Proposed Amendments to the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970

Gao ID: 110311 September 5, 1979

In a previously issued report, GAO concluded that the Federal Government had not completely met its goal of providing uniform treatment to people displaced from their homes and businesses. It appears that the cause of this situation is the President's lack of authority to promulgate uniform rules and regulations to replace the multiple sets of regulations now in existence. The proposed amendments to the legislation give the President authority to designate one agency to establish a single uniform set of regulations and procedures applicable to all relocation activity supported by Federal funds; provide the designated agency authority to assure the uniform application and interpretation of the regulations; and attempt to clarify the coverage of the present act. Although the portions of the proposed legislation designed to improve the administration of the act work toward achieving its goals, the administration of the act needs to be centralized and improved. GAO suggested that the proposed legislation be expanded to provide the agency designated to direct and oversee relocation activities on a Government-wide basis with authority to waive the regulations. This would provide for unforeseen situations where application of the uniform regulations might produce inappropriate results. The proposed legislation should be clarified to define better the boundaries of the intended coverage and the nature of the benefits intended. GAO encouraged the consideration of issues providing additional benefits to business, and suggested the proposed amendments be changed to use the Consumer Price Index rent component to adjust the present limit for tenants to current levels and for future annual updates. GAO saw no need to increase the minimum payments made to businesses in lieu of actual moving expenses, because the present minimum occasionally results in windfall payments.

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