HOW TO OBTAIN OFFICE SPACE
On December 2, 2003, the City Council approved the policies and procedures for acquiring Neighborhood Council Office Space (C.F. 03-1514). Securing office space is critical to the success of a Neighborhood Council and as such, one of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment’s responsibilities is to assist with this effort. There are three (3) methods of securing office space: 1) privately owned rental facility; 2) City-owned or leased facility; and 3) privately owned donated facility.
A Neighborhood Council planning to obtain office space needs to have a board action and an allocated budget once the space has been identified. In order to identify a space, the Neighborhood Council must first assess whether the space complies with the City’s minimum standards through our On-Site Assessment checklist.
On-Site Assessment Checklist
There are three checklists designed for use by the Department to ensure potential office space meets the City’s minimum standards. These standards include issues such as compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), premises liability insurance, zoning, and asbestos removal.
This checklist is primarily designed for Department use to assess the proposed office space. However, it can be used to gather preliminary data before submitting it to the Department’s NC Office Space Program Administrator for review.
Each checklist contains line item instructions in bold type as a quick reference tool. Please review the checklist to become familiar with the criteria.
The following progression of events should occur:
- Once a Neighborhood Council identifies a potential office space, the NC Office Space Program Administrator will initiate the first on-site assessment by coordinating a visit with the building owner or owner’s representative and the NC representative.
- The Department’s NC Office Space Program Administrator will determine and communicate with the NC representative if the proposed space is either a City-owned/leased facility, a donated, or to be leased privately. Using the applicable checklist, all required data will be gathered during the on-site assessment.
- After the relevant information is recorded on the appropriate checklist, the Department Office Space Program Administrator will review and assess the office space.
- If the initial assessment yields positive results and there are no outstanding issues, a final site review and assessment will be arranged.
- Once the final site assessment is complete and the office space is deemed appropriate, the process to formalize the acknowledgement of occupancy will commence. This process and timeline will vary depending upon the type of space arrangement.
Office Space Arrangements
1. Privately owned Facilities with Rent:
Privately-owned facilities include: storefronts, strip mall, low, mid, and high rise buildings, warehouses, industrial buildings, executive office suites. A Neighborhood Council must have a governing board and must be eligible for funding to qualify for a private facility rental. The Neighborhood Council must provide a board action to approve the office space lease.
The maximum annual rent is limited to $19,999. For Neighborhood Councils electing to enter into a private rental agreement, a Standard Neighborhood Council Lease template has been created to streamline the process. Although the template has been approved and standardized, this process normally takes three to eight weeks.
2. Privately owned Facilities without Rental Costs (donated space):
If a Neighborhood Council is offered a “no-cost” space in an office, warehouse or retail facility, guidelines and criteria have been developed to ensure there are no hidden costs. To memorialize the terms and conditions of use, a Letter of Acknowledgement, signed by all parties involved is created.
3. City-owned or Leased Facilities
The final option for securing Neighborhood Council office space is by sharing vacant space that is currently under City ownership or lease. As required by the other space arrangements, the Neighborhood Council must have a governing board and be eligible for funding.
There is no or minimal cost associated with a space-sharing arrangement. A City Space Sharing Acknowledgement Letter will formalize conditions for space sharing between the City Department/elected offices and the Neighborhood Council.
As always, we look forward to working with all Neighborhood Councils as we move forward with this process and, as always, extend our highest appreciation to all Neighborhood Council board members and stakeholders for their ongoing dedication to community empowerment.
Should you have any additional questions, please contact Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, Administrative Services Section at (213) 978-1551.