Studiomakers Covid-19 Response: Supporting Affordable Artist Studios

Studiomakers continues our collaboration with the Greater London Authority to provide vital assistance, guidance and resources to London’s affordable artist studio providers.

Studiomakers has redirected our efforts to provide access to legal resources, detailed below, for artist studio providers impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. While phase 2 of the Studiomakers initiative will broker long-term truly affordable lease agreements for the industry, immediate support is needed now to retain current studios.

Thank you for discussing your needs with us and sharing how fast-moving the situation is. It is increasingly apparent that many of you are having difficulty securing necessary rental discounts whilst others are being stonewalled by unresponsive landlords. In response Studiomakers has developed new resources, detailed below, as part of our efforts to support you through the current Covid-19 crisis.

How To Engage Your Landlord
A new Letter Template that lays down the facts to prompt negotiation

In partnership with the law firm Dechert LLP, our new Letter Template suggests the most effective way to progress your negotiations.

Our first Letter Template 1 proposed a consistent sector-wide approach and asked landlords for rent negotiations.

The new Letter Template 2 provides stark clarity for landlords using firm language and evidence of hardship, while making clear that you have the backing of larger organisations that support your request for a rent negotiation. It is a response to your observation that some landlords need explanation as to why swift action is required now, and explicitly lays out the alternative facing landlords who refuse to engage.

Letter Template 2 is a draft for customisation to your circumstances and can be used to concisely describe your position. You will need to edit all sections highlighted in red.

The Coronavirus Act
Explaining what it means for your organisation

Following the introduction of the nationwide lockdown landlords and tenants have been considering the implications for commercial leases and in particular obligations relating to the payment of rent. The recently introduced Coronavirus Act 2020 prevents landlords from forfeiting business tenancies for non-payment of rent, signalling to all commercial tenants that central Government is looking to landlords to come to alternative arrangements wherever possible. 

Fact Sheet 6 provides affordable artist studio providers an overview of the Act 2020, explaining the suspension of rental payments, Force Majeure, Frustration, insurance and the alternative options available to you.

Fact Sheets 1 to 5 explain key legal terminology.

Landlord and Tenant Law Live Seminar

Studiomakers will be hosting a new live event on Friday 5th June at 2pm.

Mark Roberts, partner at CounterCulture LLP, will be explaining Landlord and Tenant Law for studio providers followed by a live Q&A session. This will be your opportunity to ask him for guidance on your situation and listen to other artist studio providers who may share very similar situations to yours.

You will need to REGISTER HERE to join this live event

Are You In Need of Legal Assistance?

If you require tailored legal assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.  We will guide you through the on-boarding process with our pro-bono legal partners. 

Please share your situation and concerns: it is vital for us to understand and respond to your needs. If you have issues and require assistance that is not covered by these materials contact us for further guidance. The Greater London Authority has also further expanded its Culture At Risk team to deal with the crisis, you can contact them here.

Discretionary Business Rates Grant Funds

In response to lobbying efforts that identified businesses who manage multiple workspaces within one site (i.e: artist studio providers) often do not separately rate each workspace for Small Business Rates Relief, central Government are releasing new funds to local Councils to help “flexible workspaces” through this crisis with discretionary business rates grants.

You must regularly check local Council websites for more information about how your local authority will be distributing these funds. 

Support, Advice and Funding

The London Growth Hub is running a series of useful webinars.
VISIT their website for the full calendar of events.

The Culture At Risk team have compiled, and are regularly updating, a list of resources for the cultural and creative sector. VISIT their website for further advice, guidance and support schemes.

The Creative Industries Federation are currently offering 6 months free membership, 

Signup to receive the latest guidance from Studiomakers: