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Low Cost Accommodation FAQ

There is no charge to register with us, as with our studios we do not operate a time based 'waiting list' for the Low-Cost Accommodation flats. Instead, we have a register of artists, designers and makers looking for space and assess each application on suitability for the space and best fit within our active community of creative practitioners.

This is a fairly unique scheme. It will not suit everyone, and we don't claim it to be a solution to London's pressing housing needs. You will need to be practical, resourceful, responsible, community-minded, and with enough income to afford the monthly fee and other outgoings without reliance on benefits. It is for professional artists designers and makers and is not open to students. It is first and foremost designed to be an extension of our creative workspace provision - that is, it's a place where you can live and that supports your creative practice in the area.

Before applying we suggest you read carefully the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below,

Demand for places on the Low-Cost Accommodation scheme is generally very high, and applying with us does not guarantee you an offer of a place.

In order to ensure we allocate properties both fairly and appropriately, we have a scoring system for all applicants.

Priority will be given to artists who:

    1. Can demonstrate that they can afford the monthly fee without reliance on benefits
    2. Are actively engaged in art as a professional practice
    3. Are able to move quickly once offered a flat
    4. Have a studio practice located locally with us
    5. Understand and support our community aims

All successful applicants will have to be committed to supporting the arts, arts events and arts education in the local area.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the Low-Cost Accommodation, Thamesmead?

Is this based on a Guardian scheme?

Who is eligible for a flat?

What are the costs involved?

Can I just share the flat?

What does the monthly fee include or not include?

What is the notice period and how long can I occupy the flat?

How do I apply for a flat?

What happens after I have viewed a flat?

How accessible are the flats?

Can I bring a pet?

Can I pay in cash?

 

What is the Low-Cost Accommodation, Thamesmead? 

This is a professional relocation offer.  An exciting opportunity that we are creating with the help of the GLA and Peabody to build in ‘the creative sector’ to this new exciting growing part of London - Thamesmead is Europe’s largest regeneration scheme. It will transform this part of London and we want to build in artists and make them an important and permanent part of its future.  We want London to be affordable for artists so that they can thrive and ensure London’s Creative future and status.

Bow Arts manage a limited number of 1 and 2 bedroom flats available for creative practitioners. Set within the heart of Abbey Wood, Thamesmead, these flats offer a spacious living room with your own balcony, separate kitchen, 1 or two bedrooms, large entrance hallway and bathroom.  This a relocation scheme for artists, designers and makers to both live and work in Abbey Wood, Thamesmead can be Live/Work or you can take a studio also in the Lakeside Centre.

This scheme is first and foremost designed to be an extension of our creative workspace provision - that is, it is a place where you can live and that supports your creative practice in the area.  The scheme is not a low-cost accommodation solution.  It is an opportunity for artists to relocate to a new area, and form part of a new and lasting creative community. 

Is this based on a Guardian Scheme?

Yes, Bow Arts never enter into a Landlord and Tenants agreement, we instead have rolling monthly Licence Agreements. Due to this, if you are currently supported by benefits, please ask your provider if you can still apply following signing for a Licence.

By becoming a guardian, you are agreeing to terms including to actively occupy the flat, provide access when needed and if absent between 3-14 days you may be requested to arrange someone to temporarily house sit.  All short-term house sits are limited and need to be agreed upon in advance.  Bow Arts hold keys to the flat and conduct regular house checks.

Who is eligible for a flat?

We accept applications from a wide range of creative practitioners aged over 18 years old, including painters, photographers, performance artists, sculptors, theatre designers, fashion designers, and digital multimedia, who wish to be involved in our active creative community and the wider community. You will need to be practical, resourceful, responsible and with enough income to afford the monthly fee and other outgoings.

We generally do not offer accommodation or creative workspaces to musicians, or practices unrelated to the visual arts. Priority will be for those who are focusing on their own projects and we generally do not support more commercially oriented individuals.

Please note that any artist intending to make work in their flat must remember that this is residential accommodation, and you have neighbours. Any unsocial or noisy work is not suited. Residential hours apply. Please ask your studio representative for further information if you are unsure if your practice is suitable. 

