B-162239, AUG. 28, 1967

B-162239: Aug 28, 1967

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FOR A MONTH BEFORE MOVING INTO A RENTED HOME MAY HAVE APARTMENT CONSIDERED TEMPORARY QUARTERS EVEN THOUGH EFFECTS WERE MOVED INTO APARTMENT. THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION FOLLOWING CRITERIA: (1) DURATION OF LEASE (2) MOVEMENT OF EFFECTS (3) TYPE OF QUARTERS (4) EXPRESSION OF INTENT AND (5) PERIOD OF STAY. WHICH WAS EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 17. 182 POUNDS ALSO WERE MOVED INTO THE RENTED APARTMENT ON SEPTEMBER 28. THE VOUCHER PRESENTED IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COSTS OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS AS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 23 (3) OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946. YOU STATE THAT NO GUIDANCE IS PRESENTLY AVAILABLE TO DETERMINE WHAT CONSTITUTES TEMPORARY LODGING AND ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS: "1 (A) HOW DOES AN ORDERS APPROVING OFFICIAL AND A DISBURSING OFFICER DETERMINE THAT RENTAL QUARTERS.

B-162239, AUG. 28, 1967

EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - TEMPORARY LODGING DECISION TO ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER, ELLSWORTH, AIR FORCE BASE, CONCERNING PAYMENT OF EXPENSES INCIDENT TO CHANGE OF STATION. EMPLOYEE WHO, INCIDENT TO TRANSFER FROM VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CALI. TO ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, SOUTH DAKOTA EFFECTIVE OCT. 17, 1966, MOVED HIS FAMILY INTO A FURNISHED APARTMENT WITH SHIPMENT OF SOME EFFECTS (2,182 LBS.) FOR A MONTH BEFORE MOVING INTO A RENTED HOME MAY HAVE APARTMENT CONSIDERED TEMPORARY QUARTERS EVEN THOUGH EFFECTS WERE MOVED INTO APARTMENT. ALTHOUGH DETERMINATION OF WHAT CONSTITUTES TEMPORARY QUARTERS MUST BE DECIDED FROM FACTS, THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION FOLLOWING CRITERIA: (1) DURATION OF LEASE (2) MOVEMENT OF EFFECTS (3) TYPE OF QUARTERS (4) EXPRESSION OF INTENT AND (5) PERIOD OF STAY. THEREFORE, EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR COST OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS.

TO FIRST LIEUTENANT JOHN W. HESSELQUIST, USAF:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 15, 1967, REFERENCE BCRF, REQUESTING OUR ADVANCE DECISION AS TO THE PAYMENT OF THE ENCLOSED TRAVEL VOUCHER OF MR. SYLVESTER F. SMITH, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, COVERING CERTAIN EXPENSES HE INCURRED INCIDENT TO CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION FROM VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA, TO ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, SOUTH DAKOTA, WHICH WAS EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 17, 1966.

YOU STATE THAT MR. SMITH REMAINED AT HIS OLD STATION IN TEMPORARY QUARTERS FROM SEPTEMBER 23, 1966, UNTIL HE DEPARTED FOR HIS NEW STATION ON OCTOBER 10, 1966. HIS WIFE AND THREE CHILDREN DEPARTED THE OLD STATION ON SEPTEMBER 22, 1966, AND MOVED INTO A RENTED ROOM AT THE NEW DUTY STATION ON SEPTEMBER 23, 1966. ON SEPTEMBER 26, 1966, THE WIFE AND CHILDREN MOVED INTO A TWO BEDROOM FURNISHED APARTMENT AND ALL THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS CONSISTING OF 2,182 POUNDS ALSO WERE MOVED INTO THE RENTED APARTMENT ON SEPTEMBER 28, 1966. YOU ADVISE THAT THE MEMBER JOINED THE HOUSEHOLD AT THE NEW DUTY STATION ON OCTOBER 13, 1966, AND THAT THE ENTIRE FAMILY MOVED INTO A RENTED THREE BEDROOM HOUSE ON OCTOBER 26, 1966. ULTIMATELY THE FAMILY PURCHASED A HOME IN MAY 1967.

THE VOUCHER PRESENTED IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COSTS OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS AS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 23 (3) OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS ADDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 21, 1966, PUB. L. 89-516, 80 STAT. 323.

