Postal lessors who are concerned about their investment leased to the Postal Service look to AUSPL for education, training and wise counsel to better manage their post offices. We offer members a unique opportunity to connect with each other, as well as leaders in the postal community.Read More
Gary Phillips, AUSPL President
Watch for a new standard lease which is in the works to replace all existing leases when they expire. For now, the postal service intends to exercise renewal options and continue your existing lease agreement, but that policy may be subject to change. So, be sure to carefully review all renewal documents. When there are no renewal options, the USPS will expect lessors to sign the new lease forms.
The current standard USPS lease document is decades old. Therefore, when the USPS announced a project to develop a new lease agreement and offered to include AUSPL in the process, we were supportive. The stated goal of the project was to develop a lease agreement that more clearly outlines all of the various responsibilities of the lessor and the tenant (the USPS). AUSPL’s legal team proposed extensive revisions, but the “final” draft lease contained almost none of our language. The new lease clarified lessor responsibilities, but virtually all of the changes benefited the Postal Service. Among the new terms which would have been harmful to lessors were new insurance requirements which would have made qualifying insurance difficult or impossible to obtain, increased environmental liability exposure for lessors, easy USPS lease termination in the event of building damage, the transfer to lessors of many USPS maintenance obligations, and very limited USPS restoration responsibility upon lease termination.
The new lease was distributed to USPS real estate offices for use as early as August 1, 2016. But AUSPL mounted an aggressive campaign to delay implementation and, with a little urging from AUSPL’s friends in Congress, the USPS agreed to delay implementation and revisit AUSPL’s previous comments. The AUSPL team is now back at the negotiating table, and there is progress toward revisions that will make the new standard lease more fair for lessors.
Our experience with the new lease project is yet another example of the fact that, when they stand as one, lessors are a strong force that can influence USPS policy. Collectively, our members own about half of all leased buildings, and the network of leased facilities is vital to the ability of the Postal Service to fulfill its universal service obligation. Be sure to visit auspl.com for updates on the new lease project, Postal reform legislation, educational opportunities, and much more. We appreciate your membership and thank you for your support.
Gary D. Phillips
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Las Vegas, NV 89109
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On September 28, 2016, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced Senate Bill 3452 (“S. 3452”), titled the “Post Office Discontinuance Accountability Act of 2016.” The Bill is co-sponsored by Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The Bill has been introduced late in the legislative session and will die if it is not passed into law by January 3, 2017. However, it can in such a case be re-introduced in the new Congress next year.
The objective of the Bill is to establish procedures governing “emergency suspensions” of Post Offices by the USPS. Under the Bill, emergency suspensions are defined to be:
[t]emporary discontinuance of a post office without following discontinuance procedures for the post office, because of (1) a natural disaster, (2) the early, sudden, or unexpected termination of a lease or rental agreement by the lessor when suitable alternate quarters are not immediately available in the same community, (3) lack of qualified personnel to operate the post office, (4) severe or irreparable damage to or destruction of, the post office when suitable alternate quarters are not immediately available in the community, (5) a challenge to the sanctity of the mail, or (6) a lack of adequate measures to safeguard the post office or its revenues. [Italics added.]
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