37.2020 Four-year lease.

No lease of real property owned or controlled by the Government may be entered into for a period longer than 4 years unless such lease contains a provision satisfactory to the lessor whereby the rentals or lease price is adjusted upward or downward at intervals to adjust for inflation. For this purpose, recognized indexes appropriate to measure increases in value of real property, maintained by federal government agencies, shall be made applicable by regulation adopted under the provision of the Administrative Procedure Act, 4.1001 et seq.

History: 1978, PL 15-69; readopted 1980, 16-88 § 1; 1982, PL 17-31 § 1.

Case Notes:

Where the Government had drafted a lease document inadvertently omitting a provision required by statute for periodic adjustment of the rent, and the lessee had no objection to such a provision, the lease would be reformed or construed to include the required provision rather than declared invalid. A.S.C.A. § 37.2020. American Samoa Government v. Samoa Aviation, Inc., 11 A.S.R.2d 144 (1989).

Territorial Government has the statutory right to enforce against its lessee a provision satisfactory to it whereby rentals are adjusted at intervals for inflation, although such a clause was inadvertently omitted from the lease, but has no right to evict the lessee on account of such omission. American Samoa Government v. Samoa Aviation, Inc. (Mem), 13 A.S.R.2d 65. A.S.C.A. § 37.2020 (1989).

Lease agreement omitting inflation adjustment clause required by statute would be enforced, after modification to include such a clause, where: (1) the statute did not provide that contracts omitting the required term should be absolutely void; (2) the contract complied with all applicable laws and regulations but one; (3) the only “misconduct” in which the lessee might be said to have engaged was to sign an apparently lawful agreement drafted by the lessor; (4) there was no evidence that the required clause was omitted by any reason but inadvertence; (5) the lessee had signed a covenant to obey all laws pertaining to the premises; (6) soon after being notified of the absence of the inflation adjustment clause, the lessee expressed its belief that it was in fact bound to pay the required adjustments; (7) the statute did not appear designed to punish conduct regarded as malum in se by effecting a forfeiture; (8) the statutory purpose of protecting the lessor could be accomplished by imposing on the lessee the obligation to pay the required adjustments; and (9) the record rather clearly shoed that the absence of an inflation adjustment clause was not a genuine point of controversy between the lessor and lessee, but was one of a series of technical grounds on which the lessor sought to evict the lessee in order to accommodate another prospective tenant v. Samoa Aviation, Inc. (Mem), 13 A.S.R.2d 65 (1989).