An incident in which a Washington developer collected rent from both the federal government and a private tenant at the same time for the same office space has prompted the General Services Administration to revise its leasing rules.
The new procedure is supposed to be put in place soon in the aftermath of an apparent snafu that occurred in December when GSA decided to get out of a lease for a block of space at 5225 Wisconsin Ave. NW, just inside the District line, by agreeing to continue paying rent for a year.
The partnership of John F. Donohoe and Sons Inc. and Florenz Ourisman then re-leased part of the space to another tenant.
There was no impropriety involved, according to GSA's commissioner of Public Buildings, Richard O. Haase. But Haase said contract language should be used by GSA leasing specialists that would allow the rent to be paid to the landlord under such an arrangement only until a new tenant is found.
On his way to meetings in Seattle and San Francisco, Haase said Tuesday he would deal with the specifics of the matter when he returned next Monday.
"If the idea is to protect the landlord from an unconscionable loss, then we have done that for a year, but once he gets his tenant, that should be it," Haase said.
The situation occurred because the National Science Foundation moved out of the building two years ago and the government was unable to find new federal tenants or to sublease the space.
Under the original contract, GSA had contracted for space through November 1984. But under the arrangement negotiated by GSA's National Capitol Region leasing team, the agency would pay rent only through next December and the builder would reassume the space for the final year of the contract.
The government's rental bill will amount to $174,768 for 13,502 square feet of office space on the sixth floor. Donohoe spokesmen would not say how much they would earn from leasing about one-third of that space to another tenant.