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A home seller can ask for you to pay for left over oil

There are some areas of the country which have to rely upon oil fired central heating as no mains gas is available. If you find yourself buying a home in one of these situations, you should ensure that it is agreed that you are given any oil left in the tank, or you should agree a price before exchanging contracts and settle the amount on the day that you move in.

A case has arisen where the seller demanded that the buyer pay for the oil left in an oil tank even though no price had been agreed before. Now the average heating oil tank is either 1,000 litres, or it can be 3,000 litres and with the average price currently at around 52 pence per litre, you could be expected to pay upwards of £1,000 or more so it is essential that this is pre-determined during negotiations.

For anyone who has not had the experience of having oil heating it is understandable that any leftover oil might be something that would not cross their minds, we are so used to taking an electric or gas reading before leaving a property and advising the utility company. Similarly in some areas there could be a septic tank which may be due for emptying, this is done by a specialist who will charge accordingly.

So it can be seen that whilst some utilities can be easy to hand over, oil reserves need to be negotiated before you agree upon the final house price, just as you might when buying certain fixtures and fittings; similarly if the home is not connected to a mains sewerage system, ask when the tank will have to be emptied and the likely cost of this.

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