If you will be sharing an office or residential compound with another organization (or if they will be sharing your space), develop and sign an agreement
No rent is changing hands
The arrangement is temporary
Our relationships with partner organizations are extremely valuable. Discussing and agreeing to details ahead of time will prevent problems from arising later.
The agreement should cover:
- Exactly which spaces in the compound the different parties will have access to,
- Exactly who has access to the space (and who does not – e.g. Will their cleaning staff have keys to our rooms? What about the other way around?)
- Details about access to the furniture and equipment of the other party (Can they use your copy machine? Internet connection? Can you use theirs?)
- Details about support staff. (If they have a cook, can you join in their meals? If we have a cook, will they be allowed to join in our meals? Can we ask their secretary to make phone calls for us? Will our cleaner clean their space? )
- What parking space belongs to whom?
- Use of power, water and communications (who gets billed, if the charges will be divided up and how).
- Basic security protocols (e.g. there will be security guards 24 hrs, sign in sheet at the door, IDs issued? By whom?)
- Dates of the agreement, and
- Payment terms and conditions, if any.
Having an end date on the agreement is the most important factor. The end date provides a natural time to address any concerns that may have come up – without anybody having to call a special meeting to “talk about it.” The end date is a safety valve. It means you’ll have a natural chance to fix anything you forgot or got wrong in the first round agreement.
Then make sure our staff know, understand, and respect the agreement.