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Property Management

The University's Property Management department is charged with maintaining records and control of all property purchased, fabricated or otherwise acquired, regardless of the type of funding used for procurement. In addition to agency- or sponsor-specific guidelines, property purchased with sponsored project funds are subject to the guidelines promulgated by the Property Management department in accordance with MAPP 03.03.01. A department custodian is assigned to keep track of inventory and to asisst the Property Management department complete an annual inventory, as well as ensure adherence to property management guidelines. The Office of Grants and Contracts (OCG) and principal investigators (PIs) share in these responsibilities.

Property Definition

Property includes all items that are both tangible and intangible, such as materials, capital and non-capital equipment, computers and electronic devices owned by the University, government or sponsor titled. Property acquired on grant funds and costing more than $5,000.00 is tracked in the University’s inventory system. Capital equipment is the most common type of property purchased on grants. 

Capital Acquisition Cost

Equipment with an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more and useful life of more than one year is classified as capital equipment. Fabricated equipment, for which the aggregate cost of the components is $5,000 or more and for which the fabricated asset has a useful life of more than one year, is capitalized as well. Software with an acquisition cost of $30,000 or more is also capitalized for inventory purposes. Capital equipment should be requested and budgeted at the proposal stage. Depending on the sponsor and the cost of the item, if not requested in the approved award budget, prior approval from the sponsor will be required before purchasing.    

Use of Capital Equipment

The Principal Investigator is delegated with the direct control, maintenance and accountability of sponsor-funded/owned property used in connection with his/her contract or grant. Equipment should be used for the project for which it was purchased. Uniform Guidance section 200.313 stipulates how universities should use capital equipment purchased under a Federal award.

Download this Guide for the Equipment Inventory Search

Project Closeout

At the conclusion of a sponsored project, the terms of the award generally require written reports using agency-specific forms, identifying the equipment purchased, acquisition cost, make, model number, serial number, UH inventory number and condition. If the terms of the award do not automatically give title to the University, a letter is sent to the agency requesting transfer of title to the University. All property with title held by the sponsor must be returned immediately to the granting agency at the end of the grant performance period. All items with titled vested with the University become the property of the University.

Property Transfer

If a PI is joining another institution and wishes to take equipment purchased on a grant or contract to his/her new institution, the PI, with the assistance of his/her department administrative staff should contact OCG to ascertain the ownership of title to the equipment. An itemized list/spreadsheet must be furnished to OCG containing the Tag number, Item, Purchase Date, Cost Center Information, Initial Purchase Amount and Estimated Current Value. It is the responsibility of OCG to determine if the equipment is vested with the University of Houston or with the sponsoring agency and any policy or restriction that agency may impose. If the award is ongoing and will be transferred with the PI, the sponsoring agency retains title and the equipment may be transferred along with the grant, or will be returned to the agency upon its request. If the award has expired and the title is vested in the University, the equipment may be transferred to the new institution if the department and college agree. The department Chair and college Dean must send written approval to OCG with the necessary information. The template memos (below) should be signed by Dean/Chair representatives of both entities then sent to Property Management for disposition (with a copy to OCG for retention in the records associated with the transfer).

Download the Property Transfer Letter (Grant Ongoing)

Download the Property Transfer Letter (Grant Expired)

Equipment Loan Agreement

When property is loaned either to or from UH an agreement may be used. For ongoing sponsored projects, prior approval from the sponsor is required to loan equipment to another entity and only if the loan is in line with the project scope of work.

Property Disposal

Under the University property management policy, all property must be adequately cared for, maintained and safe-guarded.  Losses, damage, destruction, returns, turn-in or trade-in of property must be reported to the Property Manager as it occurs. The University’s written guidance must be followed for property disposal:  

Obsolete or old equipment disposal must be performed in accordance with the university’s property management policy regarding equipment salvage.  If the item is vested with the sponsor or is purchased with funds from an ongoing award, the sponsor approval is needed. 

Trade-in - The department must first verify with OCG the status of the equipment, then work with property management and the purchasing department.  For equipment purchased on current awards, the sponsored prior approval is required.  

Sale - In the event of a transfer, the university maybe reimbursed for the fair market value of University-owned equipment. When transfer equipment is sold to the other party Property Manager will arrange the sale of such equipment with the new institution. Funds from the sales should be used to replace equipment needed for research or to further the research enterprise at UH.