A-15581, SEPTEMBER 27, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 215

A-15581: Sep 27, 1926

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LEASES - PAINTING THE INTERIOR PAINTING OF PREMISES LEASED BY THE UNITED STATES IS A REPAIR ORDINARILY TO BE MADE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE LESSOR. 1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 1. REQUESTING DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED AS OLLOWS: THE DEPARTMENT REFERS TO YOUR DECISION (A-11788) TREATING OF IMPROVEMENTS TO RENTED PREMISES WHEREIN IT IS HELD THAT GOVERNMENT FUNDS CAN NOT BE USED TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS TO PRIVATE PROPERTY HELD UNDER LEASE IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC PROVISION IN THE LEASE OBLIGATING THE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE SUCH IMPROVEMENTS AS A PART OF THE RENTAL CONSIDERATION. THE DEPARTMENT WOULD APPRECIATE AN EXPRESSION OF YOUR VIEWS AS TO WHETHER THE INTERIOR PAINTING OF RENTED PREMISES IS INCLUDED IN THE ABOVE-MENTIONED OPINION AS NOT CHARGEABLE AGAINST GOVERNMENT FUNDS.

A-15581, SEPTEMBER 27, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 215

LEASES - PAINTING THE INTERIOR PAINTING OF PREMISES LEASED BY THE UNITED STATES IS A REPAIR ORDINARILY TO BE MADE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE LESSOR, BUT WHEN NECESSARY ON ACCOUNT OF CONDITIONS PECULIAR TO THE SERVICE AND CAN NOT BE REQUIRED OF THE LESSOR UNDER THE TERMS OF THE LEASE, OR BY REASON OF THE LOCAL LAWS, THE EXPENDITURE MAY PROPERLY BE MADE UNDER THE APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR THE RENT OF THE BUILDING.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, SEPTEMBER 27, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED AS OLLOWS:

THE DEPARTMENT REFERS TO YOUR DECISION (A-11788) TREATING OF IMPROVEMENTS TO RENTED PREMISES WHEREIN IT IS HELD THAT GOVERNMENT FUNDS CAN NOT BE USED TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS TO PRIVATE PROPERTY HELD UNDER LEASE IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC PROVISION IN THE LEASE OBLIGATING THE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE SUCH IMPROVEMENTS AS A PART OF THE RENTAL CONSIDERATION. THE DEPARTMENT WOULD APPRECIATE AN EXPRESSION OF YOUR VIEWS AS TO WHETHER THE INTERIOR PAINTING OF RENTED PREMISES IS INCLUDED IN THE ABOVE-MENTIONED OPINION AS NOT CHARGEABLE AGAINST GOVERNMENT FUNDS.

OCCASIONS FREQUENTLY ARISE WHERE THE PAINTING OF CONSULAR PREMISES IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE WELL-BEING OF THE EMPLOYEES AND WOULD GREATLY ENHANCE THE PRESTIGE OF THE OFFICE AND WHERE THERE EXISTS IN THE LEASE NO SPECIFIC PROVISION IMPOSING SUCH WORK ON THE LESSEE AS A PART OF THE RENTAL CONSIDERATION. IN SUCH CASES WHERE IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO GET THE OWNERS TO DO THE PAINTING IT HAS ALWAYS HERETOFORE BEEN CONSIDERED BY THE DEPARTMENT THAT IT MIGHT PROPERLY BE DONE BY THE GOVERNMENT, IT BEING CONSIDERED MORE IN THE NATURE OF CLEANING THAN OF REPAIRS. THE DEPARTMENT REQUESTS YOUR OPINION ON THIS POINT FOR ITS GUIDANCE IN DEALING WITH CASES WHICH ARE NUMEROUS AND WHICH VERY OFTEN INVOLVE THE IMPORTANT QUESTION OF PRESTIGE OF THE OFFICE CONCERNED.

PAINTING PREMISES, INTERIOR OR EXTERIOR, IS ORDINARILY TO BE CLASSED A REPAIR. IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT PERMANENT IMPROVEMENTS OR REPAIRS TO PROPERTY RENTED OR LEASED BY THE UNITED STATES MAY NOT BE MADE GENERALLY AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITED STATES. 2 COMP. GEN. 606; 5 ID. 366. IT IS ALSO WELL ESTABLISHED THAT A PROVISION IN A LEASE FOR THE RETURN OF THE PROPERTY IN LIKE GOOD CONDITION AS WHEN RECEIVED, REASONABLE WEAR AND TEAR EXCEPTED, DOES NOT REQUIRE THE PAINTING OF THE PREMISES AT THE EXPENSE OF THE GOVERNMENT WHEN THE NECESSITY THEREFOR IS CAUSED BY REASONABLE WEAR AND TEAR RESULTING FROM THE USE OF THE PROPERTY FOR THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH LEASED. 1 COMP. GEN. 723; 5 ID. 522. WHERE, HOWEVER, THE INTERIOR PAINTING OF LEASED PREMISES IS NECESSARY FROM CONDITIONS PECULIAR TO THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT AS A NEED OF THE PREMISES IN THE REPAIR SENSE, AND THUS CAN NOT BE REQUIRED OF THE LESSOR UNDER THE TERMS OF THE LEASE, OR BY REASON OF ANY LOCAL LAWS, IT RAISES A QUESTION IN THE PARTICULAR CASE OF WHETHER THE PAINTING IS A NEED OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE COST THEREOF BE CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE RENT. SEE 3 COMP. GEN. 103; ID. 864; AD 7384, JANUARY 16, 1923, TO THE DIRECTOR OF THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU. TO AUTHORIZE SUCH EXPENDITURES THERE MUST BE AN AFFIRMATIVE SHOWING AS TO THE BENEFITS TO ACCRUE TO THE GOVERNMENT THEREFROM, OR THE NECESSITY THEREFOR FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM THE MERE COMFORT, CONVENIENCE, OR DESIRES OF THE OCCUPANTS OF THE LEASED PREMISES. IN THIS CONNECTION SEE DECISION OF JULY 23, 1919, TO THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE UNITED STATES SHIPPING BOARD.

THE FACTS AND CONDITIONS SET FORTH IN YOUR SUBMISSION WOULD BE ACCEPTED TO AUTHORIZE THE PAINTING AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITED STATES.