This report responds to a concern that budget-scoring restrictions were forcing the General Services Administration (GSA) to rely on shorter term leases that increase the costs to the Federal Buildings Fund because their per-square-foot costs are greater than longer term leases. Budget-scorekeeping rules are to be used by the scorekeepers to ensure compliance with budget laws and that legislation are consistent with scorekeeping conventions and that specific legal requirements. The rules are reviewed annually and revised as necessary to achieve those purposes. The way in which budget-scoring rules were implemented affected the lease or lease project term of at least 13 of the 39 federal agency leases GAO reviewed. Since GSA officials do not generally seek comparisons of long-term versus short-term leases in the solicitation process, GAO could not determine the overall monetary impact of budget scoring in the lease term. However, GAO identified three isolated cases that had comparisons of long term versus short-term leases in the solicitation process, and, in each case, the price per net useable square foot was lower with the longer term lease. GSA officials said that while budget scoring affects the term of some leases, the term of most leases is determined by various factors, either individually or in combination, such as rental market conditions, location, and the term desired by the agency.
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