Sample Office-Sharing Agreement
Many small businesses and entrepreneurs use commercial space to house their operations, and sharing these work spaces is often a smart business decision. And, once you start sharing space with others, it will be much easier to start other types of sharing, like tools, storage space, subscriptions, or employees.
Th sample office-sharing agreement below is for a situation where all of the tenants are on the master lease. Some landlords don’t allow that, however, which means that one person will have to become the master tenant and sublet the other spaces to the rest of the sharers. In that situation, your agreement should include a provision that all of you are bound by the terms of the master lease.
Sample Office-Sharing Agreement:
This office-sharing agreement is made between Benjamin Coke, Suzanne Clarkson, Tamara Lester, Marilyn Mertin, and Robyn Troxel, who intend to share the office suite located at 2525 College AvenueinRockland. Ben is an accountant, Suzanne is a financial planner, Marilyn and Tamara are lawyers, and Robyn is a web developer.
1. We agree that we will share the use of the office suite in order to save money and resources, and have the benefit of one another’s knowledge, skills, experience, and company.
2. We’ll share the entire suite at2525 College Avenueas described in this Agreement. All of us will share use of the common areas, Ben and Suzanne will each have their own private office space, Tamara and Marilyn will share a single office as described below, and Robyn will use the space more occasionally, all as described in paragraph 7, below.
3. Only the people listed above are sharing the office space.
4. None of us may sublease our individual space without the consent of each of the other people who are sharing the space.
5. Our lease on the office suite begins on July 1, 20xx and has a term of three years. We each intend to stay for the entire term of the lease. If any of us wants to leave, that person is responsible for rent until a replacement tenant is found, and will participate in the group’s decision on the best way to look for a replacement sharer. We’ll agree at that time on a process for advertising the space and choosing the new tenant, and the person leaving will take the lead on doing the necessary tasks to find the new tenant.
6. Each of us is a lessor under the lease with our landlord, Janice Lubner, and we are jointly and severally responsible for the rent and any other expenses under the lease.
7. All five of us will share use of the common areas, including the reception area, kitchen, conference room, and the room we’re describing as the administrative space. Ben and Suzanne will each have a private office. Tamara and Marilyn will share the third office and they will work out their own schedule as to use. Robyn will use the conference room as meeting space and otherwise will work off-site. The administrative space will contain a desk for one staff person (discussed in paragraph 14, below), a fax machine that we will all share, a copier that we will all share, and a work table for common use.
8. Tamara has leased the copier, which is also a fax machine, and we all agreed on the model and lease terms. Each of us will pay one-fifth of the cost of the lease by reimbursing Tamara quarterly in advance, on the first of July, October, January, and April. When we first take possession of the space, we’ll all contribute in equal shares to the purchase of two cartons of copy paper, and for the first six months we’ll keep track of copies made and fax pages received. At the end of six months we’ll tally up, and if there’s a significant discrepancy in use we’ll adjust the cost of paper in a way that we all agree is fair; we’ll also pay for toner in proportion to our use or as otherwise agreed.
9. Each of us will have our own phone line(s) installed and will maintain our own voicemail.
10. We’ll all meet together on the first Monday of each month for lunch in the kitchen, to discuss any concerns we have about our sharing arrangement. We’ll try our best to reach consensus on any issues that come up; if we can’t, we’ll use a majority vote.
11. We agree to keep the common areas tidy and to keep our own supplies in our private offices. We’ll cooperate to supply the kitchen with dishes and silverware by bringing our own extras from home, and we all agree to clean up after ourselves, including taking our old food out of the refrigerator at the end of each week. The landlord is providing cleaning service once a week.
12. We’ve set up a Google calendar for scheduling the conference room and we agree to use it on a first-come, first-served basis. We agree that none of us will use the conference room for more than eight hours a week, or for any meeting longer than half a day, unless we clear it with the others first by sending out an email asking for agreement.
13. The total rent on our suite is $2,600 per month. We agree to divide the rent as follows:
14. Ben and Suzanne are going to hire an administrative person (“the admin”), who will also serve as receptionist for the entire suite and will greet visitors, accept packages, and sort mail for all of us. Except for those tasks, the admin will work exclusively for Ben and Suzanne unless a special arrangement is made for the admin to undertake specific tasks for another sharer. Ben and Suzanne will have a separate agreement regarding sharing the time and expenses of the admin.
15. Each of us is a sole owner of his or her business and we each will have our own stationery, telephone number, and professional liability insurance (if appropriate to our profession). None of us is responsible for any acts or omissions of any other tenant, unless we enter into a professional relationship with each other or do other types of work for or with one another.
16. If any of us has a conflict that we’re not able to resolve through direct discussion, we agree to all sit down together and try to reach a resolution. If we can’t, the people in conflict agree to attend at least one mediation session with a mediator they agree on, and to share the cost of the mediation. If this doesn’t help to achieve resolution, we’re each free to pursue whatever remedies we think are appropriate. We all agree to act in good faith and give one another the benefit of the doubt in any conflict or potential conflict.
17. We won’t terminate anyone’s tenancy before the lease term is up unless the person breaks the terms of the lease or of this agreement. In that case, a vote of three of the other members constitutes agreement of the group to ask the person to leave. Anyone whose tenancy is terminated involuntarily has sixty days to leave, and isn’t responsible for helping to find a replacement tenant as described in paragraph 5.
This post has is adapted from: The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community, by Janelle Orsi and Emily Doskow (Nolo 2009)