15 FAM 240 


(CT:OBO-102;   07-20-2020)
(Office of Origin:  OBO)


(CT:OBO-102;   07-20-2020)

15 FAM 241.1  Designated Residences: Chief of Mission/Principal Officer (COM/PO), Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM), Consul General (CG), U.S. Representative to an International Organization Residence

(CT:OBO-102;   07-20-2020)

a. If the chief of mission/principal officer (COM/PO), deputy chief of mission (DCM), consul general (CG), or U.S. representative to an international organization is temporarily absent, only members of his/her family may occupy the official residence, unless the COM/PO (or the U.S. representative to an international organization) specifically authorizes otherwise.

b. When a COM/PO, DCM, CG, or U.S. representative to an international organization is transferred and a replacement has not arrived at post, the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) must grant specific authorization for a substitute occupancy.  Otherwise, no one may occupy the official residence.  With the approval of the regional security officer (RSO) and the single real property manager (SRPM), domestic staff employees may remain in the residence during such periods.  With OBO’s approval, a U.S. citizen direct-hire employee (USDH) may be assigned to occupy the premises to safeguard it and ensure proper maintenance. 

c.  After informing OBO, the chargé d’affaires or acting U.S. representative to an international organization may, if they deem it in the best interests of the U.S. Government, allow high-level official visitors to occupy the official residence during periods when the quarters are vacant.

15 FAM 241.2  Other Residential Quarters

(CT:OBO-102;   07-20-2020)

a. When an employee will be away from post for more than ten days, they must give advance written notification to the SRPM, the management officer (for State-controlled property), the executive officer (for USAID employees only), and the RSO/post security officer (PSO).  The notification must specify:

(1)  The length of absence;

(2)  Whether someone will occupy the residential quarters during any portion of this period (whether U.S. Government-owned or leased, or Living Quarters Allowance/Overseas Housing Allowance (LQA/OHA)); and

(3)  Whether someone will make periodic checks on the residence.

    Employees are not authorized—under any circumstances or for any length of time—to rent, trade, or otherwise exchange U.S. Government-provided living quarters for similar accommodations in another location, or for other consideration.

b. If an employee under LQA/OHA lets or sublets a portion of their privately-leased or personally-owned quarters, they must report the amount received from the sub-lessee in box 24 of Form SF-1190, Foreign Allowances Application, Grant and Report (or other similar agency document).  It will be deducted from any allowance granted to the employee for that period of time.  Employees are responsible for reporting the arrangements as required in 12 FAM 275.

c.  With the approval of the RSO/PSO, domestic staff residing in an employee’s quarters may occupy their usual quarters during the employee’s absence.  During the employee’s absence, non-family members who are not U.S. citizens (other than previously approved domestic staff) may not occupy residential quarters without express authorization from the RSO and SRPM (for State-controlled property), or USAID’s executive officer (for USAID-controlled property).  Post may, for security reasons, disallow temporary occupancy arrangements made by the employee.  The employee is responsible for any damage caused by caretakers or domestic staff.


(CT:OBO-102;   07-20-2020)

a. When housing is included in a contract or third-country national (TCN) employee’s compensation, the contract should contain a specified amount to enable the employee to acquire privately leased quarters.  In cases in which private leases are not practicable, contract staff under COM authority can participate in the leased housing pool.  If clarification or guidance is necessary, post should seek OBO authorization and guidance to fund and lease quarters.

b. Unless OBO has granted authorization and funding for leasing, U.S. Government-owned residential quarters (except for quarters designated as domestic staff quarters) may not be assigned to, or occupied by, individuals who are not USDH employees of the U.S. Government.

c.  USAID only:  USAID sometimes contracts with TCN professionals via personal service contracts.  In these instances, the TCN is considered to be a U.S. Government employee. 

·         If USAID recruits a TCN from outside the host country, USAID will normally provide funds for housing and the contract will specify that the U.S. Government will provide housing. 

·         If post operates under an LQA program for all employees, USAID TCN employees will obtain housing in the same manner.

·         If post operates under a U.S. Government-leased housing program, USAID TCN employees will be assigned housing per the regulations in 15 FAM 200 and post’s housing policies.

