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A-Bove Environmental Services, Inc. v. Purpuro

A-455-00T3 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2001) (Unpublished)

TRAILER PARKS; TANKS—An underground fuel tank servicing a long-term tenant of a trailer park is personal property, and an appropriate allocation of the cost to clean up a tank leak can be made entirely against the tenant.

A tenant lived at a trailer park for over 25 years. She owned her mobile home which was anchored to a permanent foundation belonging to the trailer park. From the time she became a tenant, her mobile home had been serviced by an underground oil tank. When a new owner purchased the trailer park, it required all renewing tenants to replace old tanks that showed any sign of wear or had reached their life expectancy. At the same time, the new landlord forwarded an offer to all tenants for the removal of existing tanks. Its recommended tank removal company offered to provide new tanks as well as environmental cleanup policies. This tenant received notice of both the new policy and the offer, but did not accept the offer. Several years later, it was determined that her underground oil storage tank leaked. The lower court determined that the oil tank was personal property, and the Appellate Division agreed. Further, the Appellate Division agreed with the lower court that both the landlord and the tenant were responsible parties under the Spill Compensation and Control Act, but that an appropriate allocation of the costs to remove the oil tank and to accomplish cleanup could be made entirely to the tenant.

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