Request for Reimbursement for Real Estate Expenses

B-197501: May 12, 1980

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A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employee appealed the Claims Division settlement which disallowed his claim for reimbursement of real estate expenses incurred during a permanent change of station. The record showed that the FAA employee was transferred from Valdosta, Georgia, to Augusta, Georgia, with a reporting date of August 4, 1975. The employee's travel orders stated that his family would travel at a later date, that transportation of his dependents and household effects should be completed by August 4, 1977, and that real estate expenses were also provided. Subsequently, the employee was transferred by FAA from Augusta to Albany, Georgia, his present duty station. This time his travel orders stated that sale of his residence would be handled under an extension of his previous travel order. The orders were so annotated because the employee requested and was granted a 1-year extension to September 2, 1977, to enable the employee to sell his residence. Moreover, a further extension was also granted by FAA not to exceed September 25, 1978. Consequently, the employee purchased a home in Albany and settled on his home in Valdosta. But, the employee's claim for $3,399.90 incident to the sale was denied by the FAA because the home in Valdosta was not the residence from which the employee commuted to work at the time of his transfer from Augusta to Albany. The employee had resided in Augusta during the week and commuted to Valdosta on weekends and holidays. However, the employee contended that he was granted the extensions and that now his claim was being denied on an unrelated commuting factor. GAO held that, under Federal Travel Regulations, the employee was not entitled to reimbursement for expenses incurred incident to the sale of his residence. Nor was the employee entitled to reimbursement under his 1975 travel order since he did not sell his Valdosta residence within 2 years of the transfer to Augusta. Accordingly, the Claims Division settlement was sustained.