Federal Government – The Ideal Tenant? | Citizens Against Government Waste

Federal Government – The Ideal Tenant?

The WasteWatcher

Apparently, the federal government has an aversion to commitment, at least in terms of property.  According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released on January 24, 2008, for the first time in history the federal government is predicted to lease more property than it owns.  Based upon information gathered from the General Services Administration (GSA), which handles many of the government’s leases, from 2003 to 2006, federally-leased space increased from 160 million square feet to 172 million square feet; conversely, federally-owned space decreased from 180 million square feet to 174 million square feet.

The GAO analyzed seven GSA and three United States Postal Service leases.  In more than half of the GSA leases that were examined, “leasing was more costly over the long term than construction – by an estimated $83.3 million over 30 years.”  For example, leases at FBI field offices in Chicago and Tampa “were estimated to cost $40 million and about $7 million more, respectively, than federal construction over 30 years.”

For more than a decade, the GAO has highlighted the financial inefficiency of long-term federal leases and recommended a shift toward ownership.  However, no concrete reform policy has been developed and the government’s long-term leasing problem appears to be worsening.  All landlords should be on the lookout to sign a lease with this easy mark as a tenant.

- Katelynn Eckert