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Procedure notes

In line with government advice to tackle the COVID-19 epidemic, Southwark Council will be adopting some temporary changes to our lettings and viewings procedures. The main changes are designed to restrict the number of viewings we carry out, by considering an applicant’s suitability as a tenant at the property at the start of the process, rather than at the end. We regret that this will mean some applicants will not be invited to view.


If you find a property in our listings that you'd like to view, it's advisable to visit and physically see it externally from the street first before arranging an internal viewing. To add your details to the viewing register, complete our online registration form. We'll email you back shortly afterwards with a request for further information to assess whether to invite you to view. We'll  try to give at least one week's notice of the viewing date.

At the viewing

  • we will not be holding our usual open house group viewings; instead, we'll be allocating specific time slots
  • our Lettings Surveyor will be wearing PPE and will meet you outside the property while maintaining a 2 metre distance at all times
  • the entrance door and internal doors to the property will be wedged open
  • where viewings run over, please stand in a line outside the property, maintaining a 2 metre safe distance between you and other parties
  • we require you to bring your own PPE to the viewing: face mask/covering, plastic gloves or hand sanitiser. We reserve the right to deny access to the property without appropriate protection
  • we cannot share any equipment so please ensure you attend with a torch (some parts of the property are likely to be dark) and any other equipment that may assist your viewing
  • please do not touch any surface or items inside the property
  • any queries you have either before or after your viewing should be put to us by phone or e-mail to minimise contact with our staff

Application forms

If you've attended a viewing and wish to make an application, you can complete our Standard commercial tenancy application form.

You will need to fill out the form in full, and either upload or e-mail all the requested information to us at: The application form requests specific information about you and your business. If your application is shortlisted, you must provide all requested information. You will note that the onus is on the applicant to collect and append all references, and credit reports, including bank references. Failure to produce this supporting information will result in the application being rejected. Those applicants who do not currently run a business or hold business premises will need to submit a business plan.

Applicants are free to submit a rental bid in the region of the asking rent quoted.  It should be noted that we do not bind ourselves to accepting the highest bid for any of our properties. Rather, the selection of a suitable tenant is based upon our securing the best overall terms for the council including rent, use of the property, and status of the tenant.

Voluntary and Community Sector (VSC) applicants

Premises which may be suitable for VSC applicants will be indicated on the lettings particulars. Please note that council policy dictates we always charge a market rent for our properties. VCS groups may therefore need to seek funding to assist with the rental. You can find out further information on finding funding.

The successful applicant

The decision to offer a tenancy is made on the strength of shortlisted applicants, taking into account the proposed use, the sustainability of the business, the level of rental offered, and the quality of the references and supporting documents. It should be noted that it is the responsibility of each applicant to chase all references and supporting documents. Since we look to offer properties as soon as a viable tenant has been found, it is vital that you return completed application forms together with all supporting information to us as soon as possible. Once a decision has been made, the successful applicant will be notified in writing with an offer letter and other applicants and prospective viewers will be notified that the premises are no longer available. Please note, being shortlisted does not constitute an offer of a tenancy by the council.

Planning suitability

Please note: with effect from 1st September 2020, Planning Use Classes A1-A3, B1 and D1 (relating to retail, office and community/leisure uses), were all grouped together in a single new use class called Class E. Class E is was therefore designed to encompasses commercial, business and service industries under one use class to simplify the system. Please see the changes to the use class orders for more information.

If an applicant wishes to use a property for a different use to the existing authorised use (for example, if the property is currently a retail shop falling under use class E, and the applicant wants to use it as a pub/bar, which is now classed as “Sui Generis”), they should contact the Duty Planner in the Planning Department (020 7525 5438). The Duty Planner will advise on whether the alternative use might be acceptable. Any advice received should be clearly included in Part 1 of the application. Generally speaking, we favour existing-use offers over alternative offers. This is because of the uncertainties and the time involved in changing the planning designation of a property via a planning application.

It should also be noted that applications for various uses within the new Class E, may still require Planning/Building Control consent to change the layout of the property to work with the new use. An example here would be a change of use from a retail shop to a restaurant. Both uses are now within Class E, but to operate a restaurant, changes to the property may be required such as the construction of an extraction flue which may impact on neighbouring properties or flats above. Such changes are likely to require Planning/Building Control approval.

Lettings fees

Our offer of a tenancy will be dependant on the applicant agreeing to cover the council's surveyors and legal fees which are currently in the region of £1,250 but will be subject to review from time to time. Once paid, this fee is non-refundable.

Rateable value & business rates 

Prospective applicants should be aware that all rents quoted in our particulars are exclusive of business rates (and service charge where applicable). Where possible, we will quote the rateable value of a unit but enquiries should be made with the business rates department, or at:, to verify this figure.

Misrepresentation Act 1967 and Consumer Protections Regulations 2008

The London Borough of Southwark gives notice that:

  1. None of the property particulars shown on this website constitutes any part of an offer or a contract.
  2. All statements contained in these particulars as to these properties are made without responsibility on the part of the London Borough of Southwark.
  3. All descriptions, dimensions, and other particulars are given in good faith and are believed to be correct, but any intending tenants should not rely on them as statements or representations of facts and must satisfy themselves by inspection or otherwise as to the correctness of each of them.
  4. No person in employment of the London Borough of Southwark has any authority to make or give representation or warranty whatever in relation to these properties.

Page last updated: 30 September 2020

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