Survey Manual

427.2 - National Housing Management (Government Furnished Quarters) Program

This chapter replaces all quarters guidance in the Real Property SM 427.1.

DATE:  5/30/2018

OPR: Office of Administration/Office of Management Services

Instruction: This chapter replaces all quarters guidance in the Real Property SM 427.1.

1.  Purpose. This Survey Manual Chapter (SMC) establishes policy governing and implementing housing management at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and describes the housing management responsibilities of USGS officials and personnel. This chapter supplements Department of Interior (DOI) Departmental Manual (DM) Part 400 Chapter 3, Quarters Management and the DOI Housing Management Handbook, which are the primary sources for implementing the USGS housing program. DOI guidance supersedes all USGS guidance when in conflict.

2. Scope. The provisions of this chapter apply to USGS-owned and leased housing for its permanent and temporary workforce, when necessary or appropriate. 

3. Authorities.

A. Title 5, U.S.C. Sections 5911. Federal Employees Quarters Facilities Act.

B. Title 5, U.S.C. Section 5536, Extra Pay for Extra Services Prohibited.

C. OMB Circular No. A-11, Preparation and Submission of Budget Estimates.

D. OMB Circular No. A-45, Revised, Rental and Construction of Government Quarters.

E. OMB Circular No. A-25, Revised (Transmittal Memorandum No. 1), User Charges.

F. OMB Circular No. A-123, Revised, Management’s Responsibility for Internal Control.

G. Public Laws 98-473 and 100-466, requiring rental receipts to be deposited in a special fund for maintenance and operation of housing until expended.

H. DM Part 400 Chapter 3, Quarters Management; and 400 DM, the DOI Housing Management Handbook.

I. Delegation Authority. In Part 205, Chapter 10 of the DM, the Secretary of the Interior delegates real property management authority to the Assistant Secretaries. The Assistant Secretary-Water and Science re-delegated this authority to the Director in 220 DM 5 and in 220 DM 10. SMC 205.12, “Real Property Management,” Appendix A, re-delegates the Director’s real property management authority to other officials at various levels within the bureau.

J. Executive Order 13327, Federal Real Property Asset Management.

K. Federal Property Management Regulations (FPMR) 101-47.5.

L. Public Law 109-58, Energy Policy Act of 2005, and Executive Order 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.

M. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) 1966, United States Code (16 U.S.C. 470f).

4. Policy.  USGS will comply with Federal laws and regulations governing the rental, operation, and management of government-furnished housing; to promote equitable and consistent employee and tenant housing management; and to operate safe, sustainable, and energy efficient housing.

A. USGS relies upon the private sector to provide housing for bureau employees and will provide only the minimum number of housing units needed to support the mission.

B. Housing will be supplied to bureau employees only where housing is necessary for adequate performance of the employee’s job (i.e. fire protection, security), or where there is an inadequate supply of suitable private housing available in the area.

C. The commercial leasing of private sector housing as temporary or primary residences for employees and/or contractors, volunteers, visiting scientists, or any others is prohibited except in cases where natural disasters have destroyed or damaged bureau-owned housing units occupied by bureau employees as primary residences and temporary housing is obtained for those employees. Employees and/or others are responsible for renting, leasing, or purchasing their own housing.

D. Housing will be constructed for bureau employees only when authorized by the Director of the USGS and the DOI Housing Management Coordinator in accordance with guidance in the DOI Housing Management Handbook.

E. Housing will comply with all policy and regulations stated in Section 106 of the NHPA.

F. Rent will be charged for owned or leased housing for each night the housing is occupied and rent receipts will be deposited into housing accounts.

G. Research vessels are not considered housing and have not been approved for use as housing units by the bureau and are not included as housing in the Internet Quarters Management Inventory System (iQMIS).

H. Rental rates and charges for utilities, furnishings, services, and administrative adjustments to the base rental rate will be set and adjusted as authorized by OMB Circular No. A-45, Revised. Rental rates will be adjusted annually using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment in an effort to maintain Government-furnished housing rental rates in approximate balance with the changes which occur in private market rental rates.

