Meanwhile Use Leases are a fantastic way to help secure a space for a short-term project, exhibition or arts event.


Meanwhile Use Leases are often used to take over an empty or unused property which is in private ownership.  This makes meanwhile use leases a great way to secure a space for an exhibition, event or pop-up shop.  Meanwhile Uses Leases were started in 2009 as part of the government’s “Looking After Own Town Centres” document and are generally set up to ensure empty retail space is being used.  However, they are also a good method of using other empty, privately owned spaces too.  Meanwhile Use Leases can only be used for non-commercial projects.

Meanwhile Use Leases

  • cover the use of a vacant premises for a temporary timespan
  • are low-cost
  • are mainly designed for the use of city centre premises (though are applicable in all locations)
  • are for non-commercial projects
  • business rates for the premises are still covered by the property owner

You Will Be Liable For

  • covering service and insurance costs for the duration of the Meanwhile Use Lease (to be agreed with landlord)
  • creating a Health and Safety document covering your project and the space
  • returning the space to its original condition after the lease expires (and any costs incurred to do this)
  • a damage deposit (not always applicable, and to be agreed with the landlord)

There are lots of projects and successful examples of Meanwhile Use Leases working well for artists and creatives.  The following links offer some good advice, resources and information around Meanwhile Use Leases.

Download a Meanwhile Use Lease

A general meanwhile use lease template.

Meanwhile Use Leases for Artists

A general introduction to Meanwhile Use Leases from Visual Arts South West.

Croydon Meanwhile Use Toolkit

A comprehensive and useful information pack from Croydon Meanwhile Use Project.