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Countrywide Residential Lettings prepares national assault

Countrywide Residential Lettings is to embark on a national expansion programme, which will see the creation of lettings teams established in more than 40 Countrywide Estate Agents branches.

Speaking exclusively to The Negotiator, CRL co-managing director John Hards (pictured), says: “We are firming up plans to open a number of new branches this year. We won’t open new premises, but bolt on teams to existing sales teams. We will recruit area managers over the next six months as part of a phased programme, which we will start rolling out on July 1.”

Recruitment is expected to be both from within and outside of the Countrywide group.

The strategy could also include a lettings team in Countrywide’s newly-acquired Sotheby’s franchise office in Mayfair, London.

Hards says: “We have not built Sotheby’s into the programme, but it could well be part of it. But we’re working on such a big plan at the moment, so if we do it we will have to look very carefully at exactly how it would work.

“We are not going to rush into anything, particularly in view of the fact that Sotheby’s is about high value, low volume business.”

The news comes as CRL reveals a record number of new tenant registrations, up 48% to 48,332 between Q4 2009 and Q1 2010. CRL claims that there is now an average of 4.9 tenants vying for each of its rental properties compared to 2.9 tenants in January, which has resulted in the average monthly UK rent increasing by 2.5% to £683 per calendar month.

CRL currently has 211 branches and remains on the acquisition trail, with Manchester, Edinburgh, Leeds and Cardiff Hards’ favoured regions.

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