The flats I live in have three big commercial spaces below them, which have been empty for 5 years. A friend of mine has contacted the landlord to try and rent them and the landlord refused the offer (perhaps not quite at "market value", but I know they've been empty for 5 years).
It feels as though the landlord is purposefully not renting the spaces out... They don't seem to be advertised anywhere. It seems like such a waste. Is there a rule that means that landowners in Southwark can convert commercial space sitting below flats into living spaces after a certain number of years?