Is new home owner responsible for old propane bill?

August 17, 2011 22:49 by Consumer Ed

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.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Rate This


Foreclosure Rescue Offers

November 4, 2010 08:29 by Consumer Ed

Dear Consumer Ed:

I’m about to lose my home and have already received counseling through the government’s Making Home Affordable Program. Despite their help, my income simply is not enough to make it work. I got a flyer from a company that’s promising to save my home. I am desperate, but I’m not sure if this offer is for real or if it’s a scam. Please help!

Consumer Ed says:

Foreclosure rescue fraud is a valid concern. There are a lot of scam artists out there who are targeting individuals in financial distress. To verify whether the flyer you received was sent by a legitimate mortgage broker, you can contact the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. They are responsible for supervising those who are licensed (or who should be licensed) to do business in the residential mortgage industry. The "Find a Specific Licensee" feature on their website (www.dbf.georgia.gov) lists active and inactive (revoked, suspended, withdrawn, or expired) broker licensees. If a company does not show up, it is operating illegally in Georgia, which is, of course, a major red flag not to do business with the company.  

If the company is properly licensed with the State, you may then want to contact the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) to see if any complaints have been filed against the company.

If foreclosure is imminent, you should seek legal advice right away. There are also some free resources available to you:

  • The 24-hour HOPE hotline, 888-995-HOPE is sponsored by the nonprofit Homeownership Preservation Foundation to help homeowners prevent foreclosure.
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (www.hud.gov/foreclosure) offers tips on avoiding foreclosure.
  • You can call 800-569-4287 to find a HUD-approved housing counselor near you. 
  • The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA): 1-888-302-NACA or www.naca.com provides guidance and may be able to mediate with your bank.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Rate This


Tenant rights in a foreclosure

November 4, 2010 08:14 by Consumer Ed

Dear Consumer Ed:

My landlord is having financial problems, and I am worried that the house I am renting may go into foreclosure.  As a tenant, what are my rights? Will I be forced to leave immediately?

Consumer Ed says:

No, you will not have to leave immediately if the house is foreclosed on. Under the “Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009”, which was signed into law on May 20, 2009, tenants have the right to stay in a foreclosed property through the end of their lease, unless the new owner is planning to make the foreclosed property his primary residence. In that case, the owner may terminate your lease, but you must be given 90 days’ notice to vacate the premises.  If you don’t have a written lease, if your lease is month-to-month, or if there are fewer than 90 days left on your lease, you are also entitled to 90 days’ notice.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Rate This


Credit/Debt
nav_cap