15 FAM 243  GUESTS

(CT:OBO-34;   10-18-2013)

Employees or their eligible family members (EFMs) may accommodate guests in their U.S. Government quarters as they would in their own homes.

15 FAM 244  DOMESTIC staff

(CT:OBO-70;   04-25-2018)

Post personnel may house full time domestic staff in their U.S. Government-held quarters if approved by the RSO/PSO, and space is available.  However, this is a privilege, not a right.  Providing space for domestic staff is not considered when determining employees’ residential space allowances.  When quarters are available, no funding is provided for furniture, furnishings, and equipment (FF&E).  Post interagency housing boards (IAHBs) should develop guidelines on housing domestic staff following local conditions and customs.


15 FAM 245.1  Occupants/Personal Guests

(CT:OBO-102;   07-20-2020)

a. If an occupant (or their personal guests) abuses, damages, or misuses structures, grounds, FF&E, or OBO cultural heritage items and artwork, it will not be considered normal wear and tear, and the occupant/employee will be held financially responsible.  The SRPM shall provide photographic documentation—and any other relevant information—illustrating the extent of damage to the funding authority to determine the full cost of repair or replacement (including commodity, shipping, make-ready labor to prepare the residence for the next occupant, and/or, if applicable, restoration costs if the lease is expiring or being terminated).  The funding authority does not calculate cost based on a pro-rated evaluation of the condition of the structure, grounds, or FF&E, but rather on the full cost of the items or services required to be replaced or repaired.  14 FAM 416.5-3, Employee Liability, does not apply to OBO/OPS/CH property and OBO/OPS/RDF-funded FF&E.

b. The funding authority must give advance written approval for any alterations, renovations, or construction undertaken (a) solely for the particular occupants’ (or their personal guests’) benefit and (b) at U.S. Government expense on U.S. Government-held property. Unless the funding authority explicitly requests otherwise, the property must be restored to its original condition upon vacating the quarters.

c.  OBO/OPS/RDF does not authorize unnecessary changes to the interior design of representational residences of the Ambassador, DCM, CG, and PO to accommodate the personal tastes of new occupants, to include the removal or sale of FF&E.

d. OBO/OPS/CH does not authorize alterations to heritage properties included on the OBO List of Significant Properties to accommodate the personal tastes or effects of new occupants, including the removal or sale of heritage objects.


15 FAM 245.2  Pets

(CT:OBO-102;   07-20-2020)

a. Keeping a pet in U.S. Government-held housing units is a privilege, not a right.  The SRPM and the USAID Executive Officer may prohibit pets on U.S. Government-held premises because of nuisance, health, damage to U.S. Government property, infringement of quiet enjoyment, or other reasons. Posts’ interagency housing boards (IAHB) should develop guidelines on pets following local conditions and customs.

b. Pet damage to structures, grounds, FF&E, and OBO cultural heritage items and artwork is not normal wear and tear; such damage is the personal financial responsibility of the employee.  The SRPM shall provide photographic documentation—and any other relevant information—illustrating the extent of the damage to the funding authority for determining full costs of repair or replacement (including commodity, shipping, and make-ready labor to prepare the residence for the next occupant).  OBO does not calculate value based on a prorated evaluation of the condition of the structure, grounds, or FF&E, but on the full value of the items or services required to replace or repair them.  14 FAM 416.5-3, Employee Liability, does not apply to OBO/OPS/CH property and OBO/OPS/RDF-funded FF&E.  14 FAM 416.5-5, Employee Appeal, provides an avenue for those who feel they have been punitively assessed damages.

c.  The U.S. Government will not pay for any alteration, renovation, or construction on U.S. Government-held property solely to benefit pets.  The funding authority, SPRM, or USAID Executive Officer (for USAID) must give written permission for any alteration, renovation, or construction done at personal expense.  The occupant (not their parent agency) must restore the property upon vacating the quarters.