I. Utilities, furnishings, and related services shall be provided and billed directly to the tenant by the supplier when feasible. In certain circumstances, especially involving remote locations or seasonal housing, it may not be feasible to require that the tenant of Government-furnished housing deal directly with the supplier. However, remoteness of location or seasonal operations is not sufficient reason by themselves for the bureau to involve itself in providing a service.

J. Temporary housing may be provided to bureau employees who were occupying bureau-owned, Government-furnished housing units as their primary residences at the time of a natural disaster that results in the damage to or destruction of those housing units. The temporary housing will be provided for a period not to exceed 12 months, during which time the bureau will decide on whether the destroyed or damaged housing unit(s) will be permanently replaced or repaired. After 12 months, the displaced employee(s) will be expected to obtain their own housing if the bureau has determined that the housing unit(s) will not be permanently replaced or repaired. Guidance for relocation of employees due to natural disasters is provided in the DOI Housing Management Handbook.

K. Providing bureau-owned, Government-furnished housing units as replacement or temporary housing to employees or others who did not previously occupy Government-furnished housing units and have suffered damage or destruction of the employee’s privately owned home due to a natural disaster is prohibited.

L. To accept a transfer of a housing unit into the bureau inventory, the transferring entity must provide comprehensive condition assessments and environmental and safety inspection documentation completed within the year preceding the transfer request to allow the bureau to determine if acceptance of the housing unit into the bureau inventory is in the best interest of the bureau considering long-term rehabilitation and maintenance issues. The transfer of housing units must follow all Real Property transfer laws, regulations, policies, and guidance. If federal employees who must occupy Government-furnished housing as a condition of employment believe they meet the requirements for tax exemption for rent payments they are, as tenants, solely responsible for reading and understanding the applicable tax laws and providing sufficient documentation to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The tenant employee is responsible for ensuring their Human Resources office records their tax exempt status in all applicable documents, files, and systems including the payroll system which will report earnings and rental payments on the Wage and Tax Statement, W-2.

M. Contractors who are performing a service in direct support of the bureau’s science mission may occupy housing only if the terms of occupancy and the rental agreement have been included in the request for quotes (RFQ) and included in the contract prior to contract award. The contract must stipulate that the housing unit will be provided as Government-furnished equipment (GFE) in accordance with federal procurement regulations and the DOI Solicitor’s Office. The Quarters Assignment Agreement (Form DI-1881) and all attachments must be signed by the contractor and the Government prior to occupancy. All other requirements outlined in the DOI Housing Management Handbook for contractors must be met. The benefiting account paying the rent will transfer funds from a program account to a housing account in accordance with the bureau’s Financial Operating Procedures Handbook (Quarters FOP Chapter 12.6).

N. Contractors who are performing a service in direct support of the bureau’s science mission will be charged the federal employee rental rates in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-45, Revised.

O. Volunteers may occupy housing only if the terms of occupancy have been included in the Volunteer Services Agreement for Natural Resources Agencies (Form OF-301A), and the volunteer agreement is signed by the parties prior to occupancy and is attached to The Quarter Assignment Agreement (Form DI-1881). All other requirements outlined in the DOI Housing Management Handbook for volunteers must be met. The volunteer may stay in the housing unit without charge with the benefitting account paying the rent for each night of occupancy. The benefiting account will transfer funds from a program account to a housing accounting. If a third party such as a university will be paying for the volunteer to occupy the housing unit, the collection of payments will be done in accordance with the bureau’s Financial Operating Procedures Handbook (Quarters FOP Chapter 12.6).

P. Employees of other DOI agencies may occupy bureau housing. An interagency agreement must be provided that contains the terms and rental rates as calculated utilizing iQMIS and is in accordance with the bureau’s Financial Operating Procedures Handbook. In addition, the Permit for Use of Real Property by Federal Agency (GSA Form 1583) must be completed and signed by both parties. The Quarter Assignment Agreement (Form DI-1881) and all attachments must be signed by both parties prior to occupancy. All other requirements outlined in the DOI Housing Management Handbook for DOI agencies must be met. Rent deductions will be withheld from the employee’s paycheck by the employing agency. The bureau will collect the rent from the other agency on a periodic basis agreed to by the parties in the interagency agreement and in accordance with bureau’s FOP Handbook.

