This policy sets forth the procedures which Syracuse University shall follow to accept title to gifts of real property. The policy is intended to safeguard the University against accepting gifts of real property that are difficult to market or are encumbered with defects that could put the University at risk once the institution is in the chain of title. Real property includes unimproved and improved land, including but not limited to single and multi family residences, apartment buildings, rental property, commercial buildings and properties, condominiums, and farms.
Gifts of real property may be outright gifts, bargain sales (i.e. part sale / part gift transactions), or part of a charitable life income plan (i.e. a gift held in trust with a life income to the donor). It is the general policy of Syracuse University not to accept partial or fractional interests in real property except for situations where acceptance of such an interest would present an extraordinary financial benefit for Syracuse University, based on the recommendation of the Executive Vice President for Advancement and External Affairs made to the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and the approval of the Chancellor and the Facilities Committee. Syracuse University shall not accept any real estate encumbered by a mortgage except when approved by the Facilities Committee based on a recommendation by the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Syracuse University shall accept gifts with a retained life use only if the life tenant agrees to pay for all ongoing carrying costs, including but not limited to real estate taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs to the property, and utilities. The gift agreement for a retained life use shall contain the stipulation that if the life tenant defaults on the payment of these carrying costs, the retained life tenancy ceases and the University shall immediately sell the property. Only gifts of real estate that have an aggregate appraised market value of $100,000 or more shall be accepted. The donor shall provide the University with an independent appraisal establishing the market value.
Syracuse University shall consider accepting title to real property as a gift if the donated property can be sold within a reasonable period of time to realize its cash value for the University, or if the property is located within the University’s area of interest and is suitable for an adaptive reuse by Syracuse University. Syracuse University shall use extreme caution in accepting gifts of real property that are not located in the immediate vicinity of Syracuse, New York, since management and oversight of remote properties could impose unacceptable risks and liabilities on Syracuse University. If the University decides to accept a gift of real property, the University shall request that the prospective donor pay for all carrying costs of the real property, including, but not limited to, real estate taxes and property insurance while the University holds title to the property. If the donor declines to pay these carrying costs and the Office of Advancement and External Affairs and the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer determine that it is in the best interest of the University to further advancement of the gift by paying these costs, the University shall obtain the donor’s agreement that these costs can be funded from the proceeds of the sale of the property.
In connection with any proposal relating to the acceptance of a gift by Syracuse University of title to real property, the following documents and information are to be furnished by the Office of Advancement and External Affairs to the Real Estate Office. The process of establishing University interest in accepting a gift of real estate shall begin with the initial gathering of the following basic information by the Office of Advancement and External Affairs:
- The name, address, telephone number and e-mail address of the proposed donor. At the request of the donor, anonymity will be honored.
- A statement of the relationship of the donor to the University.
- A statement of the reasons for the donor’s desire to make the gift and the reasons for the University to accept the gift, including a history of prior donations by the donor.
- A general description of the property including street address, any structures (above and below ground), past uses of the property, neighborhood characteristics, pictures, setting and zoning.
- A statement as to whether the contribution is of the donor’s complete or partial interest in the property. Syracuse University will not accept as a gift a partial, fractional or minority interest in real property without the approval of the Facilities Committee based on a recommendation of the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
- A list of any personal property to be included with the gift.
- Copies of current real estate tax bills and special assessment bills.
This information shall be forwarded to the Real Estate Office for a preliminary review. This review will be undertaken as promptly as feasible and Advancement and External Affairs will advise the donor of the University’s interest within a reasonable amount of time. If it is determined that the University could potentially benefit from this donation of real property, the following additional documents are to be provided by the donor at the donor’s expense, before the University can make a final decision to accept title to the property. If the donor declines to provide at her/his cost the documents required to perform the necessary due diligence and to close on the property, and the Office of Advancement and External Affairs and the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer determine that it is in the best interest of the University to further advancement of the gift by paying these costs, the University shall obtain the donor’s agreement that these costs can be funded from the proceeds of the sale of the property.
- A recent legal description and survey of the property showing any easements and right-of-ways.
- If the parcel of land is improved with a building which is occupied, the name of the persons or business occupying space, together with copies of the leases relating to those occupancies.
- If the parcel of real property is used for commercial purposes, an income and expense statement of the property for the last three years.
- Proof of donor’s ownership of the property in form of a title policy or title report.
- Proof of a ten year tax search.
- Up to date appraisal report performed by an independent, professional real estate appraiser, listing property market value and marketability.
- An expanded Phase I Environmental Assessment of the property in a form and content which would be satisfactory to an institutional lender, together with a report of the physical condition of the property. The Phase I Environmental Assessment shall state whether the property contains asbestos, lead paint, lead water pipes, radon gas or any above or below ground fuel storage tanks.
After the Real Estate Office receives this information, it will consult with the offices of Advancement and External Affairs, Budget and Planning, Risk Management, Campus Planning, Design & Construction, Treasurer, and University Legal Counsel to evaluate the gift’s potential. The Real Estate Office will prepare a written recommendation to accept or refuse the gift. A plan for the use of the property by the University or for the disposal of the property will accompany the recommendation. This recommendation will be forwarded to the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer who will submit it to the Chancellor and President. If the Chancellor and President recommends accepting the gift of real property, the transaction shall be reported to the Facilities Committee of the Board of Trustees and approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.
Links to Procedures and Related Information
- Real Estate, International Property Purchases/Sales/Leases Protocols
- Real Estate Transactions
- Real Property Leasing
Amended: March 29, 2004
Amended: April 24, 2006
Amended: February 15, 2010