[Relocation Expenses for Mobile Home Space Rental]

B-210918: Mar 20, 1984

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A National Park Service finance officer requested a decision as to whether an employee may be reimbursed for mobile home space rental payments. Prior to a permanent change-of-station transfer, the employee purchased a mobile home to be used as his residence at his old station. The purchase was covered by a promissory note and installment loan contract which stated that: (1) title remained with the seller until the note was paid; (2) the mobile home would remain in a specific trailer park until the note was paid; and (3) the employee would pay a monthly rental fee. The employee contended that he could not avoid payment of the rental fee because the agreement prevented him from moving the home when he was transferred. GAO has held that employees should attempt to reasonably minimize expenses suffered in connection with the early termination of leases. GAO noted that the employee was required to pay rental fees only until the home was paid for; there was no restriction against paying off the remaining amount or making a partial payment to minimize the expense. However, the employee made no attempt to minimize the charge. Accordingly, reimbursement of the voucher was not authorized.

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