15 FAM 246.1  Hobbies

(CT:OBO-102;   07-20-2020)

In providing residential units for its employees, the U.S. Government does not desire to restrict the occupant’s right of quiet enjoyment of personal interests, activities, and hobbies.  However, it reserves the right to prohibit or limit the pursuit of those private activities that (a) infringe upon the rights of others to enjoy space or quiet, (b) inflict an abnormal strain or overload on the residential unit’s grounds, structures, or utility services, (c) result in environmental contamination of the living space or grounds, or (d) constitute an increased fire and life safety risk, or continuing operating/maintenance cost to the U.S. Government.  Where meter readings indicate that a hobby has increased consumption of energy, the occupant must pay that portion of the utility costs attributable to the hobby.  The occupant is responsible for the installation costs of any equipment, as well as for returning the property to former condition.

15 FAM 246.2  Businesses

(CT:OBO-102;   07-20-2020)

a. The Department fully supports the desire of many spouses and family members to secure employment while posted abroad.  Spouses and family members of employee occupants of U.S. Government-held or Living Quarters Allowance/Overseas Housing Allowance (LQA/OHA) housing may use the housing to conduct private business for personal financial gain, provided that such conduct conforms to this section’s provisions in paragraphs b or c.

b. Such housing may be used for activities that foster cultural understanding between the embassy community and the local community, and/or provide a benefit to mission employees or families, as determined by the COM.

c.  Such housing may be used for commercial activities if approved by the COM. In the case of an ambassador’s residence, the relevant regional bureau’s Assistant Secretary must receive a written request and grant approval.  The COM or Assistant Secretary must approve such requests where:

(1)  The proposed activity would meet the following standards (as set forth in 3 FAM 4125):

(a)  It would not violate any host-country law;

(b)  It would not require or entail an unacceptably broad waiver of diplomatic privileges or immunities (as determined by the COM or Assistant Secretary); and

(c)  The COM or Assistant Secretary determines it would not otherwise damage the interests of the United States;

(2)  The COM or Assistant Secretary determines the proposed activity is (a) appropriate, (b) takes into account local customs and norms, post security, and other relevant considerations, and (c) whether the activity would adversely affect the work of post;

(3)  The proposed activity does not require substantial use of the housing by non-U.S. Government employees and their families.  For example, retail sales from a residence would not be permitted, but individual piano lessons or tutoring may be allowed in appropriate cases.  Or, in the case of the Ambassador’s residence, the proposed activity does not involve any use of the residence by non-U.S. Government employees and their families;

(4)  If the Management Officer at post determines there is a significant increase in liability risk to the Department, the occupant is required to obtain liability insurance. The insurance must cover the proposed use and the presence of non-U.S. Government employees (and their families) in the residence;

(5)  The COM or Assistant Secretary determines the spouse’s/family member’s proposed commercial activities would not create a conflict of interest, or the appearance thereof, with the U.S. Government employee's duties; and

(6)  The person conducting the commercial activities provides assurances that the business will comply with all relevant local legal requirements, e.g., licenses, work permits, and similar regulations.

d. If any commercial activity approved under either paragraphs b or c of this section causes environmental contamination of the living space or grounds, or increased fire and life safety risk or operating/continuing maintenance costs to the U.S. Government, the occupant must pay the increased costs attributable to such use.  The occupant is responsible for the installation cost of any equipment, as well as for returning the property to its former condition.  Additionally, under no circumstances will the COM or Assistant Secretary approve a commercial activity requiring the regular presence of the spouse’s/family member’s employees in the residence, notwithstanding paragraphs b and c of this section.  Finally, the COM or the Assistant Secretary may, at any time, revoke approval of a commercial activity approved pursuant to this section if the activity no longer meets any of the above standards.


