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371 FW 4
Challenging Quarters Rental Rates

Supersedes 371 FW 4, FWM 259, 06/28/96

Date:  October 26, 2010

Series: Facility Management

Part 371: Quarters Management

Originating Office: Division Contracting and Facilities Management

 

 

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4.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter explains how employees who live in Government furnished quarters may request a reconsideration of or appeal of their rental rates.

 

4.2 When may a tenant request a reconsideration of or appeal of quarters rental rates?

 

A. A tenant may request a reconsideration of rental rates when he/she believes that:

 

(1) The Project Leader/supervisor has reported incorrect inventory data on quarters, or

 

(2) The Regional Quarters Officer (RQO)) established rental rates that do not meet Departmental guidelines or those contained in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A‑45, Rental and Construction of Government Quarters.

 

B. We describe appeal rights in the “General Terms and Conditions” on the reverse side of Form DI 1881, Quarters Assignment Agreement, and in Form DI 1882, Notice of Rental Adjustment.

 

4.3 How does the Service establish base rental rates? All Department of the Interior quarters have their base rent set by an Interdepartmental Regional Survey process. Contractors for the National Business Center Quarters Office (NBCQO) gather information for comparable rentals in four housing categories (i.e., single family houses, apartments, mobile homes, and trailer pads) in established communities closest to concentrations of quarters in the survey area. Officials at the NBCQO statistically analyze comparables to derive rent formulas.

 

4.4 How does the Service explain to tenants how it establishes a rent amount, and what does a tenant do if he/she thinks the data on which the rent is based is incorrect?

 

A. The Service:

 

(1) Notifies the tenant of his/her initial rent and any subsequent rent changes by providing a package of forms that includes a printout of the quarters inventory data. The printout shows itemized rent adjustments based on inventory data from an established area.

 

(2) Provides a Rent Computation Schedule, Form DI 1880 to the tenant that includes itemized administrative adjustments and appliance, furniture, and utility charges and credits.

 

B. If a tenant believes that any of the inventory data affecting the rent or adjustments, charges, and credits are incorrect, he/she may ask the Project Leader/supervisor to correct the matter. The Project Leader/supervisor must send corrections to the RQO. The RQO determines if the rent is accurate using the floor plans available in the Regional realty or engineering files.

 

(1) If the RQO confirms an inaccuracy in the rent, the RQO must recompute the rent based on the revised inventory data.

 

(2) If the error is because the floor plans are not current or available, the RQO must get floor plans from the station and recompute the rent.

 

(3) If the recomputation results in a lower rental rate, we refund the difference to the employee. We calculate the difference by going back to the last rent change notice that included inventory data.

 

(4) If the recomputation results in a higher rental rate, the tenant must begin paying the higher rate when the next rent payment is due.

 

4.5 What can a tenant do if a rate significantly exceeds comparable local rents? If a tenant believes that the rental rates in the survey area are significantly higher (10 percent or more) than the local rates of housing, he/she may file a written Request for Reconsideration. This request must be accompanied by Private Rental Survey Form OS-2000 (for houses, apartments, and mobile homes) and OS-2001 (for trailer spaces), if applicable, that list at least three comparable rental units from the nearest established community. The tenant or his/her Project Leader/supervisor sends the written request and the form(s) to the RQO.

 

A. The RQO computes the Regional survey rent for the comparable housing. If the Regional survey rental rates are significantly higher (10 percent or more) than the comparables the tenant submits, the RQO must reverify the comparables the tenant submitted and collect other private comparables from the nearest established community.

 

B. The RQO should ask Regional Realty personnel, contract real estate agents, or professional appraisers to independently collect comparables.

 

C. The RQO computes the new comparables for the Regional survey rent and compares them to the actual rent. If these comparables confirm that the rents in the nearest established community are significantly lower than the Regional survey rents, the RQO must send Private Rental Survey Form OS-2000 and OS-2001 (if applicable) and all analysis of comparables to the National Quarters Officer (NQO). If the NQO concurs with the RQO’s conclusion, the NQO sends the comparables and analysis to the Departmental Quarters Manager with a recommendation that the rates for that particular established community be lowered.

 

(1) If the Departmental Quarters Managers agrees that the rents should be lowered, he/she informs the Service of the adjustment.

 

(2) If the Departmental Quarters Manager disagrees, he/she tells the NQO about the decision and the employee's right to appeal. The NQO ensures that the employee receives written notice about the decision, his/her appeal rights, and the procedures for initiating such an appeal.

 

(3) Employees must send written appeals within 30 days of the receipt of a decision to:

 

The Office of Hearings and Appeals

801 N. Quincy. Street, MS 300-QC

                        Arlington, VA 22203

 

D. See the Department’s Housing Management Handbook for more information about the appeal of rental rates.

 

 


For information on the content of this chapter, contact the Division of Contracting and Facilities Management. For more information about this Web site, contact Krista Bibb in the Division of Policy and Directives Management.  


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