YOU STATE THAT NO GUIDANCE IS PRESENTLY AVAILABLE TO DETERMINE WHAT CONSTITUTES TEMPORARY LODGING AND ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

"1 (A) HOW DOES AN ORDERS APPROVING OFFICIAL AND A DISBURSING OFFICER DETERMINE THAT RENTAL QUARTERS, AS DISTINGUISHABLE FROM HOTEL MOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS, ARE ACTUALLY TEMPORARY LODGING?

"1 (B) STATED ANOTHER WAY, HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT THE INDIVIDUAL'S REAL INTENT IS WHEN A HOME HAS NOT BEEN PURCHASED FOR SEVERAL MONTHS?

"1 (C) WHAT IS THE INTENT OF THE PUBLIC LAW FOR REIMBURSEMENT WHEN LIVING IN RENTED FAMILY HOME OR APARTMENT WITH HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN PLACE PENDING PURCHASE OF PROPERTY AT SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE?

"2. DOES THE FACT THAT ALL OR A PART OF A MEMBER'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS ARE MOVED INTO RENTAL QUARTERS HAVE ANY BEARING ON DETERMINATION OF WHAT CONSTITUTES TEMPORARY LODGING?

"3. IF ANSWER TO PROBLEM 2 IS "YES," WOULD TYPE OF DWELLING HAVE ANY BEARING ON THE DETERMINATION? FOR EXAMPLE: IN ONE INSTANCE THE MOVE WOULD BE INTO APARTMENT-TYPE RENTAL QUARTERS AND IN ANOTHER INSTANCE INTO A RENTED HOUSE.

"4. IS MEMBER ENTITLED TO 27 DAYS ADDITIONAL TEMPORARY LODGING FOR WIFE AND CHILDREN WHILE IN APARTMENT FROM 26 SEPTEMBER THROUGH 22 OCTOBER?

"5. IS MEMBER ENTITLED TO 9 DAYS ADDITIONAL TEMPORARY LODGING WHILE IN APARTMENT FROM 14 OCTOBER THROUGH 22 OCTOBER 1966?

IN IMPLEMENTATION OF PUB. L. 89-516, SECTION 2.5 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR A-56, REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"2.5 FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OF THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IS TRANSFERRED TO A NEW OFFICIAL STATION.

"B. CONDITIONS AND LIMITATIONS FOR ELIGIBILITY.

"/1) SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OF THE EMPLOYEE, FOR WHOM A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED, AND EACH MEMBER OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY (DEFINED IN SUBSECTION 1.2D), FOR A PERIOD OF NOT MORE THAN 30 DAYS WHILE NECESSARILY OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS SHALL BE ALLOWED WHEN THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION IS LOCATED IN THE 50 STATES, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS, THE COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RICO AND THE CANAL ZONE, PROVIDED A WRITTEN AGREEMENT AS REQUIRED IN SUBSECTION 1.3C IS SIGNED IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH TRANSFER.

"/3) TEMPORARY QUARTERS REFER TO LODGING OBTAINED TEMPORARILY, AFTER A TRANSFER HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AND AFTER THE EMPLOYEE AND/OR MEMBERS OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY VACATE THE RESIDENCE QUARTERS IN WHICH THEY WERE RESIDING AT THE TIME OF THE TRANSFER, UNTIL THE EMPLOYEE MOVES, WITHIN THE ALLOWABLE 30 OR 60 DAYS' TIME LIMIT, INTO PERMANENT RESIDENCE QUARTERS.

"/4) THE SPECIFIED TIME LIMITS ARE MAXIMUM PERIODS AND THE NORMAL LENGTH OF NECESSARY OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS IS EXPECTED TO AVERAGE MUCH LESS. TEMPORARY QUARTERS SHOULD BE REGARDED AS AN EXPEDIENT, TO BE USED ONLY IF, OR FOR AS LONG AS, NECESSARY UNTIL THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED CAN MOVE INTO RESIDENCE QUARTERS OF A PERMANENT TYPE.

"/5) IN COMPUTING THE LENGTH OF TIME ALLOWED FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNDER THE 30 OR 60 DAY LIMITATIONS SPECIFIED HEREIN, SUCH TIME SHALL BEGIN TO RUN FOR THE EMPLOYEE, SPOUSE, AND ALL MEMBERS OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY WHEN EITHER THE EMPLOYEE, THE SPOUSE, OR ANY MEMBER OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY STARTS TO OCCUPY SUCH QUARTERS AND THE TIME SHALL RUN CONCURRENTLY. IF THE EMPLOYEE OCCUPIES TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT ONE LOCATION WHILE THE SPOUSE AND/OR MEMBERS OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY OCCUPY QUARTERS AT ANOTHER LOCATION THE TIME SHALL TERMINATE WHEN THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED MOVES INTO PERMANENT TYPE RESIDENCE QUARTERS OR THE ALLOWABLE TIME LIMIT EXPIRES, WHICHEVER OCCURS FIRST.

