B-179634, APR 8, 1974

B-179634: Apr 8, 1974

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EMPLOYEE WHO PAID REAL ESTATE COMMISSION OF 7 PERCENT OF SALE PRICE PLUS ADDITIONAL AMOUNT BASED ON ONE-HALF OF ANNUAL GROUND RENT IN CONNECTION WITH SALE OF HIS RESIDENCE INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR TOTAL COMMISSION PAID BY HIM SINCE TOTAL COMMISSION WAS FOR SERVICES RENDERED IN SELLING RESIDENCE AND IT DOES NOT EXCEED RATES GENERALLY CHARGED BY BROKERS FOR SUCH SERVICES IN THAT LOCALITY. SOBOTKA DID NOT OWN THE PROPERTY ON WHICH HIS RESIDENCE WAS SITUATED. SOBOTKA HAS BEEN REIMBURSED FOR THE PORTION OF THE REAL ESTATE COMMISSION REPRESENTING 7 PERCENT OF THE SALE PRICE AND THE PRESENT VOUCHER IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THAT PORTION OF THE REAL ESTATE COMMISSION REPRESENTING ONE-HALF OF THE ANNUAL GROUND RENT.

B-179634, APR 8, 1974

EMPLOYEE WHO PAID REAL ESTATE COMMISSION OF 7 PERCENT OF SALE PRICE PLUS ADDITIONAL AMOUNT BASED ON ONE-HALF OF ANNUAL GROUND RENT IN CONNECTION WITH SALE OF HIS RESIDENCE INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR TOTAL COMMISSION PAID BY HIM SINCE TOTAL COMMISSION WAS FOR SERVICES RENDERED IN SELLING RESIDENCE AND IT DOES NOT EXCEED RATES GENERALLY CHARGED BY BROKERS FOR SUCH SERVICES IN THAT LOCALITY.

TO MR. ADAM J. SOBOTKA:

THIS DECISION INVOLVES THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER SUBMITTED BY MR. ADAM J. SOBOTKA, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR A PORTION OF THE REAL ESTATE COMMISSION INCURRED BY HIM IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF HIS RESIDENCE INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION.

INCIDENT TO A TRANSFER FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO DALLAS, TEXAS, MR. SOBOTKA SOLD HIS RESIDENCE IN REISTERSTOWN, MARYLAND. HOWEVER, MR. SOBOTKA DID NOT OWN THE PROPERTY ON WHICH HIS RESIDENCE WAS SITUATED, BUT PAID AN ANNUAL GROUND RENT OF $210. IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF HIS RESIDENCE, MR. SOBOTKA PAID A REAL ESTATE COMMISSION OF 7 PERCENT OF THE SALE PRICE PLUS AN ADDITIONAL AMOUNT EQUALING ONE-HALF OF THE ANNUAL GROUND RENT. MR. SOBOTKA HAS BEEN REIMBURSED FOR THE PORTION OF THE REAL ESTATE COMMISSION REPRESENTING 7 PERCENT OF THE SALE PRICE AND THE PRESENT VOUCHER IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THAT PORTION OF THE REAL ESTATE COMMISSION REPRESENTING ONE-HALF OF THE ANNUAL GROUND RENT. SINCE THE HOME SITE WAS NOT SOLD, THE CERTIFYING OFFICER HAS QUESTIONED WHETHER THE PAYMENT BY MR. SOBOTKA TO THE BROKER OF THE AMOUNT REPRESENTING ONE-HALF OF THE ANNUAL GROUND RENT MAY BE CONSIDERED AS PART OF THE BROKER'S FEE FOR THE PURPOSE OF REIMBURSEMENT UNDER CHAPTER 2 OF FEDERAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS (FPMR) 101-7.

WITH RESPECT TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR REAL ESTATE COMMISSION, SUBSECTION 2- 6.2A OF FPMR 101-7 PROVIDES:

"A. BROKER'S FEES AND REAL ESTATE COMMISSIONS. A BROKER'S FEE OR REAL ESTATE COMMISSION PAID BY THE EMPLOYEE FOR SERVICES IN SELLING HIS RESIDENCE IS REIMBURSABLE BUT NOT IN EXCESS OF RATES GENERALLY CHARGED FOR SUCH SERVICES BY THE BROKER OR BY BROKERS IN THE LOCALITY OF THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION. ***"

THE PRESENT RECORD INDICATES THAT THE TOTAL REAL ESTATE COMMISSION PAID BY MR. SOBOTKA WAS FOR SERVICES RENDERED BY THE BROKER RELATED TO THE SALE OF HIS RESIDENCE. THE FACT THAT THIS COMMISSION WAS COMPUTED IN PART ON THE BASIS OF THE ANNUAL GROUND RENT AND THAT THE LAND WAS NOT ACTUALLY SOLD IS NOT MATERIAL TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THIS AMOUNT SINCE THE COMMISSION WAS PAYMENT FOR SERVICES IN SELLING THE RESIDENCE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE PORTION OF THE REAL ESTATE COMMISSION PAID BY MR. SOBOTKA REPRESENTING ONE-HALF OF THE ANNUAL GROUND RENT MAY BE PROPERLY REIMBURSED UNDER SUBSECTION 2-6.2A OF FPMR 101-7 TO THE EXTENT THAT REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TOTAL REAL ESTATE COMMISSION DOES NOT EXCEED THE RATES GENERALLY CHARGED FOR SUCH SERVICES BY BROKERS IN THE LOCALITY. THIS REGARD THIS OFFICE HAS BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED BY THE BALTIMORE AREA OFFICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT THAT THE CUSTOMARY BROKERAGE FEE FOR THE SALE OF SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCES IN THE AREA IN QUESTION IS 7 PERCENT OF THE SALE PRICE AND THAT WHERE THE SALE INVOLVES PROPERTY ON WHICH GROUND RENT IS PAID BROKERS GENERALLY CHARGE AN ADDITIONAL AMOUNT EQUAL TO ONE-HALF THE ANNUAL GROUND RENT. THUS IT APPEARS THAT THE REAL ESTATE COMMISSION PAID BY MR. SOBOTKA, INCLUDING THE AMOUNT REPRESENTING ONE-HALF OF THE ANNUAL GROUND RENT, DOES NOT EXCEED THE RATES GENERALLY CHARGED FOR SUCH SERVICES IN THAT LOCALITY.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED BY MR. SOBOTKA MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.