Transport for London (TfL) has signed a deal with short-term lettings firm Appear Here to rent vacant retail units across London Underground stations to brands and designers

For the first time, disused retail units across the London Underground network will be made available for short-term rentals, giving entrepreneurs the chance to occupy prime spots in central London.

Under the agreement, an initial 15 units will be made available to rent through Appear Here’s website at stations including Old Street, Piccadilly Circus, St James’s Park and Baker Street.

Eight spaces are at Old Street Station and will be offered on a revolving three-month basis from April. The initiative will be rolled out across the network later this year.

TfL, which owns more than 1,000 retail properties at Tube, rail and bus stations, has predicted rent increases of over 200% in some locations from short-term lets.

Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at TfL, said: “We’ve trialled pop-up shops at a few sites on the network and they’ve proved extremely popular for us, retailers and their customers. The partnership with Appear Here will enable us to make the most of our retail assets while generating revenue we can reinvest into improving the transport network for Londoners.”

Ross Bailey, chief executive of Appear Here, said: “This is a great opportunity for innovative brands, ambitious start-ups and hungry entrepreneurs. Appear Here’s purpose is to help people make their ideas travel and with millions of commuters travelling on TfL’s network every day, there is a real opportunity for savvy retailers and entrepreneurs to reach their target market. Old Street Station in particular offers great exposure among the trend setters and forward thinking businesses in the area.”