(CT:OBO-70;   04-25-2018)

a. When any employee occupying U.S. Government-held quarters is scheduled to depart post permanently, the occupant must surrender the premises on or before the last day of duty at post.  The COM/PO, or the U.S. representative to an international organization, may make exceptions to this requirement, in which case the occupant must surrender the premises within a specified time.

b. Posts must establish procedures for USDHs and contract individuals furnished with U.S. Government property and services to clear post.  The procedures, which are applicable to all agencies at post, will address the requirement for departing employees to arrange for a residence inspection and inventory not more than ten days before departure, and preferably after employees finish packing their household and personal effects.  The procedures will also specify that U.S. Government transportation requests (GTRs) or transportation tickets will not be issued until the checkout clearance is complete.

c.  The SRPM or the USAID Executive Officer (in the case of USAID properties), or their designees, must inspect the premises with the occupant, and note any items and related charges for which the occupant will be held responsible.  The employee takes personal responsibility for damages to structures, grounds, or furnishings caused by pets, hobbies, the employee’s neglect or negligence, or deliberate acts or other unusual actions of the employee occupant, family, servants, staff, guests, or other members of the employee’s household.  Post housing guidelines will clearly describe the extent and nature of this inspection.

d. Posts are authorized to institute uniform cleaning deposit procedures (suspense deposits abroad) as determined useful and necessary, with the agreement of post IAHB and the SRPM (or the USAID Executive Officer for USAID properties).

e. Do not issue GTRs or transportation tickets until the occupant has either (a) paid the amounts owed for damaged or lost property in full, (b) acknowledged them (along with their parent agency) in writing, or (c) appealed them according to the procedures in 14 FAM 416.5-5.


(CT:OBO-102;   07-20-2020)

The most current memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Department of State and the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), see 12 FAM Exhibit 431 (B), governs the provision of residences for Marine Security Guard (MSG) personnel. It states:

(1)  It is State policy to include Marine Security Guard Residences (MSGRs) on all new embassy/consulate compounds (NEC/NCC).  MSGRs for active detachments and space for potential future MSGRs (for missions without an active detachment) must be included on all future NEC/NCC projects.  State’s Under Secretary for Management (M) must approve any deviation from this policy;

(2)  Location of off-compound MSGRs:  Terrorist threats, mob violence and other crisis contingencies require MSG personnel to respond quickly.  If an off-compound MSGR is required, post must select a residence within a three-mile radius of the embassy/consulate to maximize effective response capability by the MSGs.  The RSO, post’s emergency action committee, Diplomatic Security’s Office of Overseas Protective Operations (DS/IP/OPO/MSG) and the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group (MCESG) region commander must approve the location and residence.  If a suitable MSGR is unavailable within this three-mile radius, DS/IP/OPO and the Commanding Officer (CO) MCESG must approve the MSGR.  All off-compound MSGRs must comply with the security standards delineated in 12 FAH-6.  To obtain an exception, missions should submit their requests using the guidelines in 12 FAH-6 H-133. DS/IP/OPO and the MCESG must approve all exception requests;

(3)  The Department will provide, with reimbursement from USMC Operations and Maintenance (O&M) (5732 funds), fully furnished Government-owned or leased  residences for all single enlisted Marines, including those assigned to MCESG region headquarters.  Any request for new MSGRs must make every effort to ensure full compliance with 12 FAM and 15 FAM 800 provisions;

(4)  Single, enlisted Marines within detachments will normally live together in a fully furnished MSGR.  These residences will, to the extent possible, be within available resources and established priorities.  They will include adequate single bedrooms with sufficient clothing storage, with additional bedroom space (where possible) to accommodate potential detachment growth or temporary increases in detachment staffing.  The common living spaces will be sufficient in size to accommodate the entire detachment, as well as a reasonable number of guests.  On-compound and off-compound purpose-built MSGRs will adhere to Department standards, which are delineated in the MOA.  If the off-compound MSGRs cannot meet—or be made to meet—the prescribed standards because of operational security requirements or the environment’s physical limitations, the mission can request an exception to the standards in the MOA from the MSG Branch Chief and the MCESG CO.  However, missions must first consult with the RSO and other post officials before submitting their exception requests;

