A-3799, SEPTEMBER 26, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 329

A-3799: Sep 26, 1924

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EXCEPT IN THOSE CASES WHERE A SATISFACTORY SHOWING IS MADE THAT THE LESSOR. 1924: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 10. YOU SAY: "IT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD WHY ONE WHO DESIRES TO RENT HIS PREMISES TO THE GOVERNMENT. WHO HAS SUBMITTED A PROPOSAL WHICH IS ACCEPTED. THE FACT THAT THE ATTITUDE OF THIS CLASS OF LESSORS IS INCONSISTENT DOES NOT RENDER THE PROBLEM BEFORE THIS DEPARTMENT LESS TROUBLESOME. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THEY BE EXECUTED IN DUPLICATE. THERE ARE TWO OBVIOUS OBJECTIONS TO THIS PROCEDURE: IN THE FIRST PLACE. I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST THAT YOU GIVE FURTHER CONSIDERATION TO THE REQUEST MADE IN MY LETTER OF JUNE 27. AS TO THE MATTER OF THE REFUSAL OF THE LESSOR TO EXECUTE A FORMAL LEASE IT WAS SAID IN DECISION OF AUGUST 16.

A-3799, SEPTEMBER 26, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 329

LEASES - RENT - POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT CREDITS FOR PAYMENTS OF RENTAL OF BUILDINGS BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT MAY NOT BE ALLOWED ON THE BASIS OF ACCEPTED PROPOSALS PENDING THE FILING OF A COPY OF THE FORMALLY EXECUTED LEASE AGREEMENT IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, EXCEPT IN THOSE CASES WHERE A SATISFACTORY SHOWING IS MADE THAT THE LESSOR, HAVING SUBMITTED A BID WHICH HAD BEEN ACCEPTED, REFUSED TO EXECUTE A FORMAL LEASE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, SEPTEMBER 26, 1924:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 10, 1924, READING:

I BEG TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE RECEIPT OF YOUR DECISION OF AUGUST 16, 1924, BASED UPON MY REQUEST OF JUNE 27, 1924, CONCERNING THE PAYMENT OF RENTALS TO LESSORS OF POST OFFICE BUILDINGS AND THE NECESSITY FOR THE FILING PROMPTLY OF THE ORIGINAL COPIES OF LEASES FOR POST OFFICE QUARTERS.

IN DECLINING TO COMPLY WITH THE REQUEST OF THIS DEPARTMENT THAT YOU CONTINUE THE PREVIOUS POLICY OF ACCEPTING ORIGINAL PROPOSALS AND ACCEPTANCES AS EVIDENCES OF CONTRACTS ENTERED INTO PENDING THE COMPLETION OF THE FORMAL LEASE, YOU SAY:

"IT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD WHY ONE WHO DESIRES TO RENT HIS PREMISES TO THE GOVERNMENT, AND WHO HAS SUBMITTED A PROPOSAL WHICH IS ACCEPTED, SHOULD HESITATE TO EXECUTE A FORMAL LEASE BASED THEREON.'

WHILE THIS SITUATION MAY BE DIFFICULT OF COMPREHENSION, YET IT NEVERTHELESS EXISTS, AND THE FACT THAT THE ATTITUDE OF THIS CLASS OF LESSORS IS INCONSISTENT DOES NOT RENDER THE PROBLEM BEFORE THIS DEPARTMENT LESS TROUBLESOME.

AS A REMEDY FOR DELAYS DUE TO THE TIME REQUIRED BY COUNTY OFFICIALS IN WHICH TO RECORD AND RETURN LEASES YOU MAKE THE FOLLOWING SUGGESTION:

"TO AVOID ANY DELAYS IN THE DEPOSITING OF THE LEASES, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THEY BE EXECUTED IN DUPLICATE. IF SO EXECUTED, BOTH DUPLICATE ORIGINALS MAY THEN BE FORWARDED FOR RECORDING, ONE TO BE RETURNED IMMEDIATELY WITH A NOTATION OF ITS RECEIPT FOR RECORDING BY THE RECORDING OFFICER, GIVING THE DATE OF SUCH RECORDING AND THE INDEX NUMBER, ETC., THE OTHER TO BE RETAINED BY THE RECORDING OFFICER FOR RECORDING IN THE RECORDS, AND WHEN SO RECORDED TO BE PROMPTLY RETURNED AND SUBSTITUTED FOR THE DUPLICATE ORIGINAL FIRST RETURNED. FOLLOWING THE PLAN THUS OUTLINED, THE LEASES MAY BE PROMPTLY DEPOSITED IN THIS OFFICE AS REQUIRED BY LAW, WHICH DISPENSES WITH ANY NECESSITY FOR CONSIDERING THE MAKING OF PAYMENTS, OR THE ALLOWANCE OF CREDITS FOR PAYMENTS MADE, ON OTHER THAN THE FORMAL LEASES.'

