B-180099, FEB 25, 1974, 53 COMP GEN 626

B-180099: Feb 25, 1974

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WHO PURCHASED AND OCCUPIED A HOUSEBOAT AS HIS NEW RESIDENCE MAY BE REIMBURSED THE COST OF A MARINE SURVEY - A NECESSARY CONDITION FOR FINANCING THE PURCHASE OF THE HOUSEBOAT - SINCE 5 U.S.C. 5724A(4) AND FEDERAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS 101-7 DO NOT LIMIT AN EMPLOYEE TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO THE PURCHASE OF A DWELLING ON LAND AT HIS NEW DUTY STATION IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THERE IS AMPLE JUDICIAL RECOGNITION THAT A HOUSEBOAT OR A BOAT USED AS LIVING QUARTERS IS A DWELLING. YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE PURCHASE OF A HOUSEBOAT ARE REIMBURSABLE REAL ESTATE EXPENSES. THAT: *** THE RESIDENCE OR DWELLING IS THE RESIDENCE AS DESCRIBED IN 2-1.4I.

B-180099, FEB 25, 1974, 53 COMP GEN 626

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - HOUSEBOAT AS RESIDENCE - MARINE SURVEY AN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, TO BETHESDA, MARYLAND, WHO PURCHASED AND OCCUPIED A HOUSEBOAT AS HIS NEW RESIDENCE MAY BE REIMBURSED THE COST OF A MARINE SURVEY - A NECESSARY CONDITION FOR FINANCING THE PURCHASE OF THE HOUSEBOAT - SINCE 5 U.S.C. 5724A(4) AND FEDERAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS 101-7 DO NOT LIMIT AN EMPLOYEE TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO THE PURCHASE OF A DWELLING ON LAND AT HIS NEW DUTY STATION IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THERE IS AMPLE JUDICIAL RECOGNITION THAT A HOUSEBOAT OR A BOAT USED AS LIVING QUARTERS IS A DWELLING, HABITATION, OR RESIDENCE.

TO THE CHIEF, ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION, FEBRUARY 25, 1974:

BY LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 16, 1973, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE PURCHASE OF A HOUSEBOAT ARE REIMBURSABLE REAL ESTATE EXPENSES. WITH YOUR REQUEST YOU ENCLOSED A TRAVEL VOUCHER SUBMITTED BY MR. R. L. GOTCHY, AN EMPLOYEE OF YOUR AGENCY WHO PURCHASED A HOUSEBOAT FOR USE AS HIS RESIDENCE IN CONNECTION WITH HIS TRANSFER FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, TO BETHESDA, MARYLAND.

PARAGRAPH 2-6.1B OF THE FEDERAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS (FPMR) 101-7 STATES IN PERTINENT PART:"TO THE EXTENT ALLOWABLE UNDER THIS PROVISION, THE GOVERNMENT SHALL REIMBURSE AN EMPLOYEE FOR EXPENSES REQUIRED TO BE PAID BY HIM IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF ONE RESIDENCE AT HIS OLD OFFICIAL STATION, FOR PURCHASE (INCLUDING CONSTRUCTION) OF ONE DWELLING AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION *** PROVIDED, THAT: *** THE RESIDENCE OR DWELLING IS THE RESIDENCE AS DESCRIBED IN 2-1.4I, WHICH MAY BE A MOBILE HOME AND/OR THE LOT ON WHICH SUCH MOBILE HOME IS LOCATED OR WILL BE LOCATED." IN THE LATTER PARAGRAPH "RESIDENCE" IS DEFINED AS QUARTERS FROM WHICH THE EMPLOYEE REGULARLY COMMUTES TO AND FROM WORK.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT MR. GOTCHY USES THE HOUSEBOAT AS THE RESIDENCE FROM WHICH HE COMMUTES TO AND FROM WORK. THE EXPENSE CLAIMED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE OF THIS HOUSEBOAT IS $129 FOR A MARINE SURVEY WHICH WAS A NECESSARY CONDITION FOR FINANCING THE PURCHASE.

AN EXAMINATION OF 5 U.S.C. 5724A(4) AND THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS INDICATE THAT THE EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE PURCHASE OF A RESIDENCE AT THE NEW STATION MAY BE REIMBURSED. ORDINARILY A RESIDENCE WOULD BE A DWELLING ERECTED ON LAND OR A MOBILE HOME LOCATED ON LAND. HOWEVER, WE FIND NOTHING IN THE STATUTE OR REGULATIONS LIMITING THE RESIDENCE TO A DWELLING ON LAND. MOREOVER, THERE IS AMPLE JUDICIAL RECOGNITION THAT A HOUSEBOAT OR A BOAT USED AS LIVING QUARTERS IS A DWELLING, HABITATION, RESIDENCE OR - IN ONE CASE - A MOBILE HOME. SEE GENERALLY THE DEFINITIONS IN FULTON V. INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA, 127 FED. 413 (1904), REVERSED ON AN UNRELATED POINT AT 136 FED. 182 (1905); THE APPLICATION OF A FIRE INSURANCE POLICY WHICH COVERED A DWELLING HOUSE TO A "QUARTER BOAT" IN INTER-OCEAN CASUALTY COMPANY V. WARFIELD, 292 S.W. 129 (1927); THE APPLICATION OF AN INTERNAL REVENUE REGULATION GOVERNING THE SALE OF RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY TO A HOUSEBOAT IN RUMSEY V. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, 82 FED. 2D 158 (1936); AND THE APPLICATION OF A STATE EXEMPTION STATUTE GOVERNING MOBILE HOMES TO A HOUSEBOAT IN, IN THE MATTER OF EDMOND R. BELL, BANKRUPT, 181 F. SUPP. 387 (1960). THEREFORE, WE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT EXPENSES WHICH WOULD BE REIMBURSED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE ON A RESIDENCE ON LAND MAY BE REIMBURSED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE OF A HOUSEBOAT WHICH IS OCCUPIED AS A RESIDENCE UPON TRANSFER OF STATION.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE THE VOUCHER RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE PROPER.