1631.14 Purchasing real estate with LSC funds.§ 1631.14 Purchasing real estate with LSC funds.
(a) Pre-purchase planning requirements. (1) Before purchasing real estate with LSC funds, a recipient must conduct an informal market survey and evaluate at least three potential equivalent properties.
(2) When a recipient evaluates potential properties, it must consider:
(i) The average annual cost of the purchase, including the costs of a down payment, interest and principal payments on a mortgage financing the purchase; closing costs; renovation costs; and the costs of utilities, maintenance, and taxes, if any;
(ii) The estimated total costs of buying and using the property throughout the mortgage term compared to the estimated total costs of leasing and using a similar property over the same period of time;
(iii) The property's quality; and
(iv) Whether the property is conducive to delivering legal services (e.g. property is accessible to the client population (ADA compliant) and near public transportation, courts, and other government or social services agencies).
(3) If a recipient cannot evaluate three potential properties, it must be able to explain why such evaluation was not possible.
(b) Prior approval. Before a recipient may purchase real estate with LSC funds, LSC must approve the purchase as required by 45 CFR 1630.6 and 1631.3. The request for approval must be in writing and include:
(1) A statement of need, including:
(i) The information obtained and considered in paragraph (a) of this section;
(ii) Trends in funding and program staffing levels in relation to space needs;
(iii) Why the recipient needs to purchase real estate; and
(iv) Why purchasing real estate is reasonable and necessary to performing the LSC grant.
(2) A brief analysis comparing:
(i) The estimated average annual cost of the purchase including the costs of a down payment, interest and principal payments on a mortgage financing the purchase; closing costs; renovation costs; and the costs of utilities, maintenance, and taxes, if any; and
(ii) The estimated average annual cost of leasing or purchasing similar property over the same period of time;
(3) Anticipated financing of the purchase, including:
(i) The estimated total acquisition costs, including capital improvements, taxes, recordation fees, maintenance costs, insurance costs, and closing costs;
(ii) The anticipated breakdown of LSC funds and non-LSC funds to be applied toward the total costs of the purchase;
(iii) The monthly amount of principal and interest payments on debt secured to finance the purchase, if any;
(4) A current, independent appraisal sufficient to secure a mortgage;
(5) A comparison of available loan terms considered by the recipient before selecting the chosen financing method;
(6) Board approval of the purchase in either a board resolution or board minutes, including Board approvals that are contingent on LSC's approval;
(7) Whether the property will replace or supplement existing program offices;
(8) A statement that the property
(i) Currently complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or applicable state law, whichever is stricter, and 45 CFR 1624.5; or
(ii) Will comply with the ADA, any applicable state law, and 45 CFR 1624.5 upon completion of any necessary capital improvements. Such improvements must be completed within 60 days of the date of purchase; and
(9) A copy of a purchase agreement, contract, or other document containing a description of the property and the terms of the purchase.
(c) Property interest agreement. Once LSC approves the purchase, the recipient must enter a written property interest agreement with LSC. The agreement must include:
(1) The recipient's agreement to use the property consistent with § 1631.15;
(2) The recipient's agreement to record, under appropriate state law, LSC's interest in the property;
(3) The recipient's agreement not to encumber the property without prior LSC approval; and
(4) The recipient's agreement not to dispose of the property without prior LSC approval.