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AGO 1951 No. 028 - April 26, 1951
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

VETERANS, RENT FOR POST MEETING PLACE.

A veterans' post owning legal title to its regular meeting place is not entitled to rent from the County Indigent Veterans' Fund.

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                                                                   April 26, 1951

Honorable Fred G. Campbell
Prosecuting Attorney, Lincoln County
Davenport, Washington                                                                                           Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 28

Dear Sir:

            You inquire:

            Whether a veterans' post, owning legal title to its regular meeting place which is also used by other organizations who contributed to its construction, may collect rent from the County Indigent Soldiers' Relief Fund.

            Our conclusion is that it may not.

                                                                    ANALYSIS,

            Rem. Rev. Stat. § 10743 (1947 Supp.) provides in part:

            "Any post, * * * which has qualified to accept relief from the Indigent Soldiers' Relief Fund of any county may draw upon said county fund for the payment of the rent of its regular meeting place:  * * * [except] where said post, * * * is furnished quarters by the state or by any municipality."

            The term "rent" is a common one, and as the legislature did not specify otherwise, it must be used in its common context.  This office has consistently so advised.  Rent is generally defined as:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "A return or compensation for the possession of some corporeal inheritance.  A certain profit, either in money, provisions or labor issuing out of lands and tenements in return for their use.

            "The compensation, either in money, provisions, chattel or labor received by the owner of the soil from the occupant thereof."  Bouvier's Law Dict.,

            In other words, it is a consideration paid to the owner of land for its use.

            An amount paid along with the other using organizations for operational maintenance would appear in no wise to be a compensation or consideration for use, i.e., rent.  Such are normally but expenses of the user.

            We are unable to agree that the Post as a corporate entity might be considered as separate from itself as a social organization.  This would present the unusual situation of the Post as a social organization paying rent to itself as a corporate entity.  We can find no cases supporting such a doctrine and we may not close our eyes to the obvious.

            The fact that the Legion Post has been generous enough to permit use of its land to other public-minded and social organizations on a share‑the‑expense basis, does not change the basic problem.  The Post is owner of the fee and cannot pay rent to itself and collect such rent from the County Indigent Veterans' Fund.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

JENNINGS P. FELIX
Assistant Attorney General

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