You should consider agreeing and signing a written contract with the owner of the building in question; and the owner of the building should be made aware of the benefits of doing so.

Such a written agreement should specify the respective rights and duties of you as the hirer of the space and the owner. This should avoid any confusion or misunderstanding arising between you and the owner, and offer each party a measure of security for the agreement reached.

The form of agreement should be aLicence to Occupy. Such a licence grants permission for you as the hirer to enter and use the space as a license for a fixed period, and for a fixed fee.  A licence is not a tenancy or a lease, and will not give you any legal rights to stay in the building beyond the fixed period agreed in the licence. Such a licence is in effect a contract, which means that if the owner were for some reason to breach the contract – say, for example, by terminating the licence before the end of the fixed period – thus obliging you to leave the building, you could sue the owner for breach of contract.

This article is from the Artlaw Archive of Henry Lydiate's columns published in Art Monthly since 1976, and may contain out of date material. The article is for information only, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Readers should consult a solicitor for legal advice on specific matters. Artists can get free online legal information from Artquest.