One of the best known and most respected figures in the lettings industry, John Hards, is retiring after 45 years.
However, he plans to keep his hand in with some consultancy work.
Hards has spent most of that time – 35 years – at Countrywide, where he has been managing director of Countrywide Residential Lettings for 25 years.
He has also been a director of ARLA, NFoPP and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
During his time at Countrywide, he has been instrumental in growing the lettings side of the business – both organically and through acquisitions – from an insignificant part of the organisation to the giant it has become today.
In the early days, lettings was not regarded as important because it was outside the company’s business model whereby sales branches acted as a distribution network for financial services.
Hards’ last day at Countrywide is on April 7, and after a short break he plans to work as a consultant to the industry, trading as Ask John Hards.
His customers will include Countrywide, providing support on various projects including the proposed ban on tenant fees.
He will also continue as a non-executive of the group’s property fund.
Hards, who now lives in Cornwall, said that his retirement “with so many friends, has not been an easy decision to make”.
But he added: “I do however live in a wonderful location and would love to have more time to enjoy it and my family.”
He told EYE that he is looking forward to his consultancy, saying: “I am keen to carry on for a bit longer and would like to help bring regulation to the industry.”