LPG Tank between 2 houses?

edited 9 May 2017 at 7:25PM in LPG, Heating Oil, Solid & Other Fuels
18 replies 7.2K views
J_BJ_B Forumite
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We currently own a pair of semi detached cottages in N Wales from where we do holiday lets.

No2 has an underground LPG tank which is then piped through a meter to No1. As the owners of both it has proved an ideal system, especially since we got onto the Woldlink contract.

We are now selling the cottages and are wondering if anyone is in a similar situation whereby they share a tank with a neighbour?

Our solicitors are concerned that it may be rather problematic.

:)
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  • EachPennyEachPenny Forumite
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    J_B wrote: »
    We currently own a pair of semi detached cottages in N Wales from where we do holiday lets.

    No2 has an underground LPG tank which is then piped through a meter to No1. As the owners of both it has proved an ideal system, especially since we got onto the Woldlink contract.

    We are now selling the cottages and are wondering if anyone is in a similar situation whereby they share a tank with a neighbour?

    Our solicitors are concerned that it may be rather problematic.

    I know of two neighbours who shared a heating oil tank, but as they were family it doesn't really help your situation.

    I would say 'rather problematic' is putting it very mildly. Shared drains are a problem and what you fill them up with comes for free.

    With a shared LPG one half will have the tank on their land, who will be responsible for getting the tank refilled? Who will decide which company to use and whether to fill up when prices are low, or fill up when the tank is nearly empty. Will the one responsible for filling the tank have to pay up-front with the other paying as per consumption measured by the meter, or will they pay shares in proportion to typical use? What happens if one cottage is left empty for a long period of time? Who pays for maintenance on the tank and pipework, and who will pay to replace the tank if necessary? Also, what if the new owner of No2 decides they no longer want LPG and wants the tank removed from their property - and who would pay for that?

    Legal arrangements could be put in place for this kind of thing, but I think many prospective purchasers would run a mile on solicitor's advice when this shared arrangement is looked into.

    I'd say you will need to either consider getting a separate tank installed at No1, or else have No1 disconnected from the tank and sell the property on the basis the purchasers will need to install their own tank. Either way you'll have to pay or accept a lower price.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
  • footyguyfootyguy Forumite
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    J_B wrote: »
    We currently own a pair of semi detached cottages in N Wales from where we do holiday lets.

    No2 has an underground LPG tank which is then piped through a meter to No1. As the owners of both it has proved an ideal system, especially since we got onto the Woldlink contract.

    We are now selling the cottages and are wondering if anyone is in a similar situation whereby they share a tank with a neighbour?

    Our solicitors are concerned that it may be rather problematic.

    :)

    Why not seek the advice of local estate agents
    But, I wouldn't seek to argue with your solicitors. ;)
  • firefox1956firefox1956 Forumite
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    I am sure for a 'fee' solicitors could find a way around your problem......
    Ask them ??
  • J_BJ_B Forumite
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    EachPenny wrote: »
    I'd say you will need to either consider getting a separate tank installed at No1
    There isn't really room for a tank at No1, without it taking up the whole front garden!
    EachPenny wrote: »
    Also, what if the new owner of No2 decides they no longer want LPG and wants the tank removed from their property - and who would pay for that?
    Hmm, the tank is buried in the front garden - surely nobody would dig it up ... would they???


    footyguy wrote: »
    Why not seek the advice of local estate agents
    Done, they didn't have much of an idea.
    I am sure for a 'fee' solicitors could find a way around your problem......
    Ask them ??
    I think this is going to be the way forward ..... hopefully!

    :)
  • footyguyfootyguy Forumite
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    J_B wrote: »
    footyguy wrote:
    Why not seek the advice of local estate agents
    Done, they didn't have much of an idea...

    Then try some more until you get one that understands the local housing market :)
  • EachPennyEachPenny Forumite
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    J_B wrote: »
    Hmm, the tank is buried in the front garden - surely nobody would dig it up ... would they???