"D. ALLOWABLE AMOUNT.

"/1) REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE ONLY FOR ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCURRED PROVIDED THESE ARE DIRECTLY RELATED TO OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND ARE REASONABLE BOTH AS TO AMOUNT AND DURATION. * * * THE ACTUAL EXPENSES SHALL BE SUPPORTED AS PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION 6.12F OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. * * *"

IN A SIMILAR CASE (B-161960, JULY 31, 1967, COPY ENCLOSED) INVOLVING A QUESTION AS TO WHETHER AN APARTMENT OCCUPIED BY AN EMPLOYEE AT THE NEW STATION FOR FOUR MONTHS BY HIMSELF WHILE THE FAMILY REMAINED BEHIND AT THE OLD STATION WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THEY WOULD JOIN HIM AT THE END OF THE SCHOOL TERM CONSTITUTED TEMPORARY QUARTERS UNDER SECTION 2.5, ABOVE, WE POINTED OUT:

"THERE IS NO DEFINITION OF THE TERM TEMPORARY QUARTERS IN THE LAW OR REGULATION HERE INVOLVED AND IN VIEW OF THE MANY DIFFERENT SITUATIONS WHICH MAY ARISE UNDER THAT PROVISION WE DOUBT THAT A COMPREHENSIVE DEFINITION COULD BE WRITTEN. THEREFORE, EACH CASE MUST BE TREATED ON THE BASIS OF THE PARTICULAR FACTS INVOLVED. IN THIS CASE THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE INTENDED TO REMAIN IN THE QUARTERS FOR A SPECIFIC PERIOD--FOUR MONTHS--AND THE FACT THAT HE OCCUPIED SUCH QUARTERS BECAUSE HIS FAMILY COULD NOT MOVE TO THE NEW DUTY STATION UNTIL THE END OF THE SCHOOL SESSION MAY BE CONSIDERED AS REFLECTING THAT HIS STAY IN THE APARTMENT WAS INTENDED TO BE TEMPORARY AND THAT HE WAS, THEREFORE, OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION. WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT IT IS PREREQUISITE FOR REIMBURSEMENT UNDER SECTION 2.5 THAT THE EMPLOYEE BE ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN SEEKING PERMANENT QUARTERS FOR IMMEDIATE OCCUPANCY ALTHOUGH THE LACK OF SUCH ACTION, TOGETHER WITH THE OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES PRESENT, MAY TEND TO SHOW THAT THE QUARTERS BEING OCCUPIED BY THE EMPLOYEE WERE NOT TEMPORARY QUARTERS.'

IT IS APPARENT FROM THE FOREGOING THAT A DETERMINATION AS TO WHAT CONSTITUTES TEMPORARY QUARTERS IS NOT SUSCEPTIBLE OF ANY PRECISE DEFINITION AND MUST BE DECIDED ON THE FACTS IN EACH CASE. THE DURATION OF A LEASE, MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INTO THE QUARTERS, TYPE OF QUARTERS, EXPRESSIONS OF INTENT, AND THE PERIOD OF THE STAY ON THE PART OF AN EMPLOYEE ARE ALL FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING WHETHER THE QUARTERS OCCUPIED ARE TEMPORARY IN NATURE. QUESTIONS 1 (A) AND 1 (B) ARE ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

WITH RESPECT TO QUESTION 1 (C) THE PRESENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN A RENTED HOME OR APARTMENT IS A FACTOR HAVING SOME RELEVANCE TO A DETERMINATION OF THE TEMPORARY NATURE OF THE QUARTERS. IN THE CASE PRESENTED IT ALSO SEEMS RELEVANT THAT THE QUANTITY OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS INVOLVED ONLY AMOUNTED TO 2,182 POUNDS. HAVING REGARD FOR ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED HEREIN IT SEEMS REASONABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT THE APARTMENT MR. SMITH RENTED FOR ONE MONTH WAS TEMPORARY QUARTERS EVEN THOUGH HE DID MOVE HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INTO THAT APARTMENT. QUESTION 1 (C) IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE NO SPECIFIC ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS 2 AND 3 APPEAR TO BE NECESSARY AND QUESTIONS 4 AND 5 ARE ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.