(5)  State will provide, with reimbursement from USMC O&M (5732 funds), all routine maintenance and repair (M&R) not covered in the lease agreement for all operating leases and housing pool residences and utilities for the MSGR.  (See 15 FAM 620 and 15 FAM 800.)  Building Operating Expenses (BOE) as defined in 15 FAM 121 to include grounds care for MSGRs for government-owned, capital leased, and operating leased residences occupied by Marine Corps Embassy Security Group (MCESG) personnel are charged to post-held 5732 funds with the exception of those areas specifically identified in the MOA.  Additionally, State will provide all furnishings, supplies, and equipment necessary to support the MSGR, e.g., beds, tables, chairs, cleaning supplies, janitorial equipment, and light bulbs (see MOA Annex A for a complete list of support/service items for the MSGR and the appropriate funding sources);

(6)  State will provide fully furnished, separate residences within established space standards for:

(a) Detachment Commanders and table-of-organization (T/O)-designated Assistant Detachment Commanders who are staff noncommissioned officers;

(b) MCESG Region Commanders; and

(c) MCESG region headquarters personnel (staff sergeant and above);  

(7)  Single, enlisted Marines assigned as clerks to MCESG’s region command headquarters will be assigned separate residences from the MSG detachment, and receive the same type of basic flatware, glassware, china, kitchen utensils, cookware, bed linens, and towels provided to the consolidated MSGRs.

NOTE: At all furnished posts, MSG personnel with separate residences  subscribe to post’s furniture and appliance pool (FAP) program and receive the same FFA&E as other employees in the housing pool; see 6 FAH-5 H-512.5, subparagraph e(5).


15 FAM 249.1  Transient Housing

(CT:OBO-102;   07-20-2020)

a. At the SRPM’s discretion, temporarily vacant (not to exceed 90 days without prior OBO authorization) GO or leased residential properties may be used for transient housing.  With prior authorization from OBO and post’s International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS) council, the SRPM may also use residential GO or leased properties that are vacant over 90 days as transient housing.

b. The sponsoring office/agency of (a) personnel assigned to post who are waiting for their permanently-assigned quarters, (b) TDY personnel, and (c) visitors and other personnel, will reimburse the appropriate entity for the entire prorated cost of using transient housing.  Alternatively, reimbursements will also come through the person’s travel orders. These costs include, but are not limited to: base rent, building operating expenses, utilities, cleaning, and make-ready expenses.

c.  TDY and WAE personnel (i.e. When Actually Employed status employees are normally retired Civil Service or Foreign Service re-employed annuitant rehired on an intermittent appointment) who are filling vacant NSDD-38 positions may be assigned residences in the housing pool.  There is no need for waivers if their stay exceeds 90 days.  All costs and ICASS counts associated with this use will be funded as if a permanent employee were occupying the quarters.

d. If the housing would otherwise be vacant, post may decide whether interns may occupy transient housing.  Posts should not leave housing vacant for longer than needed solely to house interns.  If post should use transient housing in this way, the office/agency sponsoring the intern would fund the transient housing costs.

    Please see 12 FAM 420 for more information on security directives that apply to interns under Chief of Mission authority.

15 FAM 249.2  Temporary Duty (TDY) Housing

15 FAM 249.2-1  Definition

(CT:OBO-70;   04-25-2018)

Temporary duty (TDY) quarters are housing units specifically designated for use by government personnel (from a single or multiple agencies) needing temporary lodging at post.  TDY quarters are expected to be self-sustaining based on the income derived from occupants.

15 FAM 249.2-2  Authorization

(CT:OBO-70;   04-25-2018)

a. State-controlled property only:  Designate GO or leased properties as TDY quarters if they are (a) in excess of post’s housing requirements, or (b) unsuitable for permanent housing or other official use.  If post has no surplus GO quarters, post’s ICASS council may authorize leased units for TDY housing.

b. State-controlled property only:  Posts wishing to operate TDY quarters must request prior authorization from OBO/PRE/RPL/PM.  This authorization will be limited to a maximum of two years, at which time post must seek renewed authorization.  The original application, and any requests for renewals, must contain a complete justification—including estimated operating expenses—and an updated rate schedule. (See 15 FAM 249.2-3.) OBO authorization is not required if a sole, non-State agency funds the entire cost of the lease and all associated operating expenses.  

c.  State-controlled property only: OBO may allow for exceptions to the above-mentioned application and eligibility criteria, provided appropriate stakeholders are consulted and concurrence is received.

