Two people in a London art studio, with bright abstract paintings.

What extras should I allow for when renting an artist studio in London?

Here are a number of things to consider if you are planning to rent an artist studio to keep the cost affordable and avoid expensive pitfalls. 

As well as utility costs like electricity, gas, water, service charges and sometimes business rates or Wi-Fi, when you are searching for an artist studio in London it is important to consider the liabilities and understand the costs involved–especially before you sign a legal contract. 

Artist’s Studio Finder recommends you pay attention to what is included in the fees to make sure you are getting good value for your money. We recommend renting from a recognised not-for-profit provider that will charge you one transparent inclusive cost for your workspace. 

Our guide helps you understand how these costs are calculated, so you can make an informed decision on the London studio space that is best for you and your artistic practice. 


Utilities are normally restricted to heat, power, and sometimes Wi-Fi. Check to see if you are billed for these separately of if they are included in a service charge. If they are included in a service charge ask if you are also paying a management fee and if you are charged VAT on top.

Service Charge

Keep an eye on which services are included as part of the service charge. 

Knowing which charges are included in the service charge can impact how much you pay for an art studio overall, because commercial landlords must charge VAT on all of it. So, anything included comes with an additional 20% cost that most artists cannot reclaim. 

Legal Fees/Admin Fees

Some landlords will charge a fee for setting up a lease or licence. Be aware, and ask about the fee up front.

Business Rates

Anyone renting a commercial property is responsible for paying business rates. This includes artists renting studio space. 

Ask if business rates are included in your fees or if you are directly liable for them.  The studio provider should be able to tell you everything you need to know about business rates, including how to apply for Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR).    

If you are renting from a charity, you will already be receiving a minimum of 80% charitable discount on business rates.  


Deposits are normally between 1 and 2 months of rent in advance. 

Deposits should be held in a designated account by studio provider. It should also be clearly listed in your lease or licence any conditions that could jeopardise the return of your deposit.

Photo Credit: Alberto Romano

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