Q. Employees of other federal agencies (e.g. outside of the DOI) and non-federal tenants (domestic and foreign) may occupy bureau housing in accordance with the guidance provided in the DOI Housing Management Handbook (See pages 23-25, Section 3.2).

R. Rental of bureau housing units to the general public is prohibited. If a housing unit is no longer being utilized by the science center and will no longer be used as a housing unit on a recurring basis, it must be repurposed for another suitable use or disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended, 40 U.S.C. 471 et seq., 41 CFR Part 102-75, Real Property Disposal, and all other regulations, policies, and guidance governing real property disposals.

S. Employees occupying bureau-owned. Government-furnished housing units as their primary residence may possess personal or government owned and issued firearms in those housing units (but not in dormitories or housing units shared by non-family members) unless prohibited by law or regulation. Government-furnished housing units are not considered federal facilities because employees are not present for the purpose of performing their official duties. Firearms will be properly stored at all times in an unloaded condition in a locked container, cabinet, apparatus, device, storage room, or closet to preclude easy access by intruders, children, or other unauthorized persons. For added safety, an employee should utilize a trigger guard lock or insert a padlock through the open cylinder or frame to render a firearm harmless.

Responsible managers (i.e. the local Center Director, direct supervisor of a tenant with a government issued firearm, the local Housing Manager and Tenant Manager) should ensure compliance with any applicable State laws governing firearms storage and ensure employees with government owned and issued firearms are provided with adequate storage facilities and locking equipment. Ten States (California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, New Jersey, Virginia, and Wisconsin) have laws designed to protect children from firearms. In these States, responsible individuals must either securely store firearms or use a trigger guard lock, or both. Keys or combinations to locks should receive a high level of security attention (See Chapter 10, Section C of the USGS Physical Security Handbook for further guidance on Firearms and Ammunition: https://www2.usgs.gov/usgs-manual/handbook/hb/440-2-h/440-2-h-ch10.html).

T. No overnight guests or pets [unless the pets are service animals that are providing service under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards regulations] will be allowed in Government-furnished dormitories or housing units shared by non-family members.

U. Tenants staying in a single occupancy housing unit or dormitory are permitted to have overnight guests for no more than 14 consecutive nights in a 30 day period.

V. Smoking or vaping in Government-furnished housing is prohibited.

W. Science Center Directors in consultation with the National Housing Officer will determine if pets, livestock, personal gardens, and satellite dishes will be allowed in or at housing units under their management authority. Pets are not allowed in dormitories or housing units shared by non-family members or seasonal housing.

5. Definitions.

A. Housing, quarters, housing unit(s), and rental unit(s). The terms have the same meaning and are defined as housing units owned or leased by the Government for which the Government serves as landlord. These housing units include, but are not limited to, Government-owned or leased single family detached homes, single family plexed homes, dormitories, bunkhouses, apartments, cabins, mobile and modular homes, house trailers, houseboats, and trailer pads.

B. Obsolete Housing. In section 3.4.3A of the DOI Housing Management Handbook, Obsolete Housing is defined as units that are not in a decent, safe and sanitary condition, and therefore are unsuitable for human habitation.

C. Internet Quarters Management Information System (iQMIS) is a computerized housing inventory database and rental rate-setting program.

D. Consumer Price Index - Adjusted Monthly Base Rental Rate (CPI-MBRR) is the rental value of Government-Furnished Housing (GFH) equipped with a refrigerator, water heater, range, and floor and window coverings. Where applicable, the CPI-MBRR reflects exclusions of excess (closed off) and “Official Use” space. The CPI-MBRR is determined by a survey or appraisal analysis of market rental comparables, as described in the Housing Handbook. The CPI-MBRR does not include charges for related services, or administrative deductions.

6. Responsibilities. 

A. The USGS Director is responsible for:

Exercising authority as set forth in the DM and performing Government housing management as authorized by Title 5, U.S.C. Sections 5911 and 5536. These laws have been implemented by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular Numbers A-11 and A-45; 400 DM 3; and management policies.

 

B. The Associate and Regional Directors are responsible for:

Administering the authorities delegated to them in SMC 205.12, Appendix A, as they apply to Quarters for Employee Housing under the Bureau’s Jurisdiction.

 

C. The Chief, Office of Management Services, is responsible for:

(1) Establishing and administering bureau programs, systems, and processes governing the bureau’s housing management and assuring bureau compliance with DOI and other guidance.

(2) Providing federal regulatory updates, bureau management guidelines, updates, and general technical information to the Director, Associate and Regional Directors, and the Science Center Directors.

(3) Reviewing Justifications for New or Replacement Housing (Form DI 1871) for compliance with Departmental policy.

(4) Review and forward requests for the use of Obsolete Housing to the program Associate or Regional Director for approval. Maximum time approval for the use of an obsolete housing unit is for one year.

(5) Appointing an official National Housing Officer responsible for managing the bureau’s housing program.

(6) Ensuring compliance with regulations set forth in OMB Circulars A-11, A-25, and A-45; 400 DM 3; and 400 DM.

D. The National Housing Officer is responsible for:

(1) Implementing the requirements of OMB Circulars A-11, A-45, and A-25; 400 DM 3; 400 DM; and program coordination.

(2) Reviewing and approving Requests for Reconsideration of rental rates and ensuring there is adequate comparable rental data. The Requests for Reconsideration must be supported by at least six comparable rentals in the nearest established community using the Private Rental Survey Form OS-2000 (for houses, apartments, and mobile homes) and OS-2001 (for trailer spaces), if applicable. Bureau realty personnel, contract real estate agents, or appraisers must collect the private comparable rentals or re-verify comparable rentals if the tenant collects them.

(3) Representing the bureau on the National Housing Council and coordinating contact with Departmental Housing officials.

(4) Assisting science centers in the preparation of Justifications for New or Replacement Housing (Form DI 1871) and the Housing Requirements Analysis (HRA) ensuring compliance with the DOI Housing Management Handbook.

(5) Documenting and tracking approved requests for the use of Obsolete Housing.

(6) Responsible for administering the eviction of tenants in coordination with State eviction regulations, the Solicitor’s Office and the Human Capital office if the tenant is a federal employee, and the Office of Acquisitions and Contracts if the tenant is a contractor.

E. Science Center Directors are responsible for:

(1) Ensuring all housing is carefully evaluated for soundness, cost effectiveness, and compliance with applicable local health and safety laws and regulations to maintain housing in good condition.

(2) Including plans for demolishing, acquiring, constructing, and retaining housing in the annual submission of the science center’s Site Specific Asset Business Plans (SSABP) including strategies to eliminate obsolete or unnecessary housing following GSA Excess Real Property Checklist and the USGS SMC 205.12, Appendix A.

(3) Ensuring that housing management staff and facility management staff are informed of all applicable housing laws and codes and understand and implement those laws and codes.

 

(4) Ensuring that tenants are notified of all appropriate housing issues identified in the latest Condition Assessment and/or annual inspection by the Collateral Duty Safety Officer (CDSO) and Collateral Duty Environmental Protection Coordinator (CDEPC), including health hazards (e.g. lead paint, radon, asbestos, etc.), prior to the tenant taking occupancy of the housing.

(5) Appointing science center Housing and Tenant Managers that implement the science center’s housing program on a day-to-day basis and ensuring Housing and Tenant Managers receive training in the responsibilities required of Housing and Tenant Managers.

(6) Developing a written Quarters Assignment Agreement (See pages 97 and 98 of the DOI Housing Handbook) for the science center and furnishing the agreement to the National Housing Officer.

(7) Providing a written justification documenting the material requirement for contractors to occupy Government-furnished houses.

(8) Completing and recommending for approval by the Associate or Regional Director, Justifications for New or Replacement Housing (Form DI 1871) and the Housing Requirements Analysis (HRA), and sending requests through the bureau’s Space Action Waiver Approval Process coordinating with the servicing Branch of Management Services office and the National Housing Officer.

(9) Completing and recommending for approval by the Associate or Regional Directors, Certificates of Required Occupancy (Form DI 1872).

(10) Notifying the servicing Human Resources office of any position that requires an employee to live in Government-furnished housing as a condition of employment.

(11) Responsible for administering the eviction of tenants in coordination with State eviction regulations, the Solicitor’s Office and the Human Capital office if the tenant is a federal employee, and the Office of Acquisitions and Grants if the tenant is a contractor.

(12) Complying with the bureau’s Integrated Systematic Approach to Occupational Safety and Health Program Management as it relates to housing, to include compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency requirements. Annual inspections and documentation will be made by the local CDSO and CDEPC in accordance with Chapter 5 and 6 of the USGS 445-2-H or as described in Section III of the "Process Level Internal Control Assessment Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Program Management."

(13) Determining if pets, livestock, personal gardens, and satellite dishes will be allowed in permanent Government-furnished housing units (i.e. single-family units) under their management authority. Pets are not allowed in dormitories or housing units shared by non-family members, or seasonal housing.

(14) Establishing and maintaining housing rental accounts in the Financial and Business Management System (FBMS) including collecting and verifying rent receipts, expending the rent collected for housing costs, and carrying over excess housing funds from year-to-year until expended.

(15) Determining what appliances associated with rental housing may be provided in the housing units under their management authority in accordance with the DOI Housing Management Handbook, Paragraph 3.3.2, Government provided Furnishings.

(16) Maintaining, inspecting, operating, altering, repairing, and rehabilitating Government housing in accordance with applicable laws and codes for health and safety; environmental compliance; accessibility; sustainability, seismic safety; historical status; fire safety; and building codes and standards where the housing is located.

(17) Operating housing in an energy efficient manner by installing energy efficient appliances and equipment when replacing or retrofitting appliances and equipment in accordance with the bureau’s Guiding Principles for Sustainability.

F. The Science Center Housing and Tenant Managers are responsible for:

(1) Providing daily management and administrative oversight for tenant issues including creating and delivering rental agreements at least 30 days before the rental adjustment becomes effective; arranging payroll deductions; depositing rental receipts for non-federal tenants such as contractors and volunteers; checking all tenants and visitors into and out of housing units using the iQMIS housing database; ensuring tenants abide by rental agreement terms, documenting annually, or as tenants change, housing unit inventories and associated services and administrative adjustments; and responding to tenant inquiries about rent and maintenance issues.

(2) Updating and certifying annual documentation for rent deductions made in iQMIS due to a lack of amenities, loss of privacy, excess or inadequate size, excess heating and cooling costs, and poor condition.

(3) Providing required documentation to tenants on health hazards (i.e. lead paint, radon, asbestos, etc.).

(4) Ensuring compliance with Departmental procedures for the establishment, implementation, and collection of rent.

(5) Notifying the National Housing Officer of unresolved tenant or payroll issues and other circumstances that require additional input or determinations for timely resolutions.

(6) Maintaining, storing, and disposing of tenant records such as rental agreements, correspondence, and other records in accordance with the bureau’s Records Management Program, and ensuring that PII information is created, stored, protected, maintained, and disposed of in accordance with the bureau’s Records Management Program.

G. Chief, Office of Human Resources, is responsible for:

(1) Ensuring that when an employee must occupy Government-furnished housing as a condition of employment that the requirement is documented in the SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action; the position description; and the vacancy/job announcement. This means that the employee is required to accept housing in order to properly perform the duties of his/her position. This requirement is based on his/her profession, position, special training, or required special abilities and is a practical necessity for carrying out the work of the position.

(2) Ensuring the written notification offering employment or confirming selection includes a statement regarding the requirement, or potential thereof, for having to occupy Government-furnished housing as a condition of employment.

(3) Ensuring that unions with exclusive recognition are contacted and collective bargaining impact and implementation obligations are satisfied in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 71.

(4) Certifying IRS tax exemption eligibility in the payroll deduction system, which means all rental payments are exempt from income and OASDI/Medicare taxes. For a tenant who must occupy Government-furnished housing to qualify for tax exemption for rent, the tenant must meet all the following IRS criteria (see 26 U.S.C. 119):

(A) The housing must be furnished for the convenience of the USGS, not the employee;

(B) The employee must accept such housing as a condition of employment; and

(C) The housing must be on bureau-owned or leased land.

7. Expiration Date. This chapter must be reviewed biennially, or as needed.

 

/s/ Roseann Gonzales                                                                     May 30, 2018
__________________________________________                        __________
Roseann Gonzales                                                                                       
Associate Director for Administration