d. State-controlled property only:  With the prior approval of OBO, posts may delegate operation of TDY quarters to an employee association under a license agreement (see 6 FAM 500).  Leased units that an employee association operates as TDY quarters will be funded directly by the association.  In posts where this is not possible, seek OBO guidance.

e. USAID-controlled property only:  USAID missions must consult with the Overseas Management Division, Bureau for Management, USAID/Washington (USAID/W - M/MS/OMD) with regard to operating lodging facilities (guest houses) either directly by USAID, or through a contract or license agreement with a local contractor or employee association.  USAID's Automated Directives System (ADS) Chapter 526 contains guidance on the establishment and management of USAID guest houses.  6 FAM 540 governs mission use by employee associations.

15 FAM 249.2-3  Rate Schedule for Transient Quarters

(CT:OBO-88;   06-18-2019)

a. Except for Presidential Management Fellows and participants in similar high-level programs, occupants must pay fees to use post-held TDY quarters.  Personnel assigned to post who are waiting to move into their permanently assigned quarters, and TDY and/or WAE personnel filling vacant NSDD-38 positions, are not exempt from paying fees for using TDY quarters.

b. The charge for using post-operated TDY quarters should be commensurate with the costs of providing such quarters (such as base rent, cost of furniture, building operating expenses, utilities, basic phone, internet, cable TV, cleaning services, lodging management, make-ready expenses, etc.).  The rate should be no more than the lodging portion of the per diem amount and must be approved by OBO.  OBO will evaluate the rate every two years when post submits an authorization renewal request for OBO approval.  If warranted, the rate may be adjusted earlier by submitting an authorization renewal request to OBO. 

c.  The charge for using GO transient lodgings must be commensurate with the costs of maintaining such quarters, including furniture costs.  It must be set at not more than the lodging portion of the per diem rate.  The rate will be evaluated every two years when post submits an authorization renewal request for OBO approval.  If warranted, the rate may be adjusted earlier by submitting an authorization renewal request to OBO.

d. 6 FAM 500 governs the charges for units operated by an employee association.

e. TDY quarters funded and occupied by personnel from a sole agency do not need to charge a daily fee if the agency agrees to pay the (a) entire base rent, and (b) all associated operating costs for the full period authorized to operate the TDY quarters.

15 FAM 249.2-4  Reporting and Proceeds

(CT:OBO-70;   04-25-2018)

a. Posts operating post-managed TDY quarters must provide OBO with a summary of revenues and expense during the fiscal year for each TDY quarter. The revenue and expenses summaries are due by December 31, or three months after the expiration of the authorization (if it is not extended).

b. Posts operating TDY quarters managed by an employee association must comply with the financial reporting requirements and timeframes outlined by the Office of Commissary and Recreation Affairs (A/OPR/CR) in 6 FAM 557.  In addition, posts must provide OBO with a summary of their audited financial statements for all TDY quarters each calendar year, due no later than April 1 of the following calendar year.

c.  Using appropriate fiscal procedures, posts must reimburse OBO for any leasehold funds provided through either the annual budget submission process or credit proceeds, using the latest cable guidance delivered to posts:

(1)  GO units and Capital Leases - 19X05350004, Allotment 1030, Obligation 1030+Y+Property ID, Function 7480, Revenue Source Code AAAQ,

(2)  Operating Leases funded by State-OBO Program - 19X05350003, Allotment 1030, Obligation 1030+Y+Property ID, Function 7480, Revenue Source Code AAAQ,

(3)  Operating Leases funded by OBO-ICASS - 19X4519.1.  

15 FAM 249.2-5  Presidential Management Fellows and Interns

(CT:OBO-70;   04-25-2018)

Do not assess charges for the use of post-held TDY quarters by Department Presidential Management Fellows and participants in similar high-level programs.  TDY quarters should not be used to lodge interns.  (See 15 FAM 249.1 paragraph d, Transient Housing, and 15 FAM 249.2-3, Rate Schedule for Transient Quarters.) However, individuals are still liable for any damage they, or their pets, cause to the units.