Federal Real Property: Authorities and Actions Regarding Enhanced Use Leases and Sale of Unneeded Real Property

GAO-09-283R Published: Feb 17, 2009. Publicly Released: Mar 19, 2009.
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Many federal agencies hold real property that they do not need, including property that is underutilized or excess. Such properties present significant potential risks to federal agencies because they are costly to maintain and could be put to more cost-beneficial uses or sold to generate revenue for the government. We first designated federal real property management as a high-risk area in January 2003 due to long-standing problems with underutilized and excess property, among other things. After our high-risk designation, President George W. Bush added real property management to the President's Management Agenda and directed that the Federal Real Property Profile (FRPP) be established as a comprehensive database of real property under the control and custody of executive branch agencies, with agencies required to report on their real property assets each year. The President also established a goal of disposing of $15 billion in unneeded real property assets by 2015 to encourage agencies to right-size their portfolios by eliminating unneeded property. Some federal agencies have been granted authorities to enter into enhanced use leases (EUL)--typically long-term agreements with public and private entities for the use of federal property, resulting in cash and/or in-kind consideration for the agency--or to retain the proceeds from the sale of real property. Given the large number of unneeded properties being held by the federal government, Congress asked that we review how agencies are using their disposal authorities. Therefore, we addressed (1) what authorities the 10 largest real property holding agencies have to enter into EULs and retain proceeds from the sale of real property; (2) the extent to which agencies with authority to retain proceeds sold real property and how they have used the proceeds; and (3) the relationship, if any, between agencies having the authority to enter into EULs or retain sales proceeds and the amount of real property that they retained or sold.

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