The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published a set of short lease documents with the help of City law firm, Denton Wilde Sapte. Anyone can use the precedents without charge by downloading them from the department's website.

The initiative encourages occupation of shops which would otherwise be empty. The department envisages landlords will use the precedents for lettings at a nil or nominal rent to organisations like charities, community groups, artists or information centres. Shops or other buildings that are empty are prone to decay and vandalism. In addition, they give an impression a town centre is economically depressed and discourage investment. The DCLG wants to counteract this by encouraging landlords to lease out premises on a short term basis at a low rent. This will not prevent the landlord finding a tenant for the property who is willing to pay market rent. If it does, it can terminate the occupants' rights under the DCLG scheme as they will not have security of tenure.

By providing specimen leases, the DCLG hopes to minimise the time and legal costs incurred in granting the letting. The initiative is called "Meanwhile Leases" and has its own website.

Click here for the documents.