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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Countrywide rentals division suffers almost one third drop in lets

Countrywide’s latest trading statement covering the first half of 2020 shows it was hit more than most corporates by the market closedown.

“The number of properties under management was down only two per cent in Q1, but the decline increased to five year cent by 30 June due to the restrictions during the COVID-19 lockdown. Equally, with the branches closed for two months, our ability to attract new landlords and let new properties was impacted and consequently the number of lets achieved was 29 per cent down year-on-year” says the company.

Countrywide has also revealed its letting income last calendar year was impacted by a loss of £8m of tenant fees earned prior to June 2019 with an 11 per cent decline year-on-year.

Overall income for the troubled Countrywide group - including sales, surveying, commercial property activity and financial services, as well as lettings - dropped by nearly a third during the half year from £241.6m in 2019 to just £173.8m this year.

Aggressive cost-cutting and millions of pounds in public cash through the furlough scheme helped Countrywide stay in the black with an EBITDA of £14.9m, down from £19.2m last year.

Some 78 per cent of Countrywide’s staff were furloughed for at least some of the time under Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, while the board, non-executive directors and the executive and leadership teams agreed to take reductions in salary ranging from 20 to 33 per cent.

Countrywide yesterday announced a dramatic clear-out of its board top brass and a £90m investment programme from a private equity company, pending shareholder approval. You can see details of the investment by Alchemy Capital here.

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    Too desperate to take advantage of the furlough money and the sunshine and not enough focus on the core fundamentals of the business. We saw no decline in the number of properties let during lockdown, in fact quite the opposite, demand went through the roof.

  • Angus Shield

    Always relish an ex-Countrywide instruction; the battle is then with the deposit transfer...

  • jeremy clarke

    Have one landlord trying to transfer 2 properties to us after 5 years with countrywide having had lots of issues. Countrywide want 3 months notice and the equivalent of 24 months management fees to allow the transfer! No wonder they are losing business if this is how they treat clients,

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    • 23 October 2020 09:18 AM

    Always amazes me that LL would sign up to such bonkers LA contracts.

    Do these LL not take away and read conditions BEFORE signing up!?

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Wowser- we have seen the number of lets dramatically increase this year. Partly because renewals are way down with Tenants looking to relocate or secure very different terms. We've also had a wave of new instructions and landlords. We should end the year very close to last years figures (our best ever).

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    Used them on the South coast, charged me to look after the deposit and looked to increase management charges by 20%. Found much better and cheaper....

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