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An Army accounting officer requested an advance decision as to whether two officers were entitled to reimbursement of lodging expenses incurred when they were ordered to vacate Government family housing due to the danger of an explosion. The officers and their families were occupying Government quarters when a natural gas main broke, allowing gas to enter the sewer connected to their units. Based on the fire chief's notification that there was a high risk of explosion, the base deputy commander ordered evacuation of the units involved. Since no substitute Government quarters were available, the officers obtained motel rooms for the night. GAO has held that reimbursement for temporary lodging to protect personnel from unsanitary or unsafe housing conditions is proper if the costs incurred are the direct result of compliance with an order issued by competent military authority and are mandatory to provide for the claimant's lodging. GAO found no reason to question the evacuation order and, since no substitute Government quarters were available, it found that rental of motel accommodations was mandatory, rather than for personal convenience. Accordingly, the officers' claims may be paid in full.


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