Chief Executive of insolvent MLS Group, Paul Williams, has told Property Week that he is sorry following the administration of the serviced operator which has left many ex-tenants feeling angry and abandoned.
“We made mistakes” said Williams in an interview with the commercial and retail property magazine, “But we are trying to stay involved and not run away.” The majority of MLS centres are being transferred to rival operators and the entrepreneurial millionaire explained that he and finance director Peter Moys will be helping out as much as they can during the transition.
Most of the controversy surrounding the company’s administration has involved tenant deposits which MLS has failed to pay back. Williams told the magazine that most of the tenants’ deposits will be guaranteed with around 85% of the clients having their service retainers returned in full. However refunds will be offered on the proviso that tenants are willing to sign up for another 12 months with their new serviced office operator as responsibility for paying back the money falls on new management.
For tenants at business centres which have closed down alternative accommodation has also been offered on the same terms. However if tenants do not choose to sign up at the options offered MLS will not be able to refund the companies who cannot be treated as “preferred creditors”.
“It was the best option we could come up with” explained Williams, but anger from ex-tenants remains strong as questions over why MLS had not kept the deposits separate rather than using them to fund the business have been raised and Williams may find that his “white flag” approach is widely overlooked.
The way in which MLS has communicated with tenants has also been heavily criticised after the company failed to give what many felt was reasonable notice before evictions took place. This was particularly apparent from the response to our article published in February entitled “Serviced Office Clients Evicted from MLS Serviced Offices in London” which received a large number of angry comments from tenants and related parties at the Great Portland Street and Warren Street centres (a number of which could not be published due to content).
Around 90% of MLS employees are thought to have retained their jobs following the company’s administration. Currently MWB has taken on 15 business centres with others now under the control of serviced office operators including Regus, Kingshott Forsyth, Citibase and Omnia Offices.
Easy Offices have helped a number of companies looking for alternative serviced office accommodation following MLS centre closures and take overs. If your company has been affected and you would like impartial, free of charge, help and assistance please call 01932 834 720.
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Source: Property Week
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