What are the costs involved? 

A one-bedroom flat for single occupancy is £600.00, and for a two-bedroom flat for single occupancy £700.00. You will need to pay for the first month’s rent, one month’s deposit and £20.00 admin fee per licence. 

The deposit is designed to protect Bow Arts against the rare instances where occupants default on their rent or leave the flat in a state where it costs us money to clear it. It will be returned to you - usually within 6 weeks if the flat is left satisfactorily at the end of your licence period and there are no costs to deduct.

Can I share a flat?

We are happy for artists to share spaces to keep costs down. This must be agreed with in advance Bow Arts – we do not permit any ad hoc sharing, even for very short periods. All those wishing to share must be registered with us and there is an additional fee of £50 per month for each sharer.  You will be placed on a joint licence, and each person will be jointly and solely liable for all the terms and costs. If one of you leaves, you must both give notice, and we can then discuss whether the remaining individual is able to apply for a solo license at this time.

What does the monthly fee include or not include? 

The monthly fee includes management costs and a donation to Bow Arts Trust which goes directly into delivering education and gallery programmes in the local area. It does not include; white goods, furniture, council tax, electricity or gas costs, phone bills or other utilities you may take on.

The licencee will be responsible for paying for these goods and services.  You will also be responsible for your own contents insurance.

What is the notice period and how long can I occupy the flat?

Under our licence agreement, you are required to give 28 days’ notice (this must be from the 1st of the month). We are required to give you a minimum of 28 days’ notice.

These flats are considered short life properties because they are planned for redevelopment at the end of 2024. We regularly update occupants on the 'decant' timescales for each property and will give you at least 28 days’ notice of any notice to leave. In practice, you are likely to have a longer prior warning of approximately 6 months, but you need to be aware of this minimum notice period.  We also hope to have flats to offer artists thereafter as this is planned to be a 10-year project from 2019.

How do I apply for a flat?

Please first register with Bow Arts via our website Apply and complete the relevant sections.  It is free to register with Bow Arts, as similar to our studios, we do not operate a time based 'waiting list' for Low Cost Accommodation. Instead, we have a register of artists, designers and makers looking for space and assess each application on suitability.

Priority will be given to artists who: 

  • Are actively engaged in art as a professional practice
  • Have a studio practice located locally with us
  • Understand and support our community aims
  • Are able to move quickly once offered a flat

If your application is approved, we will add you onto our mailing list. We send regular newsletters with currently available and soon to be available flats and detail how to apply for an interview. If your application is not approved, we will contact you to inform you of this or ask for further details. We aim to respond to all applications within five working days. Upon successful interview you may be invited to a viewing, if not you can reapply for the next round of viewings.

What happens after I have viewed a flat?

Following a viewing you may submit an offer.  After all offers have been received, then you may be contacted further and made a formal offer by Bow Arts. We will then contact you and arrange time and date for you to sign a licence agreement remotely for the flat. We will also take you through the licence agreement and be able to explain it to you, prior to you signing.

Please be aware you must have a UK bank account and be able to set up a direct debit in order to take a flat. You will be asked to make a card payment for the deposit and initial payment with us. We will also ask for some ID and a Landlord’s reference.

If you are unsuccessful you will contacted and asked to re-apply to the next round of viewings.  Availability can be hard to predict, and demand is generally high, however we advise all our availability online and via newsletters.

How accessible are the flats?

All the buildings are somewhat different in terms of physical accessibility. Whilst all flats currently have working lifts, please bear in mind these are ex-local authority blocks built some time ago and do not meet current standards of accessibility. Please discuss any accessibility needs you may have during the application process. 

Can I bring a pet?

In some circumstances parts are permitted, but only with the expressed written consent of Bow Arts. If you would like keep a pet please discuss this with us during the application process. 

Can I pay in cash?

No, you will need to make the initial payment via our online payment platform. The only method we accept for regular monthly payments is by direct debit. There are no exceptions to this.