THERE ARE TWO OBVIOUS OBJECTIONS TO THIS PROCEDURE: IN THE FIRST PLACE, MUCH ADDITIONAL CLERICAL WORK WOULD BE REQUIRED; AND IN THE SECOND PLACE, THIS DEPARTMENT HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER COUNTY OFFICERS SO AS TO INDUCE THEM TO UNDERTAKE THE ADDITIONAL WORK WHICH WOULD DEVOLVE UPON THEM IN THE OPERATION OF THE PROPOSED PLAN.

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST THAT YOU GIVE FURTHER CONSIDERATION TO THE REQUEST MADE IN MY LETTER OF JUNE 27, 1924.

AS TO THE MATTER OF THE REFUSAL OF THE LESSOR TO EXECUTE A FORMAL LEASE IT WAS SAID IN DECISION OF AUGUST 16, 1924, THAT:

* * * GENERALLY, NO PAYMENTS SHOULD BE MADE, NOR CREDITS FOR PAYMENTS ALLOWED, UNLESS AND UNTIL THE FORMAL LEASES ARE EXECUTED. CASES INVOLVING REFUSALS TO EXECUTE FORMAL LEASES MAY BE SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION AND ADVICE AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN.

THE FORMAL LEASE IS HIGHLY DESIRABLE; HOWEVER, IT IS NOT INDISPENSABLE IN THE SENSE THAT IT MAY BE WITH RESPECT TO OTHER DEPARTMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT WHICH, PURSUANT TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF SPECIFICALLY APPLICABLE STATUTES, ARE REQUIRED TO ENTER INTO FORMAL LEASES, AS, FOR INSTANCE, IN THE CASE OF THE WAR, NAVY, AND INTERIOR DEPARTMENTS, UNDER SECTION 3744, REVISED STATUTES. IF A LESSOR REFUSES TO ENTER INTO A FORMAL LEASE AFTER HAVING AGREED SO TO DO, AND SUCH CASES MUST BE AND ARE UNDERSTOOD TO BE EXCEPTIONAL, THE ACCEPTED PROPOSAL SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE WITH A FULL EXPLANATION AND YOU WILL BE ADVISED AS TO THE ACTION, IF ANY, TO BE TAKEN. THERE WOULD BE FOR CONSIDERATION QUESTIONS AS TO WHETHER LESSOR HAS FULFILLED HIS PROPOSAL AND, IF NOT, WHETHER ANY PAYMENT CAN BE MADE NOTWITHSTANDING SUCH BREACH.

AS TO THE MATTER OF THE FILING IN THIS OFFICE OF THE RECORDED ORIGINAL COPY OF A LEASE, IT WOULD SEEM THAT ONE DUPLICATE ORIGINAL COULD BE FORWARDED FOR RECORDING, AND WHEN THEREAFTER RETURNED, TRANSMITTED FOR FILING IN THIS OFFICE IN LIEU OF A DUPLICATE ORIGINAL PROMPTLY DEPOSITED IN THIS OFFICE AS REQUIRED BY LAW, THE LATTER TO BE THEN RETURNED TO THE DEPARTMENT. UNLESS AND UNTIL SUCH LEASES ARE DEPOSITED IN THIS OFFICE NO INSTALLMENTS OF RENT MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR ALLOWANCE (NOR MAY CREDIT BE ALLOWED IN THE ACCOUNTS OF OFFICERS PAYING SUCH INSTALLMENTS OF RENT) EXCEPT IN THOSE CASES WHERE IT IS SATISFACTORILY SHOWN THAT THE LESSOR PROPERLY REFUSED TO EXECUTE A FORMAL LEASE.

THE PRACTICE HERETOFORE EXISTING OF CERTIFYING PAYMENTS AND ALLOWANCES OF CREDIT FOR PAYMENTS MADE, ON THE BASIS OF THE ACCEPTED PROPOSAL, WAS IMPROPER AND FOR THAT REASON I HAVE TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR REQUEST TO "CONTINUE THE PREVIOUS POLICY OF ACCEPTING ORIGINAL PROPOSALS AND ACCEPTANCES AS EVIDENCES OF CONTRACTS ENTERED INTO PENDING THE COMPLETION OF THE FORMAL LEASE" CANNOT BE COMPLIED WITH.