maths :(


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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:33 pm 
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Is the English estate agent completely legal?

Just a thought.


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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:45 pm 
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You're quite correct, it would last for years. The gas in that tank is probably years old! The 20% top up recently was possibly the first for years. I'll ask!

The agents are a well known company, but that doesn't make the individuals competent! The sale was rushed through, the vendor mostly adsent due to illness and the agents did not pay attention to detail, in my opinion. They fibbed, turned up unannounced on occasion, and were certainly not acting in the best interests of the vendor.

Hopefully the conscience of the new owners will be enough to settle up or reach a compromise. There was nowhere in the contract to say the existing gas was included in the sale price, which was at least 50 000k less than the sking price, but that's irrelevant, or is it?!

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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:03 pm 
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We use propane from a buried tank and are trying to run it down so that there's only a tiny bit left when we leave. I doubt that the immo or the notaire would bother to recoup the cost.
As others say , your price estimate seems exaggerated. On average 1000€ pays for about 50% of the contents of our tank.
We've cancelled the contract and the new people are taking it over.


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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:55 pm 
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It was not my calculation. There was 66% in the tank and it was Proxigaz who then provided the written estimate using their figures.

They could only put 20% in to make it full, and it takes 85% maximum. So allowing 1% for temperature fluctuations.

They did the equation, not me! If you say half a tank costs about a grand. A full tank costs two grand. I don't see the anomaly. My query is have the agents been negligent or is it seller beware?

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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:01 am 
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I see Bayleaf - missed that.
Whether the immo or the notaire were negligent - I think it would be very hard to prove. I know someone, a widow, who sold and moved back. She had asked to be paid for various items, but the extra money never turned up. She asked the notaire and he said it was all included in the house price.
We've offered to sell one or 2 things to the buyers, but as no positive response, sold them separately.
But the gas situation is slightly different. Perhaps because it's immovable?
Elstow might know.


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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:54 am 
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The only reason I queried the size of the tank was because it seemed a huge tank just for a cooker. Perhaps there were more gas appliances when it was installed.

Selling items in a house (or a boat) is always a problem. Once the buyers have seen things they often want to have them included in the price, using them as a bargaining chip to get more for their money. We try to empty a house completely before any viewing.

When we sold our first house in France we intended leaving quite a few items we didn't have room for in the new one. I asked if I could leave my lorry temporarily in the huge open barn, as they were not moving in right away, and I hadn't found anywhere safe for it near our new place. They said, not really in a nice way, that they wanted everything of ours removing.

So we did just that, and removed all the things we intended to leave, some of which were in the house when we bought it, and had found very useful. We dumped the old wood burner and gave the fridge to the farmer's wife across the road rather than leave them.

I had all the wheels and some of the stored contents stolen from the lorry where I temporarily parked it, so wished we had been able to remove even more things from the house, or even backed out of the sale.


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 Post subject: Re: Query regarding gas left in tank on completion of sale
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:50 pm 
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The tank can hold 1100kg. Complete overkill for the cooker, albeit a stonking great range and stunning. But our friend's husband, now sadly passed away, didn't want to be bothered with gas bottles.

I remember a conversation about the tank not being included in the sale as it belongs to Proxigaz. I'm waiting to hear back from a friend who works for another agent (an agent I trust, that's rare!), as there is a definitive list and procedure the acting agent should go through and tick off.

It would just be nice to know how we stand before the big guns come out, if needed!

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