The former owners (husband & wife) of our home had contracted with a local propane company to install one of their underground propane tanks during the home's construction. The local propane company got the husband but not the wife to sign an easement, which: (a) declared that the underground propane tank belonged to the company, (b) that the propane company and its assigns had the right to enter upon the property at anytime to maintain said propane tank, and (c) that the easement would run with the land [meaning that it would burden all future owners of said property].
The local propane company then filed this "easement" with the county recorder's office. Then a few years later, Amerigas acquired the local propane company and added this underground tank to its list of assets and believed that this tank was their property.
A year later, the former owners put the property on the market and sold it without disclosing the fact that a 3rd party held an interest in the underground tank. Furthermore, the underground tank did not have any sticker or other label indicating that a 3rd party held an interest in it.
Generally under state law, a real estate buyer is presumed to know all 'recorded' facts about said property. In a normal situation, the 'easement' would have popped up on the title search and been presented to the buyer at closing. In a normal situation, the 'easement' would be cross indexed to the property by the names of both the husband and wife who signed it.
HOWEVER, In this situation, a legal easement against the property did not exist, because in a non-community property state, when both a husband and wife jointly own a property; they both must sign. And in this situation, the state in question holds that all 'attachments' [in this case - the underground propane tank] transfer to the buyer, absent contrary notice to the buyer. Therefore, in this situation, the asset on Amerigas's books did not legally belong to Amerigas -- because it was lost to the buyer (under state law) due to faulty paperwork on the part of the original local propane company.
ALL PROPERTY OWNERS SHOULD KNOW FOR A LEGAL FACT WHO 'LEGALLY' OWNS AN UNDERGROUND TANK DUE TO UNLIMITED POTENTIAL LIABILITY IN THE EVENT OF AN UNDERGROUND GAS LEAK.
Moral of the story: It would absolutely suck to get jacked into the ground with poor service and high rates -- wrongly believing that the underground tank is 'company owned'; and then have that tank leak and cause damage to property/lives only to then learn that the 'company' skirts out of any liability because due to some legal quirk, the homeowner is in legal fact the owner of the underground tank.
Product or Service Mentioned: Amerigas Gas Tank.