A-98112, JANUARY 13, 1950, 29 COMP. GEN. 301

A-98112: Jan 13, 1950

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WATER RENT - DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - FEDERAL AGENCIES UNDER A LEASE TO A FEDERAL AGENCY OF PRIVATE PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WHICH REQUIRES THE LESSOR TO FURNISH WATER AND PROVIDES FOR AN ADJUSTMENT IN RENTAL WHEN THE COST OF THE SPECIAL SERVICES FURNISHED BY THE LESSOR IS LESS THAN A FIXED AMOUNT. REFUND OF WHICH IS REFUSED BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 1950: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 18. 521.80 WAS THE ESTIMATED COST OF SPECIAL SERVICES AS SHOWN ON THE ITEMIZED STATEMENT ATTACHED TO THE LEASE. THAT IF THE ACTUAL COST OF MAINTENANCE (SPECIAL SERVICES TO BE FURNISHED BY THE LESSOR UNDER PARAGRAPH 6) IS LESS THAN $25. 521.80 PER ANNUM THE LESSOR WILL REBATE THE DIFFERENCE TO THE GOVERNMENT.

A-98112, JANUARY 13, 1950, 29 COMP. GEN. 301

WATER RENT - DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - FEDERAL AGENCIES UNDER A LEASE TO A FEDERAL AGENCY OF PRIVATE PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WHICH REQUIRES THE LESSOR TO FURNISH WATER AND PROVIDES FOR AN ADJUSTMENT IN RENTAL WHEN THE COST OF THE SPECIAL SERVICES FURNISHED BY THE LESSOR IS LESS THAN A FIXED AMOUNT, WATER RENTS PAID BY THE LESSOR, REFUND OF WHICH IS REFUSED BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, MAY BE INCLUDED IN COMPUTING THE COST OF SUCH SPECIAL SERVICES. 16 COMP. GEN. 741, DISTINGUISHED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO LESTER H. THOMPSON, FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION, JANUARY 13, 1950:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 18, 1949 (YOUR FILE AA W1, TRANSMITTING A VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF HERBERT GLASSMAN AND SYLVIA G. OSTROW, IN THE AMOUNT OF $6,435.32 AS RENT FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE 1949 FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 1021 14TH STREET, N.W., WASHINGTON, D.C., LEASED TO THE GOVERNMENT UNDER LEASE NO. HA (6000) FH 5, DATED JUNE 28, 1944, AND REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU PROPERLY MAY CERTIFY THE VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT IN THE FULL AMOUNT CLAIMED THEREON OR WHETHER THE AMOUNT OF $5,429.22, REPRESENTING THE COST OF WATER FURNISHED THE LEASED PREMISES FROM JULY 1, 1944, TO JUNE 30, 1949, SHOULD BE DEDUCTED THEREFROM.

THE SUBJECT LEASE PROVIDES FOR AN ANNUAL RENTAL OF $77,223.80, PAYABLE IN ARREARS IN MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS OF $6,435.32. IT APPEARS THAT SAID RENTAL REPRESENTED 15 PERCENTUM OF THE ASSESSED VALUATION OF THE PROPERTY AT DATE OF THE LEASE, OR $51,702, AND $25,521.80 WAS THE ESTIMATED COST OF SPECIAL SERVICES AS SHOWN ON THE ITEMIZED STATEMENT ATTACHED TO THE LEASE. PARAGRAPH 6 REQUIRES THE LESSOR TO FURNISH HOT AND COLD RUNNING WATER AS PART OF THE RENTAL COST AND PARAGRAPH 12 PROVIDES, IN EFFECT, THAT IF THE ACTUAL COST OF MAINTENANCE (SPECIAL SERVICES TO BE FURNISHED BY THE LESSOR UNDER PARAGRAPH 6) IS LESS THAN $25,521.80 PER ANNUM THE LESSOR WILL REBATE THE DIFFERENCE TO THE GOVERNMENT. YOU STATE THAT THE LATTER PROVISION HAS BEEN COMPLIED WITH BY THE LESSOR, RESULTING IN A REFUND OF THE DIFFERENCE EACH YEAR WHERE IT WAS SHOWN THAT THE ACTUAL COST OF MAINTENANCE WAS LESS THAN $25,521.80, AND THAT WATER RENTS AS ITEMIZED IN YOUR LETTER, TOTALING $5,429.22, WERE INCLUDED IN THE MAINTENANCE COST UNDER THE FIVE-YEAR PERIOD HERE INVOLVED. YOU FURTHER STATE THAT RECENTLY IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOUR ATTENTION THAT THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WILL NOT ASSESS WATER CHARGES AGAINST A LEASED BUILDING WITHIN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WHOLLY OCCUPIED BY THE GOVERNMENT, BUT THAT SINCE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS NOT AWARE OF SUCH PROVISION AND APPARENTLY NEITHER WAS THE LESSOR, THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WERE NOT REQUESTED TO FURNISH WATER WITHOUT CHARGE IN THIS INSTANCE.

DOUBT AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF THE PROPOSED PAYMENT WITHOUT DEDUCTION OF $5,429.22 FOR THE WATER PAYMENTS REFERRED TO ABOVE APPARENTLY ARISES BECAUSE OF THE DECISION REPORTED IN 16 COMP. GEN. 741, WHEREIN IT WAS HELD THAT THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR THE COLLECTION OF WATER RENT FROM FEDERAL AGENCIES OCCUPYING PRIVATE PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THAT THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE CHARGED BY LAW WITH THE DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER A REFUND IS AUTHORIZED WHERE WATER RENTALS ARE VOLUNTARILY PAID BY THE OWNER OF SUCH PROPERTY LEASED TO A GOVERNMENT AGENCY UNDER AN AGREEMENT PROVIDING THAT THE LESSOR SHOULD NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SUCH CHARGES. THE PRESENT CASE IS DISTINGUISHABLE FROM THE CITED CASE IN THAT IN THE PRESENT INSTANCE THE LESSOR IS REQUIRED TO FURNISH WATER AS PART OF THE RENTAL CONSIDERATION, IN WHICH CIRCUMSTANCES THE COST OF THE WATER IS NOT A DIRECT CHARGE AGAINST THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. CONSEQUENTLY, THE RULE IN 16 COMP. GEN. 741, INSOFAR AS CONCERNS THE LEGALITY OF PAYMENTS FOR WATER FURNISHED LEASED PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OCCUPIED BY FEDERAL AGENCIES, IS NOT APPLICABLE IN THE PRESENT SITUATION. SINCE THE PRESIDENT, BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT, IN RESPONSE TO AN INQUIRY FROM THIS OFFICE CONCERNING THE MATTER HAS DECLINED TO EFFECT ANY REIMBURSEMENT OF THE WATER RENTS PAID, THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, WITHOUT DEDUCTION, IF OTHERWISE FREE FROM OBJECTION.