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General Services Administration's Practices in Awarding and Administering Leases Could Be Improved

NCJ Number
Date Published
44 pages
The report describes various deficiencies in the General Service Administration's (GSA) practices for awarding and administering leases and suggests ways to improve such practices.
The study was prompted by a sizable increase in leasing costs in recent years. This increase was due mainly to the additional space leased by the Federal government and rent increases on lease renewals. The review was conducted by the General Accounting Office. Results showed that the required congressional authorizations were not obtained on certain major leases. Further, GSA obtained only limited competition on bids, failed to determine compliance with the Economy Act limitation on rent, and leased space not ready for occupancy. GSA also negotiated uneconomical rental adjustments which benefited lessors more than the government and paid for electricity and other utilities used by nongovernment tenants. To correct these problems, GSA should require periodic reviews of the leasing program to help ensure that existing procedures for obtaining congressional approval are followed. In addition, compliance with the Economy Act and competition for new or continuing leases should be obtained. Moreover, leased space should match agency requirements, alteration work should be properly supervised, and rent reductions should be obtained when leases are amended in the lessor's favor. Furthermore, steps should be taken to ensure that the government does not pay for other users' utilities. In comments on the study, GSA notes that existing procedures are generally sound, but that adherence to these procedures should be obtained. Footnotes, tables, and appendixes presenting agency comments and a list of agency officials responsible for the activities discussed in the report are included. (Author abstract modified)