London startups faced being thrown on the street

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In the region of 15 startups in London got a nasty surprise yesterday when it turned out they could be made homeless.

Several tech startup companies had been paying rent to the company which managed offices in 19 Greek Street in London’s West End. But this management firm has now gone bankrupt. Meanwhile it transpired that the landlord of the building had not been receiving rent income from this, now management bankrupt firm, for some time. Many of the startups were also subletting some of their desks to other startups – but no-one knew this was effectively illegal under the terms of their contract. The startups had a visit yesterday from a ‘property security officer’.

However, Paul Walsh of Wubud said the situation was likely to be resolved amicably. He told me via email: “I’m one of 3 companies sub letting but it’s all good as we’ll have a new lease agreement with the landlord. I have 6 companies renting desks in my office so that’s a lot of startups in total – not to mention the fact I’m operating 4 companies from there.” Walsh had previously advertised a desk in the building without knowing he was not allowed to do so.

Hopefully the whole mess will get sorted out – or at least the startups will find some more office space.

  • Fabio De Bernardi

    I went through troubled times “thanks” to one of this crappy serviced office firm and therefore I sympathize with the startups affected by this.

    Also, the new office I’m staying at (inside the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane) has up to 5 desks for rent, so please get in touch if you might be interested. Email me at fabiodebe AT gmail DOT com

  • Rob Seabrook

    What, it didn’t occur to anyone, not even a seasoned businessman like Paul Walsh, that sub-letting might be illegal? You do surprise me. Maybe a little less bragging and boasting at parties, and more time checking the small print, Mister Walsh?

    • Sarah


  • Paul Walsh

    We were told by the ‘agent’ who we believed to be acting on behalf of the landlord, that sub-letting was perfectly fine. It turns out that the agent with whom I have a contract, wasn’t permitted to sub-let.

    I’m pretty sure the landlord isn’t going to kick out paying tenants in the current climate.

    Rob, get your facts straight before having a go on a personal level. Alternatively try to keep your comments related to the actual post.

  • Matt Evans


  • Office Space Blogger

    We’ve had a number of stories of this kind coming up on our news site recently and its clear that many businesses, and particularly SMEs, have been affected. When MLS went down earlier this year we had an unprecedented amount of visitors complaining on our blogs. (see We are currently helping start ups and SMEs in this sort of situation as we represent the majority of the serviced office companies in London. If you require advice or are looking for alternative accommodation please do give us a call on 0800 085 5050, we can tell you about the best deals currently available and only offer offices offering flexible lease terms.

  • Sam Michel

    There’s nothing worse than office nightmares when you want to devote at least 100% of your effort in making the company work. Big empathy for the companies affected.

    We’ve got some spare desks (4 at the mo) over on Berwick Street if anyone needs an emergency base. Drop a line or contact me.

  • Rob Seabrook

    Paul, I’d probably have kept my comments related to the story if you didn’t take every opportunity to talk about to promote yourself:

    “I have 6 companies renting desks in my office so that’s a lot of startups in total [it’s exactly 6] – not to mention the fact I’m operating 4 companies from there.”

    Well… umm… good for you. No details of the start-ups affected? Nothing about their situations? Maybe there are other stories here aside from another about you, Paul.

    • Rob Seabrook Fancies Animals

      What are you doing Rob? There’s really no need.

  • Benjamin Dyer

    I have every sympathy with the companies involved here. thats really crappy from the management company, I hope you guys get it sorted.

    However I recommend home working and taking time out to get together. Especially if you are based in London, join a group such as the IoD and use their fantastic facilities. Start ups need all the spare cash available.

  • Grant

    Not sure what’s worse, Rob’s small digs, or Paul Walsh posting petty replies under childish names.

    • Paul Walsh

      Grant – anyone who knows me will testify that I have no fear in calling someone a twat to their face, or online. You don’t know me well, obviously. I *never* leave comments under false names. So, don’t be a twat and link to your profile page or where we can see ‘who’ YOU are.

  • Philip Wilkinson

    as one of “the companies” renting there – we’re not that bothered really as the wireless internet never works, the bins are never emptied, mold is growing on the wall, and we’ve got rats…

    ho hum :-)

  • Pat Phelan

    So the management firm goes bust and the comments are turned into a “I hate Walshy campaign”
    Can someone tell what Paul has done wrong here?
    Why has no one named the management firm?, why has no one named their CEO?
    Guys stop looking in the wrong direction and get over these petty arguments.

  • Philip Wilkinson

    Just a quick note – It’s not as bad as all that – I was mostly joking :-) While the office needs improvement – there’s nothing against Paul who has quite frankly been a brilliant landlord.

    Just wanted to clear it up.

  • Rob Seabrook

    My point was that there was more of a story here than just Paul Walsh. I did make a third comment to explain this, but for some reason it was deleted. I’ll know not to have an opinion next time. Interesting to see Paul’s vaguely threatening follow-up to Grant, though.

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