    At some point the tank will become life expired and need replacing, making safe, or removal - whether the owners/occupiers of either cottage want to continue using LPG or not. Underground fuel storage tanks are a liability and need very careful handling when it comes to removal. If you google the words "highgate tank explosion" you'll see a recent tragic case involving a petrol storage tank which while different in terms of fuel and probably size, does illustrate the specialist nature of this kind of work, and hence how much it costs.

    I don't know the layout of the cottages, but is it even remotely possible a future owner of No2 might want to build an extension (even a small porch) or parking area (near) where the tank is located? They are the sort of questions the solicitors acting for future purchasers of No2 should be asking, and potentially always having a negative impact on the sale price.

    A legal agreement drawn up on the sale of the cottages which gives the owner of No1 the right to use gas stored in the tank at No2 would also need to require the owner of No2 to continue to provide and maintain that tank, unless both parties agree to terminate the agreement. For it to have any value, the agreement would also have to bind all future purchasers of either property in the same way. The agreement would also have to be enforceable through civil law, with all the costs that entails, if either party fails to keep to their part.

    That is where the problems will start. Whilst the first purchasers may be happy to take on those liabilities, it will still make the property harder to sell in future. The purchasers will need to take that into account, and also consider that a mortgage company (thinking of how easily the property can be disposed of in case of reposession) may also baulk at the thought of a shared underground storage tank.

    It is all do-able but at a cost and at the risk of delays.

    In my youth I was involved in designing drainage systems. One of the things which kept my company busy was dealing with people trying to sell houses with shared drains, especially if they had shared septic tanks. The mortgage companies, surveyors and solicitors all hated them and the easiest solution was usually to install a separate sytem before the house was sold. We also were involved with developers constructing houses in areas where there was no public sewerage. The developers typically installed a shared system using a mini-treatment plant, but had to set up a management company to look after it as it was near impossible to make a single property responsible. Drainage is obviously a different situation to a shared gas tank, but many of the principles still apply.

    If there is no room at No1 for a separate storage tank then you may find it cheaper and less hassle to take a more radical approach like having electric storage heaters installed instead. But obviously the first steps will be getting professional advice on the costs of getting the appropriate agreements drawn up, and the likely impact on property values of having the shared tank vs possibly installing alternative heating arrangements.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
  • G_MG_M Forumite
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    I share a septic tank with my neighbour and my water mains pipes run across his land. A few years back I got a Deed drawn up and registered against both our properties laying out our resepctive rights and obligations (eg my right to access of water and use of his tank, division of cost of maintenance etc). It was pretty detailed.

    So a legal solution IS possible, but ensure your solicitor considers all eventualities in the Deed.

    But yes - what if the tank owner decides to switch to a ground source heat pump? Or all-electric?

    As a buyer I'd be concerned. Maybe convert number 2 to another energy source?
  • edited 12 May 2017 at 4:45PM
    J_BJ_B Forumite
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    edited 12 May 2017 at 4:45PM
    footyguy wrote: »
    Then try some more until you get one that understands the local housing market :)
    Offer accepted on both cottages within 2 weeks of putting them on the market :)
    EachPenny wrote: »
    If there is no room at No1 for a separate storage tank ..... snip ..... having the shared tank vs possibly installing alternative heating arrangements.
    Other points noted with thanks ...
    Both cottages have a decent heating system with combi boiler, the one in No1 was new in 2010
    With the current regs on siting of LPG tanks, there is hardly room for a new tank at No1.
    G_M wrote: »
    As a buyer I'd be concerned. Maybe convert number 2 to another energy source?
    No2 has the tank :o
    It was clearly stated in the sales particulars that there was a shared supply which didn't put any prospective purchasers off .... but then solicitors get involved!!! ;):D;)

    Thanks all
  • J_BJ_B Forumite
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    PS
    I e mailed all the prospective suppliers who come up on the UKLPG website for suggestions ..... no replies!
  • EachPennyEachPenny Forumite
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    J_B wrote: »
    ...which didn't put ant prospective purchasers off .... but then solicitors get involved!!!

    ...which is why solicitors can charge so much - they are meant to protect us from our own ignorance and enthusiasm :)

    Hope the sales go through ok and it all works out fine in the end. :)
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
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