Common House Office Policy

Common House 2003-12-15


This proposal attempts to outline the policies regarding rental and use of the three offices in the Common House that balance the rights and needs of the renters and the community.


This proposal attempts to outline the policies regarding rental and use of the three offices in the Common House that balance the rights and needs of the renters and the community.

The Common House was programmed with three 10X12 offices for use by community members. The reasons for programming office space were many: a desire by some members to work close to home without a commute; a desire to have a home office, but not having enough space/privacy in their own unit; a desire to have fuller use of the Common House and occupancy during the day; to have office equipment available for Great Oak member use (i.e. copy machine, fax, etc.); to have space for association business or for committees to do their work; to create a revenue stream for Great Oak.

Our intention is to set the rent of CH office space at or slightly below current market rate for the Little Lake Office Park area. By setting the rent at or slightly below current market rate, we hope to encourage full utilization of CH offices and to guarantee a moderate income stream for GO. It is also our intention not to cause resentments by giving renters large breaks in price or to burden GO members who cannot rent at GO and who may need to rent elsewhere. It is also our intention to keep costs competitive and in line with cost of living increases. Thus, as the CH operating budget increases, so will the CH office income. Cost is determined by square footage and basic utilities should be included in the rent (unless the business has unusually high demand for electricity, then rental price will be adjusted at lease renewal to reflect this). See lease agreements for actual pricing.


The Common House committee will act as landlord (i.e., be responsible for signing leases, trouble-shooting, etc.). The CH Committee will retain the ability to review the office fee structure, and will alert renters with six months notice if rents will increase more than 3% per year, or if the use will change substantially.

Offices will be rented by one primary renter who may sublet to others who want to share office space. This ensures a consistent revenue stream for the community, thereby reducing the financial risk to the community.

If Great Oak members who are currently interested in renting office space cannot work out among themselves who gets which office, then the Common House committee will hold a lottery.

Renters will sign a yearly lease. Current renter (GO member only) is given the option to renew the lease each year as long as office policies are followed. Renewal of leases to non-GO members is at the discretion of the CH Committee. The Common House Committee will maintain a waiting list of other community members who wish to rent office space, but we encourage renters to consider sharing office space and for members to communicate changing needs. If a renter needs to break his/her lease, the Common House Committee will do everything they can to assist him/her in finding a replacement.

Offices will be rented first to Great Oak members who can then sublet to/share with anyone inside or outside the community. The primary renter must use the office (i.e. no one may rent an office and then sublet to make a profit). In the event that there are more offices available than Great Oak members interested in renting, Common House committee may rent to members of other co-housing communities and to others in the wider community (in that order). All renters must abide by Common House rules/policies.

Renters will furnish office space, including window treatments. No structural or flooring changes will be made without permission of the Common House committee. Renters may choose to paint from the lightest shade on the Sherwin-Williams "fundamentally neutral section of the paint color samples. If a darker shade is desired, renter will pay a non-refundable $300 deposit to cover the expense of re-painting when the lease expires. Offices are to be cleaned by renters. (Rental price will reflect this.)

Offices will be used for legal activities which do not cause a disturbance or nuisance for Great Oak members (i.e. noise, traffic, etc. issues).

Use of offices will be in line with common house general use guidelines, including quiet hour requirements. In particular, traffic into and out of Great Oak (by customers/clients) should be minimized during quiet hours. Renters may use their offices any time as long as quiet hours are observed and locking procedures are followed. If the needs of renters arent met by this policy, it can be discussed with the CH committee.

A "waiting room" MAY be set up in the hallway outside the offices using folding chairs, table, magazines, white noise machine, that are to be stored inside an office when not in use. When the Common House is built and in use, we will see if this creates any problems. If this arrangement causes noise, traffic, crowding, etc. issues, then an alternative arrangement will be found.

No specific parking spaces are to be designated for office use, but clients/customers can use Great Oak parking. Clients/customers should use the west entrance adjacent to the offices.

This policy allows us have a larger rental pool to help ensure revenue from office rents.
This policy addresses the needs of both renters and the community.
This policy fulfills the vision of Common House uses as programmed.
Rental rates are consistent with market rates.
Lease renewal policy is simple, clean, and not disruptive to renters businesses.
Gives CH Committee latitude in setting usage and pricing policies.

Renting to people outside the community may increase the likelihood of problems.
Automatic renewal of leases may keep new renters out of the game. Alternatives proposed:
members could always build out office space in their basements and offer them for rent to other members;
members could rent in the office complexes in the neighborhood.
Association and committees may not have room to work.
No space for fax/copier; may not be able to use fax/copier at all times.
There could be a long waiting period for people who want to have an office.


Also discussed on 11/17/2003

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